UPMC can hire vendor to copy Ravenstahl computer data

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A federal judge ruled today that UPMC can hire a vendor to copy the data on the computer used by former Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, but the data must be kept in a sealed envelope until it is needed in litigation.

U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti ruled that UPMC can pick a computer vendor, subject to the city's approval, to copy "all data on the computer, such as both active and deleted files and allocated and unallocated space," in case it becomes relevant in a stayed lawsuit the hospital giant filed against the city.

The vendor will have to sign a confidentiality agreement with the city, the judge ruled, and will mail copies to each side's outside counsel, "in sealed packaging, such as an envelope, which will readily reveal whether the package has been opened or otherwise tampered with," the judge wrote.

The lawyers won't be allowed to open the envelopes without a further court order, the judge ruled, adding that UPMC has to pay for the entire process.

UPMC last year sued the city and Mr. Ravenstahl, claiming that their challenge to its tax exemptions violated its civil rights. Judge Conti stayed the case while an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas rules on the underlying challenge.

After the Post-Gazette reported that Mr. Ravenstahl took his old work computer home, due to his distrust of new Mayor Bill Peduto, UPMC demanded access to the machine. The computer, which was briefly in the FBI's hands, was returned to the city.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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