Video: Attorney for Plaintiffs on Bending of Copyright Law by Franciscan Defense

By Kay Ebeling
March 19, 2009

[with video]

Tim Hale photo lifted from video below

Letters by an employee inserted in another employee’s personnel file somehow become protected by copyright law, according to Catholic Church attorneys arguing in L.A. Superior Court March 17. Tim Hale, attorney for plaintiffs in Santa Barbara, who has pursued release of personnel files since those cases settled in 2006, spoke on camera, here is the gist of the interview, in video below

Q: The problems you are having now, do they predict problems L.A. plaintiffs will have in the future regarding personnel file release?

HALE: I don't know if it’s necessarily a predictor of what's going to happen, but it is certainly a possibility that the same objections and the creative lawyering that we're seeing in the context of the Franciscan document dispute will be raised in the Los Angeles proceeding. but it certainly is quite possible.

Q: What's the creative lawyering we saw in the courtroom today? (Continued below:)

HALE: What we saw in this stretch was arguments that letters prepared by an employee and inserted in another employee’s file somehow become protected. That's very creative lawyering. We are arguing against that and we will see if that argument proceeds or not. And another creative argument is the copyright argument that they're making that there is copyright protection in these documents, again very creative lawyering by some very good lawyers being paid for by the Franciscans.

Q: How were they trying to apply copyright law to letters that are in personnel files?

HALE: That's the argument we're making, that by inserting those documents in the personnel files, they lose any copyright protection that they might have had in the first place, but it remains to be seen how Judge Lichtman is going to rule on those objections. END

Those creative arguments on copyright law will be heard in Licthman’s court March 24th in the afternoon and they concern cases that were settled in 2006 re Franciscan Friars in Southern California. That same day, next Tuesday morning will be the final, we hope, rulings on the sealing or unsealing of documents from personnel files in the Los Angeles cases, with a carefully crafted creative dance by church attorney Donald Steier no doubt. I doubt I’ll get him on camera. . .

More to come about the hearing Tuesday in next post


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