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Guidant v. Aspen

Two subsidiaries of Guidant Corporation, a maker and seller of cardiac devices, and which requires all customers to agree to keep prices confidential, sued Aspen, a consulting company, for obtaining information from hospitals about Guidant’s prices using that information to advise other hospitals in their price negotiations with Guidant. On cross-motions for summary judgment on Guidant’s trade secret and intentional interference with contract claims, the court found Aspen liable in part. The parties filed all of their summary judgment briefs and all of the supporting affidavits and exhibits under seal, without ever getting judicial approval for their sealing decisions. Public Citizen moved to intervene and to unseal all papers for which the parties cannot prove that a genuine need for confidentiality outweighs the public interest in open judicial records. The district court granted our motion to intervene and, in an initial ruling, ordered that all briefs and some of the supporting materials be unsealed. Other records were addressed in subsequent rulings.