Reporters Committee and Time Inc. win lawsuit to unseal records from Trump Tower class action settlement

Press Release | November 21, 2017
Transcript, legal brief, and court orders related to the Trump Organization’s settlement will now be public for the first time
On Tuesday, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Time Inc. won a lawsuit to secure the unsealing of four court documents from the 1999 settlement of a class action lawsuit relating to the construction of Trump Tower. 
 
The class action lawsuit alleged that undocumented, non-union Polish workers were employed in connection with the demolition of the Bonwit Teller building in Manhattan to make way for Trump Tower, and that the businesses responsible for the demolition failed to make agreed-upon payments for those workers’ wages to construction union insurance trust funds and pension funds.
 
“There is a strong public interest in understanding how this class action lawsuit — in a case involving the now-president of the United States — was resolved, and under what terms,” said Katie Townsend, litigation director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “This is a major victory for transparency, and we’re pleased that the public will now have access to this information for the first time.”
 
Townsend argued the case before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year, who reversed an earlier district court ruling denying the Reporters Committee’s and Time’s motions to unseal, and remanded for further proceedings.
 
In the opinion issued today by Senior U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska, the district court concluded that the public’s rights under the First Amendment and common law compelled the release of the documents. 
 
 
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About the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press was founded by leading journalists and media lawyers in 1970 when the nation’s news media faced an unprecedented wave of government subpoenas forcing reporters to name confidential sources. Today it provides pro bono legal representation, amicus curiae support, and other legal resources to protect First Amendment freedoms and the newsgathering rights of journalists. For more information, go to rcfp.org, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.