Pounds: Appeal filedWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
On Oct. 3, Toledo Free Press attorneys filed an appeal to the 6th District Court of Appeals. We are seeking to have the appellate court reverse some of the rulings made by the trial court in a judgment entry that was issued Sept. 6 in the ongoing lawsuit aimed at us by Block Communications Inc. (BCI), parent of The Blade.
The legal process can be messy, but our legal position is clear. We have discussed on these pages the belief that we are being targeted to be put out of business with a suit that attacks our First Amendment rights and now seeks to erode the rights of LLC investors in Ohio.
As part of the discovery phase of the case, the parties are entitled to seek certain information from each other. Typically, the scope of discovery is broad, but certain information or documents can be withheld if they fall into specific categories protected by law or the courts.
BCI has sought, during the discovery process, to obtain from Toledo Free Press certain information that we assert is privileged or protected from discovery. BCI has asked that we disclose the identities of our owners, information which is not available to the public and that we have kept confidential. BCI has also sought to obtain certain proprietary and business information from us, including our business plans. Since BCI is the owner of our largest direct competitor, the disclosure of this information would be extremely damaging to our business. As a result, we did not give that information to BCI.
BCI asked the trial court under Judge Gary Cook to order us to provide that information. On Sept. 6, the court ordered us to turn over the business information and the identities of our owners.
We believe the trial court was in error in ordering the disclosure of this information. With regards to the issue of the disclosure of the members’ names, the trial court acknowledged that this is an area of law that lacks much in the way of precedential guidance. We believe this sets a dangerous precedent that will have a detrimental effect on businesses statewide. We believe that the identities of our members and our business plans are protected by Ohio’s trade secret rules and that the court should not force the disclosure to a direct competitor.
The case essentially freezes until the appeals court renders an opinion on the issues being appealed, which are only a small part of the larger case. Once the court of appeals has rendered its decision, the matter returns to the trial court and the case resumes. The appellate process could take several months, a scenario that further allows this suit to drain our resources and jeopardize our operations.
As people continue to ask how they can help, we ask again that you channel your feelings into positive action. Help us by supporting the nonprofit organizations and the charity events we sponsor. Help us by recognizing and thanking the businesses that support Toledo Free Press, through advertising or by allowing us to distribute at their location. Let the advertisers know you read Toledo Free Press and understand how important their patronage is, just as they understand how important your patronage is to them.
We are in this fight for the long haul; thank you for your support.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.