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To read comments to this article, go here
Canopy Settlement Terms Will Be Confidential & More Docs
Thursday, March 10 2005 @ 11:43 AM EST

What a surprise. Not. Bob Mims has word that while there will be a public joint statement by the parties, the terms of the settlement between Ralph Yarro et al and Canopy-Noorda et al will be confidential:

"Anthony Kaye, an attorney representing Canopy and its founders, Ray and Lawena Noorda, confirmed a deal had been struck between the sides, although he could not offer details Wednesday.

    "'Obviously, it is a matter of public record that the case has been settled,' he said. 'The terms are confidential, and there will be a joint statement issued at the appropriate time.'

    "'I concur with that statement,' said Stanley Preston, an attorney representing Yarro, Mott and Christensen.

    "David B. Watkiss, another Canopy attorney, also declined to offer details of the settlement, although he expected what he called 'a joint press release' to be issued 'in a day or so.'"

Talk about tight-lipped. "I concur with that statement." It made me smile. After publicly accusing each other of fraud to the high heavens on one side and meanness sufficient to cause employee suicide on the other, they would now like to take all their dirty linen private.

That is understandable, of course. If it were me, I'd want it too. But, as one of the attorneys pointed out, some things are a matter of public record, and we'll surely know who is and isn't on the board of directors at Canopy and their portfolio companies, and for most of us, that is the part we care about anyway.

Besides, as we saw in the USL-UCal settlement, private settlements have a way of becoming public eventually anyway. Then there's G2, Forbes and CNET. Surely they will quickly file a motion to intervene and unseal the court record, on behalf of the public's insatiable right to know. You think? No? All right. I know. I'm just horsing around. But doesn't it speak volumes if they don't?

Anyway, shareholders in public companies have a right to know too, and I expect sooner or later, that thought will arrive fully formed in some attorney's head, and it will all come out that way. A number of portfolio companies are public companies. SCO is, to name just one. And that's not even talking about IBM and its interest in knowing a bit more about this topic, should they choose to. The point I'm making is that no matter how I look at it, I just can't see how they will be able to keep the settlement terms completely confidential.

I have some more Canopy documents which I will post here as soon as they are resolving on the servers.

Here are some more of the Canopy-Yarro filings, but remember, this is all settled, so this is for the historians:

This next one, Reply Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion to Seal Affidavits, and Motion For Protective Order, is probably worth a separate mention. It tells us that the Yarro team asked that affidavits be sealed and for a protective order to make sure "mean" Mr. Mustard couldn't retaliate against anyone who wished to testify. The Canopy side called the latter an "extraordinary protective order", and I'd have to agree it is unusual, given the facts of the case, but it does make me wonder if a lot of the "mean" Mr. Mustard testimony was for the purpose of allowing them to ask for this relief. To the best of my knowledge, only Darl McBride's affidavit was sealed.

And here we have some notices to appear at the now cancelled hearing, including notices to both the Noordas and a Mr. William Prater:

See how fast lawyers can move when the object *isn't* to delay? Those hearings, had they taken place, would have been dynamite. No doubt that too was a strong motivation on both sides to settle and take the dispute back into the private realm.

Once again, we have Frank Sorenson to thank for obtaining these documents as paper filings, scanning them and making them PDFs for us to enjoy. Thank you, Frank.


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