CNN has not only lost its battle to keep from releasing unaired video footage subpoenaed by lawyers in a personal injury suit, but the news network’s counsel also have been rapped for not requesting in camera review of the footage until after the judge ruled against them.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash of the Northern District of Georgia wrote in his order denying the network’s motion for reconsideration that “nearly all” of CNN’s arguments could have been presented prior to his ruling from the bench and his ensuing written order, both of which occurred in December.
“Not only should these arguments have been presented earlier, either at the hearing or in the written motion to quash the subpoena, but [the moving party] has already met its burden of persuading the Court that the interview [footage] … is relevant to an important part of the case,” Thrash wrote. “In fact, it appears that CNN is asking for [a] more … rigorous showing of necessity and relevance than other circuits have required in cases where nonconfidential information is at issue.”
CNN’s counsel, Eric Schroeder at Powell Goldstein, said that he did make an oral request for in camera review of the footage immediately after Thrash ruled from the bench on Dec. 11. He filed a written motion for reconsideration about two weeks later.
Schroeder referred questions to the CNN media relations department, which declined comment.
CNN is not a party to the suit, which involves some 400 plaintiffs in multidistrict litigation against five defendants — including The Home Depot and Aerofil Technology Inc. — that participated in the manufacture, packaging and distribution of Tile Perfect Stand ‘N Seal Spray-on Grout Sealer. The plaintiffs allege that the sealer has caused users to suffer permanent lung damage or even death.