Post-Gazette asks federal judge to make certain UPMC, Highmark, WPAHS documents public

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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today filed motions in U.S. District Court asking Judge Joy Flowers Conti to make public competing sealed briefs in lawsuits involving Highmark, UPMC, West Penn Allegheny Health System and private plaintiffs.

The motion relates to documents that UPMC turned over to the Department of Justice during a four-year review of antitrust concerns in the area's healthcare and health insurance markets but which have not been provided to the parties in cases before Judge Conti.

UPMC has turned over millions of pages of material that had been provided to the Department of Justice, but withheld some documents because it viewed them as subject to attorney-client privilege -- a position with which a court-appointed special master agreed.

West Penn Allegheny and private plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against UPMC and Highmark have asked the judge for permission to file, under seal, objections to the special master's decision.

Post-Gazette attorney Frederick N. Frank argued in the newspaper's motion today that court filings are presumed to be public and that no party has showed that "a clearly defined serious injury" would come from public access.

The Post-Gazette also filed motions to participate in a hearing before Special Master Richard A. Levie, a retired judge, on the withheld documents.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord.


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