Eric David, a partner in the Raleigh office, was recently quoted on First Amendment issues and public documents in an article on StateScoop, a leading website covering governments and their use of technology.
The article explores a case in Seattle in which a company that provides smart technology for reading electrical meters is suing website MuchRock.com and Seattle City Light. The suit alleges that documents given to MuckRock.com by Seattle City Light as part of a public records request contain sensitive information about the company and its business practices. A judge has issued a temporary restraining order, compelling MuckRock.com to remove the documents in question from its website.
David said he thinks MuckRock has a compelling case for posting the documents, telling StateScoop, "Companies regularly, in my experience, think their stuff is a trade secret, when it’s really not. It might be confidential, it might be uncomfortable that it comes out, it might put them at a competitive disadvantage, but that doesn’t make it a trade secret under most state laws. ... There’s always a risk when you bid for government contracts that some aspects of your business model could become public, and these companies know that.”