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Judge not, lest ye be judged? The Illinois Appellate Court ruled a jurist acted erroneously when he sealed the case records involving the Pritzker family’s wrangling over its $15 billion fortune.

Liesel Pritzker

Judge not, lest ye be judged? The Illinois Appellate Court ruled a jurist acted erroneously when he sealed the case records involving the Pritzker family’s wrangling over its $15 billion fortune.

Writing Thursday in the opinion for the Illinois First District Appellate Court, Justice Fitzgerald Smith opined that Judge John Madden had “merely acquiesced” to the family’s request to seal the file.

“The judge, as the primary representative of the public interest in the judicial process, should not rubber stamp a stipulation to seal a record,” Smith wrote. The Pritzker family has been in conflict over a settlement that would grant 11 relatives assets worth an estimated $1.3 billion apiece.

Family attorneys argued that details in the court documents could endanger heirs and compromise plans of Pritzker-owned businesses. Madden, who retired from the bench this summer, saw his seal order challenged by the Chicago Tribune, which maintained the case was a public proceeding.

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