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Cohen v. Trump
United States District Court for the Southern District of California
2016 WL 3036302 (2016)
Art Cohen (plaintiff) sued Donald Trump (defendant) in federal district court. Trump questioned the integrity of the court’s proceedings and opposed Cohen’s motion to certify the case as a class action. Trump was a celebrity, the owner of Trump University (TU), and the frontrunner for his party’s presidential nomination. The impact of TU business and educational policies on TU students and the wider community was a matter of significant public interest. A magistrate judge granted Trump’s motion to introduce TU’s so-called sales playbooks as sealed evidence. The magistrate judge ruled that Trump had shown good cause to regard the playbooks, taken as a whole rather than based on any specific content, as trade secrets. The Washington Post newspaper (Post) (plaintiff) intervened and moved to unseal the playbooks, both on First Amendment grounds and to assert the public’s presumptive right to see a party’s court filings unless the party showed compelling reasons to keep the filings confidential.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Curiel, J.)
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