Peers Criticize Lawyer's Cease And Desist Letter To Blogger
Zelman acknowledged to the Law Tribune that she and Danbury officials are taking a lot of criticism for the entire episode.
Her position is that the city is not violating the First Amendment, but merely protecting privacy interests. Zelman said that Maurer was obligated to discuss with Zelman portions of the transcripts that were marked confidential, but that Maurer did not do so. Zelman said the copies that the Danbury blogger put online contained medical information and other private data that should have been redacted before being released to the public.
At a federal court hearing on Nov. 21, Zelman argued that the unredacted versions of the depositions should be suppressed. As of late last week, no ruling had been made on her request.
“What the papers are not reporting and the lawyers [quoted by Thibault] don’t know is that the plaintiff’s counsel in the matter released their transcripts without redacting them,” Zelman said. She added that the city of Danbury had every intention of releasing redacted versions of the depositions. The author of the Hat City Blog “is free to produce the redacted version if he chooses.”
New Haven lawyer David Rosen, who was critical of Zelman in Thibault’s column, indicated that he might have had a different reaction if he knew about the redaction issue. Courts and lawyers, he said, take redaction seriously, “but it all depends on the reason for redaction.”
“If redaction was just someone’s preference, that’s one thing,” he said. “If it was required by the court or the law, it’s quite another.”
Maurer said the deposition in question was that of Danbury’s current human resources director. She acknowledges that her opposing counsel wanted to keep portions of it confidential. In Maurer’s view, the city feared that she and her client would disseminate “personal and salacious information about third parties” and try to embarrass Boughton during the governor’s race.
Maurer said following the release of the deposition transcripts, the city has called for her to be sanctioned by the court. But, Maurer said, she never agreed to any deal to keep portions of the deposition confidential.
“Attorney Zelman had requested certain areas of inquiry be marked confidential when the first question regarding a city employee was asked,” Maurer said. “Many of the questions that followed were not of a confidential nature or were based on documents acquired under” the Freedom of Information Act.