Parties that provided Puerto Rico debt probe documents may object disclosure
SAN JUAN – The independent investigator probing the causes of Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt has filed an exit plan establishing procedures for resolving confidentiality disputes related to documents used in the publication of its final report Aug. 15.
The investigation has relied on documents provided by more than 150 witnesses and parties—including former and current government officials and various financial institutions, rating agencies, financial advisers, professionals, and regulators.
“The Independent Investigator intends to coordinate with the Oversight Board to organize the materials collected during the course of the Investigation and to establish and transfer various documents and information to a secure centralized document depository,” the investigating firm, Kobre & Kim, said, so interested parties can seek access following the publication of the final report on the causes of the debt.
The procedures to release documents include providing “disclosing parties” with advance notice of the planned publication of their confidential information, if required by a non-disclosure agreement; require those parties to meet and confer with the independent investigator to resolve any dispute over the publication of their confidential information, and if the dispute cannot be resolved consensually, provide disclosing parties the opportunity to seek a protective order before the information is disclosed.
“Under section 105 of PROMESA, the Independent Investigator seeks to be exculpated from liability in connection with the Investigation and the Final Report,” the firm asked the court.
The independent investigator also said it was ready, on approval of the procedures, to send notices to the disclosing parties.
The detailed publication procedures follow:
a. The Independent Investigator will provide a written notice, by email or overnight delivery, to each disclosing Party identifying the Disclosing Party’s Confidential Information that the Independent Investigator may use in the Final Report at the latest five days before publication of the Final Report, unless the Non-Disclosure Agreement between the Independent Investigator and the Disclosing Party provides for a different period.
b. During the Notice Period, the Disclosing Parties must hold the identity and content of any Confidential Information about which the Independent Investigator has given notice in strict confidence.
c. If no objection is made within the Notice Period, any disclosing Party shall be deemed to have waived any claim that such Confidential Information is entitled to non-disclosure, and the Independent Investigator may promptly publish the Final Report and any related exhibits disclosing such Confidential Information.
d. If a Disclosing Party makes an objection within the Notice Period, the Disclosing Party must confer in good faith directly with the Independent Investigator to attempt to resolve its challenge concerning any of the Confidential Information identified by the Independent Investigator for inclusion in the Final Report.
e. If any of the Disclosing Parties makes an objection within the Notice Period and such objection is not resolved under the Meet and Confer Procedure, the Disclosing Party must file with this Court and serve a motion for a protective order, on an expedited basis scheduled in compliance with the Case Management Order seeking to prohibit the public disclosure of the Confidential Information
f. No Confidential Information may be filed by any party with the Court unless upon advanced written consent; or filed under seal under Local Bankruptcy Rule.
g. The Independent Investigator will maintain the confidentiality of such Confidential Information during the pendency of an objection and, if a Motion for Protective Order is filed, until the Court resolves the Motion for Protective Order.
h. Nothing in the Publication Procedures shall limit the Independent Investigator’s ability to file or publish all, or any portion of, the Final Report under seal or with redactions during, or in advance of, the Notice Period. Nothing in the Publication Procedures shall limit the ability of the Committees to seek access to information filed under seal or to object to the fact that certain information is filed under seal.