CEO Meet was a “Routine, Informal Discussion” on Advantages of Settling Case–Kessler

June 20, 2005 3:34 pm by Gene Borio

Judge Kessler issued an order this afternoon denying the Washington Post’s request to attend today’s “hearing,” because,

There was no “hearing” scheduled for Monday, June 20, 2005. Rather, the Court scheduled a routine, informal discussion with the parties urging them, once again, to consider the advantages of settling this case rather than the risks of litigating it. No legal decisions were made and no legal argument was presented.

Text of the Kessler order on Settlement Discussion follows:

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Plaintiff,

PHILIP MORRIS USA INC.,

f/k/a PHILIP MORRIS INC., et al.,

Defendants.

Civil Action No. v. : 99-2496 (GK)

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ORDER #972

The Court has received a request from the Washington Post to attend what it termed “an upcoming hearing” scheduled for Monday, June 20, 2005, and to have access to all documents in the record pertaining to such “hearing.” There was no “hearing” scheduled for Monday, June 20, 2005. Rather, the Court scheduled a routine, informal discussion with the parties urging them, once again, to consider the advantages of settling this case rather than the risks of litigating it. No legal decisions were made and no legal argument was presented. Given these facts, the Court does not believe that, under United States v. Hubbard, 650 F.2d 293, 317-20 (D.C. Cir. 1980), there was any right either to attend the informal meeting attended by counsel or to have access to the sealed Order scheduling such a meeting. Therefore, it is hereby

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-2-

ORDERED that the request of the Washington Post dated June 17, 2005 is denied.1

June 20, 2005 /s/

Gladys Kessler

United States District Judge

Copies via ECF to all counsel of record

—– 1 It should be noted that this request was submitted in a letter from counsel on June 17, 2005 at 6:10 p.m. The Court did not have an opportunity to review the request until 9:00 a.m. on June 20, 2005.

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