MarkWest appeals judge’s ruling that unsealed Hallowich case

MarkWest appeals judge’s ruling that unsealed Hallowich case by Barbara Miller, May 10, 2013, Observer Reporter
Filing specific issues of appeal this week was MarkWest Energy Partners LP and MarkWest Energy Group LLC. … Pittsburgh attorney Erin McDowell, filing the appeal on behalf of MarkWest, listed three issues for Superior Court to consider:

• Whether the trial court erred in concluding that the parties’ interests in “preserving confidentiality in the settlement, combined with the public’s interest [?] in encouraging settlement of disputes, were outweighed by the newspapers’ demand to access the matter, which only came before the court due to the tangential involvement of minors.”

• Whether O’Dell Seneca failed to “place the burden on the newspapers to demonstrate good cause for unsealing the record.”

And whether the president judge was incorrect in reaching the conclusion that a business has no right to privacy that would allow it to keep a settlement confidential when the gas companies and the Hallowiches voluntarily agreed to those terms.

Colin Fitch, attorney for the Observer-Reporter, said of MarkWest’s appeal that he would hardly consider a matter “tangential” because there were minors involved, and commented, “I think the judge was correct in all respects and we’re still waiting to hear if she will require the actual settlement agreement to be placed in the record. We believe she can continue to rule in the case and she can issue a final decision on that matter because it is a separate issue.”

MarkWest’s appeal to Superior Court does not address the more than inch-thick document, known as “Exhibit B” that was missing from the 56-page Hallowich case record when it was unsealed. Sheets of paper marked exhibits A through D served as placeholders in the file. Documents accompanied A, C and D, but not B. … MarkWest was the only firm to file a notice of appeal before the deadline last month. Parties to the Hallowich litigation but not appealing O’Dell Seneca’s decision are Range Resources Corp. and Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream. [Emphasis added]

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