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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

PricewaterhouseCoopers face HUGE fine, claimed trade secrets revealed

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP could be fined $345 Million because it stalled and mishandled the production of documents in two lawsuits.

The cases [Hayman, et al v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, Case No. 1:01-CV-1078 (N.D. Ohio)] in U.S. District Court in Cleveland stem from Pricewaterhouse's relationship with Telxon Corp., a troubled maker of hand-held computers and bar-code scanners.

While the fine is newsworthy by itself, it looks like the court is releasing information that PWC claims to be their trade secret.

Magistrate Patricia Hemann's recommendation isn't new. She issued her report in July, but Pricewaterhouse persuaded the court to keep it under seal, arguing it revealed trade secrets about the firm.

Judge Kathleen O'Malley, who will make the final ruling in the cases, disagreed with Pricewaterhouse and put Hemann's report back on the public docket on Tuesday. O'Malley can adopt the recommendations in whole or in part or can come to her own conclusions.


At one point, Pricewaterhouse said it had produced more than 55,000 documents, along with indexes, to comply with Telxon's requests. The firm initially balked at handing over its electronic databases because it said they contained trade secrets.

You would think that PWC's competitors are scurring over to Pacer to download the report. It's document No. 204 from the docket sheet.


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