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Doe v. Corp. of Presiding Bishop

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 06-14-2012
Case #: S058634
Durham, J, for the Court; En Banc
Full Text Opinion: http://courts.oregon.gov/Publications/S058601.pdf

Constitutional Law: Article I, section 10 of the Oregon Constitution places it within the discretion of the trial court to vacate its own protective orders as well as to may release redacted copies of exhibits to the public.

At the end of trial Plaintiff and Defendant (Boy Scouts of America) filed petitions for writs of mandamus challenging the trial court’s order allowing the release of redacted “ineligible volunteer” files belonging to Defendant. The mandamus petitions arose out of a trial court order to vacate a protective order. During trial, the court ordered Defendants to produce all unredacted “ineligible volunteer” files covering the period 1965 to 1985. These files were later admitted into evidence, with a protective order. Plaintiffs moved to vacate the protective order and the court granted the motion, concluding that Article I, section 10 of the Oregon Constitution (the “open courts” clause) compelled public access to the disputed files. The trial court further held that even if the court was not compelled to remove the protective order under the “open courts” clause, such a matter would still be up to the trial court’s discretion. In removing the protective order, the trial court redacted certain confidential information regarding the names of the victims. The Supreme Court held that Article I, section 10 that it is within the discretion of the trial court to vacate its own protective order, as well as to release redacted exhibits to the public. The alternative writs of mandamus are dismissed.