The Volokh Conspiracy

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Mick Mulvaney (W.H. Chief of Staff) Real Estate Case Documents Unsealed


Paul Alan Levy (Public Citizen) moved to unseal the documents on Feb. 25 (see my post on his motion). A couple of South Carolina newspapers wrote about it here (briefly) and here (at length); and yesterday Judge Brian M. Gibbons ordered that the documents be unsealed:

The Court is issuing this Order sua sponte in its capacity both as the presiding judge and as the Chief Administrative Judge over the 6th Judicial Circuit. This matter was before the Court for a hearing on a summary judgement motion back on October 14, 2019. All parties entered into a Consent Protective Order in 2018 and subsequently entered into a Consent Order to Seal the record to keep certain deposition transcripts involving the parties confidential. The Court issued these orders primarily because all parties requested the same.

However, upon further reflection of the balancing factors set forth In Rule 41.1 of the SCRCP, the Court finds the drastic remedy of sealing the record in this case, even though presented lo the Court as a Consent Order, is not appropriate. As such, the Court vacates the Consent Order lo Seal and Consent Protective Order previously issued.

The judge issued the order "sua sponte," which might have allowed him to unseal the case without waiting for a response; but it seems pretty clear that the unsealing was prompted by Paul's motion—as usual, Paul gets results.

Thanks to Prof. Eric Robinson (Univ. of S.C.) for the news about the order.

UPDATE: D'oh! I originally inadvertently labeled Mulvaney W.H. Counsel in the headline; I of course meant W.H. Chief of Staff (though still Acting, I think), as I had written in past posts. Thanks to commenter hardreaders for pointing this out.