Yacht Owner Can’t Seal Embarrassing Claims

     (CN) – The owner of a presidential yacht cannot keep confidential “embarrassing” allegations that it destroyed evidence and intimidated witness in a contract dispute, a Delaware court ruled.
     The Sequoia Presidential Yacht Group sued FE Partners to stop them from exercising an option to buy the Sequoia, a yacht that has been used by American presidents and other dignitaries over the years.
     The option stemmed from a loan FE Partners had made to the yacht group.
     The pleadings in this case were subject to a confidentiality agreement, but as the case neared a settlement, FE Partners made a motion to remove the confidentiality stipulation.
     Vice Chancellor Sam Glasscock III of the Delaware Court of Chancery ruled that Sequoia failed to show “good cause” as to why the proceedings should remain confidential.
     Some examples of good cause, according to state law, include trade secrets, medical records, Social Security numbers and names of minor children.
     “Moreover, that the information for which a party seeks confidential treatment may be embarrassing or previously undisclosed does not alone warrant confidential treatment,” Glasscock wrote.
     “Sequoia seeks to keep confidential allegations that it forged or altered communications, and evidence of Sequoia’s alleged destruction of evidence and witness intimidation,” he wrote.
     Glasscock said none of the information falls under the law’s definition of “good cause.”
     “Rather, it appears that Sequoia merely wishes to avoid the embarrassment it would face if I were to unseal the record, mostly due to its alleged conduct in the course of the litigation itself. This matter is of public interest, as evidenced by a number of stories in the press,” Glasscock wrote.
     The Sequoia yacht is available for rental on its website, which touts that it has served a dozen presidents dating back to Herbert Hoover.

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