7-Eleven, Inc.’s request to seal whistleblower Kurt McCord’s allegations has been denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider.
Schneider claims that 7-Eleven attorney Stephen Sussman failed to provide “a single fact” to support his conclusions, and that the document is already publicly available on the Internet anyway (See 7-ELEVEN Bombshell: Insider Accuses 7-11 of Predatory Franchise Practices )
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) Franchisee attorney Jerry Marks claims that Kurt McCord is as important to exposing 7-Eleven’s predatory mission to steal its franchisee’s equity and goodwill as Deep Throat was to exposing the Watergate scandal in the 1970s.
Kurt McCord worked as a 7-Eleven Corporate Investigations Supervisor for 7 months in 2013.
McCord provided a 25-page certification in the lawsuit of 7-Eleven, Inc. v. Karamjeet Sodhi, et. al., alleging that the convenience store giant has assembled a covert team whose mission is to illegally seize franchisee stores for profit and eliminate respected franchisee association leaders they deem to be a “pain in the ass.”
The McCord Certification is also relevant in other related Marks & Klein cases against 7-Eleven, including Sam Younes, et al v. 7-Eleven, Inc. and Neil Naik, et al v. 7-Eleven, Inc., which share discovery and case management with the Sodhi case.
7-Eleven Denies McCord’s Allegations; Sought to Seal his Certification
According to Judge Schneider, 7-Eleven attorney Stephen Sussman of Duane Morris flip-flopped on the basis of his request to seal McCord’s testimony, but failed to support either one.
Wrote Judge Schneider:
7-Eleven originally argued that McCord’ s Certification should be sealed because it contained “sensitive business information.” Now, however, 7-Eleven argues the Certification should be sealed because it allegedly contains attorney-client privileged and work-product information… 7-Eleven has not even demonstrated that McCord’ s Certification contains privileged or work-product information. 7-Eleven’s broad and unsubstantiated claims do not satisfy its burden of proof. Accordingly, 7-Eleven’s motion to seal is denied.
Schneider went on to further admonish Stephen Sussman’s Declaration:
Sussman’s Declaration provides no facts to support 7 -Eleven’s arguments but instead it merely sets forth broad boilerplate assertions… Sussman does not set forth a single fact to support his conclusions. Broad boilerplate assertions are insufficient…
Internet Publication Made McCord Certification “Part of the Public Record”
Even if 7-Eleven had proven that McCord’s Certification contained privileged information that could cause serious injury if disclosed, Schneider says he would still have ruled against 7-Eleven because the Certification had already been published on UnhappyFranchisee.Com and other Internet sites.
Rightly or wrongly, McCord ‘s Certification has already been published and is available on the internet. Thus, even if the Court granted 7-Eleven’ s motion, which it is not, McCord’ s Certification would still be available to anyone who wanted to see it. The Court will not undergo the pointless exercise of sealing a document that is and will continue to be publicly available.
“It is well established that once confidential information has been published, it is no longer confidential.” Janssen Products , L.P. v . Lupin Ltd. C.A…
Like the Court in Janssen Products, the Court does “not have the power to put the genie back in the bottle.”
Judge Schneider concluded: “McCord ‘s Certification is now irretrievably part of the public record even if the Court grants 7-Eleven ‘s motion. A sealing Order at this time would be pointless.”
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TAGS: 7-Eleven, 7-Eleven franchise, 7-Eleven, 7-Eleven lawsuit, Karamjeet Sodhi, Jerry Marks, Marks & Klein, Stephen Sussman, Duane Morris, 7-Eleven litigation, 7-eleven franchise complaints, 7-Eleven Asset Protection, Kurt McCord, Judge Joel Schneider