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Off-Topic, but Important [Fwd: Free Speech 0 ; US West 1]
- Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 17:29:31 +0000
- From: clark.evans at manhattanproject.com (Clark Evans)
- Subject: Off-Topic, but Important [Fwd: Free Speech 0 ; US West 1]
Sorry to inntterupt your regularly scheduled programming,
but I think that this is important to everyone.
For Immediate Release
February 8, 1999
FINAL SCORE: FREE SPEECH-0, U S WEST-1
Cottonwood Communications and Rick Dahlgren were found to be in
civil contempt by a Federal Judge in Omaha, Nebraska for releasing
public documents to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
That's right, PUBLIC documents.
In an Order entered February 5, 1999, United States District
Judge Thomas M. Shanahan granted the "Amended Motion for
Order of Contempt" sought by U S West against Dahlgren and
Cottonwood. In the Judge's Order, he relied on a "Report and
Recommendation" from Federal Magistrate Judge Kathleen A. Jaudzemis
that clearly and unambiguously stated that the documents Dahlgren
and Cottonwood submitted to the FCC were "publicly available."
The Order was issued over objections filed by Dahlgren and
Cottonwood that strongly asserted that publicly available
documents cannot be afforded any protection and that U S West
forfeited it's protection by failing to meet the provisions of
the original Protective Order covering the documents in civil
litigation in Omaha, Nebraska.
"We're trying like the dickens to find the page in pgsql-general at postgreSQL.orgthe
Constitution that gives the court the authority to do this" said Rick
Dahlgren, Vice President, Cottonwood Communications.
U S West is seeking reimbursement of costs for prosecuting
the instant motion, for its costs before the FCC resulting from
Cottonwood's "wrongful disclosure," and for costs associated
with retrieving the documents in question. Further, the
Magistrate Judge recommends Dahlgren and java-os-project at spin.deCottonwood post a bond.
"We originally sued U S West for having put two businesses I own
out of business with inadequate telephone service. Now it
would appear that the Federal Court in Omaha is prepared to
assess fines against both my new company and me personally,
which if excessive enough, could put Cottonwood Communications
out of business. Since the Order is against me personally,
as well, maybe this time U S West can take my house" said
Dahlgren, who went on to say "Cottonwood Communications and
I will never willingly pay a single cent to anyone for
exerting our right to free speech under the Constitution
of the United States."
The documents in question were filed at the FCC regarding
Docket 98-147, and are also available to anyone who wishes to
see them at the Federal Courthouse in Omaha, Nebraska,
8:94CV89. "Unless, of course, you're me" said Dahlgren.
"In context, the documents show that when regulation provides
conditional entry to a market, U S West, under a cloak of
secrecy, does everything in its power to unfairly provide
itself and its partners essential control of the market
at the exclusion of all others" said Dahlgren.
For more information, contact:
Phone: (402) 896-2303
FAX: (402) 896-0268
e-mail: rd at cottonwood
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Cottonwood in Civil Contempt for filing public documents in FCC proceeding
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 11:28:12 -0500
From: James Love <love at cptech.org>
Reply-To: love at cptech.org
To: Multiple recipients of list INFO-POLICY-NOTES <info-policy-notes at essential.org>
Rick Dahlgren from Cottonwood communications has been having a lot of
legal problems with US West, including a current dispute where Rick's
firm has been hit with a civil contempt citation for filing public
documents from a federal court case in a public FCC proceeding. As I
understand matters, the documents in question were once covered by a non
disclosure agreement in a federal antitrust suit, but were subsequently
entered into the court's public record, "without restriction."
Nonetheless, Rick and his firm have been told that even though the
documents are now public, he cannot legally distribute them, even in a
public FCC proceeding, since he has promised to keep them confidential.
I asked Rick if he could put the court decisions about the comptempt
proceeding on the web and he has at:
The following is a quote from Judge Magistrate Kathleen Jaudzemas's
recommendation to hold Rick Dahlgren and Cottonwood in contempt:
<----------begin excerpt --------------------------->
The protective order in question was intended to facilitate discovery by
forbidding the parties to use confidential information in other
proceedings absent consent or permission by the court. I emphasize that
plaintiffs would not have been given access to the information in
question but for the entry of the protective order. This court is
unaware of any contention that U S West somehow acted in bath faith in
designating its confidential information. The court is also unaware of
any motion or other effort made by the plaintiff corporations or the
Dahlgrens to amend the terms of the protective order. The protective
order certainly allows the plaintiffs' corporate officers to review the
portions of the court file that were not sealed. Members of the general
public may also review the court file if they have any interest in doing
so. The average member of the general public, however, probably does not
have the desire or incentive to peruse thousands of pages of court files
for secret documents. In contrast, plaintiffs knew of the existence and
location of U S West's confidential documents, had recently lost their
lawsuit against U S West, and apparently wished to place U S West in bad
light before the FCC (Footnote 3).
Evaluating plaintiffs' actions in light of the terms of the protective
order, I find that Cottonwood, through its agent Richard Dahlgren,
violated the court's order by intentionally delivering U S West's
confidential documents to the FCC.
<-------------end excerpt --------------------------->
Cottonwood, a small business, has been ordered to pay US West's legal
fees in this case.
James Love, Consumer Project on Technology
P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC 20036
202.387.8030; f 202.234.5176
http://www.cptech.org, mailto:love at cptech.org