Thursday, April 17, 2008

Trade Secrets Litigation: Allstate Posts Documents Online

Kansas City Business Journal pointed out a very unusual case in Allstate posts controversial documents online:

"Allstate Insurance Co., besieged by lawsuits and negative attention for what plaintiffs alleged was a claims policy that short-shrifted consumers, decided to place sensitive claims documents on the company's Web site.".


Allstate vigorously resisted the introduction of the documents in court without a protective order, insisting that the documents were trade secrets.

The company said in a release that it still thinks the documents are trade secrets but that it decided to release the 150,000 pages online because it wanted to dispel the "inaccurate picture" that had been painted of its claims process.

I am very curious about who made the choice to publish the documents: business side or legal side. My initial reaction, my gut reaction, was that this demolished all of Allstate's trade secrets case. That is the lawyerly reaction but further thinking put me onto the trail of an idea.

That idea simply put is that the lawyerly maneuver might injure the business and the lawyer's job is to help the business. Sometimes we see the trees and sometimes we see the forest and sometimes we do not see the forest for the trees. My original reaction was the latter. So, I say if the decision came from the legal side of Allstate then decision was pretty much brilliant.