Case Number: 1:23-cv-11775-MJJ
Court: U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Clients: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, The New Yorker
Motion to Intervene and Unseal Filed: Nov. 3, 2023
Background: In August 2023, professor Francesca Gino sued Harvard University for placing her on administrative leave after Harvard Business School investigated claims that Gino manipulated data supporting several of her frequently cited academic articles in the field of behavioral science. Gino’s lawsuit also includes claims against the individuals behind the Data Colada blog. The accusations against Gino made national headlines, largely because the professor was well known for her research studying dishonesty and unethical behavior.
As part of a motion to dismiss Gino’s lawsuit, the Harvard defendants submitted under seal a final report that included the findings of the business school’s investigation. After Gino filed a motion to impound the report until after discovery, Harvard proposed redactions to the report, including the removal of the names of witnesses and participants in the investigation as well as Gino’s personal health data.
The Reporters Committee and The New Yorker opposed these positions and moved to have the report filed publicly, with redactions only for Gino’s private health data. In their motion, attorneys for the Reporters Committee and The New Yorker argue that the business school’s report is a judicial record presumptively open to public inspection, and while it is reasonable to redact Gino’s private health data, she cannot meet her burden to justify the report’s wholesale sealing. In addition, the Harvard defendants have failed to demonstrate that it is warranted to redact the names and identities of certain individuals referenced in the report.
Quote: “[I]f this Court allows the Final Report to remain shrouded, the public will be severely limited in its constitutionally protected ability to comprehend the claims and defenses being asserted in this litigation, and to understand and accept the Court’s eventual resolution of the dispute.”