The judge in a suit over the wrongful handling of bundled mortgages by JPMorgan Chase & Co. refused, with conditions, to seal testimony by two employees of a mortgage processing company that admitted during depositions to taking questionable actions on behalf of the bank.
Southern District Magistrate Judge James Francis IV sided with the plaintiffs in Mortgage Resolution Servicing v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,15-cv-00293, finding that the deponents failed to meet the burden for protection.
Bryan Bly and Erika Lance of Nationwide Title Clearing Inc. had argued that they had faced harassment after participating in other mortgage-related testimony. In the current case, the pair acknowledged how they helped prepare and process allegedly fraudulent documents, such as lien releases, on behalf of the defendant.
In refusing to grant protective status to the testimony, Francis said the deponents simply failed to adequately show how they had been harassed or how they might be after the current testimony, nor did Nationwide Title specifically identity specific proprietary processes that could be revealed by the testimony.
However, the judge acknowledged the sensitivity of the information, especially for Nationwide Title. Francis said the issue “may ultimately be rendered moot” by a motion to compel Lance to answer questions she refused to answer during deposition.
“To the extent that the determination of the motion to compel were to be predicated on the transcripts, there would arise a strong presumption that the public would have a right of access to those documents,” Francis wrote.
The plaintiff’s motion, therefore, was granted, but Francis stayed the order to give the deponents and Nationwide Title two weeks to provide supplementary material to make their case.