Public Should Be Allowed Access to Court Filings
Sealed court documents involving claims of fraud and abuse by an online timeshare company must be made public, Public Citizen will argue tomorrow at a hearing in Toms River, New Jersey.
Earlier this year Shelby Resorts Corporation, a South Carolina company that sells timeshares online, sued the anonymous owners of a website, shelbyresortscam.com, that contained criticisms of the company and used the company’s trademark. The court ordered that the website be taken down and called for Google to delete the site from its search engine. The entire case file has been kept under seal by the clerk’s office.
Parts of the complaint include quotations from the site that allege the company engaged in business that was “false, misleading and defamatory.”
Public Citizen seeks to intervene in the case before the Superior Court of New Jersey for the limited purpose of moving to unseal the complete record so that the public may know on what basis the court issued its takedown order and to allow members of the public to make up their own minds regarding the company’s practices.
“A company can’t just wipe clean possibly legitimate claims about its reputations,” said Paul Levy, the Public Citizen attorney arguing today. “The public should be allowed full access to the filings in a lawsuit about criticisms and rebuttals concerning companies doing business with the public.”