Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Margolies Protecting Eisenhofer and Friends?

The Kansas City Star today reports on the possibility that lawyers who gave the Star copies of depositions in Sprint litigation could face sanctions for violating a protective order. Its author, Dan Margolies, does a workmanlike job of presenting the facts, except for one glaring exception.

Who are we talking about?

Nowhere in the article do the names of the attorneys who are being threatened with sanctions show up. They are referred to only as "attorneys for plaintiffs".

Why is Mr. Margolies being so squeamish about publishing their names? Back when the offending article was published, Mr. Margolies included a little more information about his source:

"We only gave you the parts not designated confidential," Jay Eisenhofer, one of the plaintiffs attorneys, said in a phone interview with The Star. "Why that wasn't done here, I have no idea."
Strangely, neither article appears in the "In the News" section of Eisenhofer's website.

Dan Margolies has a well-earned reputation as a fine reporter and a good guy. He is friendly, and he keeps information provided "off the record" confidential. The Kansas City bar is a relatively small community, and Dan has earned its trust by keeping our names out of the paper when we don't want to appear, if it doesn't interefere with the story.

In this instance, though, where a court order lists the names of the parties in controversy, it seems like Mr. Margolies is going awfully far in shielding his friends. One of the first rules of journalism is to focus on "Who, What, When, Where, Why and How".

Why don't we get the "Who" part this time? Who else besides Eisenhofer is going to get sanctioned?


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