December 20, 2005

Damned With Faint Praise?

Back in October (Once More Into the Breach?, Oct. 6, 2005) I noted the ruling in USCFTC v. McGraw-Hill, where District Judge Royce Lambert, of the District for the District of Columbia, ordered McGraw-Hill to comply with an administrative subpoena issued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission seeking documents and information from McGraw-Hill's Platts division. Although the court stated that Platts was within the scope of news gatherers entitled to the protection of the reporter's privilege, the court applied a balancing test and concluded that the privilege was abrogated in this case.

Earlier this month, the district court denied McGraw-Hill's motion to clarify and for a protective order, which the court treated as a motion for reconsideration. In essence, the decision states that McGraw-Hill merely reiterated arguments previously made, and that a request for a protective order should have been pursued earlier.

The court notes with approval negotiations in which the parties sought to "minimize the burden on McGraw-Hill without compromising the CFTCÂ’s investigation" and encouraged them to continue to "work together in good faith toward the common goal of protecting the public interest in truthful news reporting."

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