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Penn State Requests Delay in Producing Documents During Appeal

by on October 13, 2014 12:51 PM

Attorneys for Penn State are asking a judge to put the Paterno family's lawsuit on hold while they appeal a recent ruling.

At issue is a court ruling that ordered the university to release at least some of the documents gathered during the Freeh investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.

Penn State claims those documents should not be released because they contain confidential messages between university attorneys and school officials.

In a Sept. 11 ruling the court decided that some communications  -- directly between the Freeh Group and Penn State -- may have attorney-client privilege, but that does not extend to other documents collected during the Freeh investigation. The ruling also noted only a small number of the approximately 3.5 million documents in question are relevant to the case, and only those documents need be produced.

The plaintiffs in the case - including Jay Paterno - would provide a set of search terms to the university. Only the documents containing these terms would be released.

In a filing on Monday, Penn State asks that a court order to release those disputed documents be delayed until an appeals court issues a decision. 

"Without a Stay... Penn State will suffer irreparable harm because the privilege cannot be recovered once documents are produced," the filing says.

The request also notes that "public interest strongly favors protecting attorney-client privilege" and argues the other parties in the case - including plaintiffs Jay Paterno and the Paterno Estate and defendants the NCAA - will not be harmed if Penn State is granted a stay.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about the nature of Monday's filing. It misidentified the parties requesting the stay and the reasons for which the stay has been requested.

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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