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CAFC Again Rejects Trade Group's Bid to Redact Over 15 Words in Conflict-of-Interest Suit

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit again rejected the Coalition of Freight Coupler Producers' bid to redact 180 unique words in its reply brief in an attorney conflict-of-interest suit. Judge Alan Prost said most of the information the coalition is seeking to redact was made publicly available in the Court of International Trade proceeding, and said information relating to the terms of an engagement agreement the coalition sought to redact was "disclosed without objection" in importer Amsted Rail's opening and reply briefs (Amsted Rail Co. v. U.S., Fed. Cir. # 23-1355).

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The coalition asked to redact more than the allowed limit of 15 unique words relating to: "(1) personally identifiable information of an attorney and law firm, (2) certain accusations against that attorney and law firm, and (3) terms of an engagement agreement." Prost said there is a "strong presumption in favor of public access to appellate court proceedings," and the coalition did not make the proper showing as to why the additional redactions were needed according to a statute, administrative regulation or court rule. Federal Circuit Judge Evan Wallach in April rejected the coalition's first attempt to secure the additional redactions, ruling the party's initial motion didn't specify why the redactions were needed (see 2304070028).

The case concerns a past ITC injury investigation on freight rail couplers from China and an ongoing injury investigation on the same goods from China and Mexico. ARC, a U.S. producer and importer of freight rail couplers, originally employed Wiley partner Daniel Pickard to represent it. After filing a petition for ARC, Pickard moved to Buchanan Ingersoll. Following a negative injury determination in the original ITC case, Pickard filed a new petition naming imports of freight rail couplers from Mexico and China as the source of the injury, knowing ARC had the only imports from Mexico via its maquiladora factory. CIT dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction (see 2211160057).