Wednesday, March 12, 2008
A short order by Judge Weinstein in the Zyprexa MDL on March 11, 2008, permitted cameras and recording equipment during the upcoming March 20 hearing. Here’s a brief excerpt of Judge Weinstein’s order:
Video broadcasts assist in opening the courts to the public. Since tens of thousands of individuals, organizations and governmental entities all over the United States are parties to, or affected by, the instant litigation, approval of the application is in the public interest. No reason has been suggested to depart from the policy that, in general, the public should be permitted and encouraged to observe the operation of its courts in the most convenient manner possible, so long as there is no interference with the due process, the dignity of litigants, jurors and witnesses, or with other appropriate aspects of the administration of justice.
3/11/2008 N.Y.L.J. 32, (col. 3) (MDL Case No. 04-MD-1596).
As I’ve noted in previous articles (see here and here), transparency in matters affecting the public (such as large scale pharmaceutical cases) is vital for deterrence, public education, marketplace and social accountability, and judicial legitimacy. This transparency traditionally comes through published written opinions, but it’s certainly interesting to observe the rise of these new developments. It’s not clear from the text of the order which hearing will be broadcasted. There are a few significant hearings scheduled in March. Notably, there’s a hearing on motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment in the securities lawsuits, shareholder derivative lawsuit, and a class certification motion on the third-party payors lawsuit scheduled for March 27 and March 28 (info available at 2008 WL 619172 (E.D.N.Y.)).