From the Connecticut Law Tribune:
Lawyers involved in the class action sex discrimination case against Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric in 2007 would rather you not read passages from various filings.
After all, the plaintiffs' firm, Sanford, Wittels & Heisler in Washington, D.C., took the time and effort to black out reams of pages in numerous briefs to make them inaccessible to the public -- or so they thought.
But as of late last week, you could download several documents through PACER's federal court filing system, copy the black bars that cover the text on the screen and paste them into a Word document.
Voilà. Information about the inner-workings of GE's white, male-dominated management and their alleged discriminatory practices against women, which is supposed to be sealed by court order, appears with little technical savvy required.
They warn you about this in ECF training courses. Sloppy information management "has been a huge problem" for lawyers, said Connecticut Chief Disciplinary Counsel Mark Dubois. "Metadata is a fascinating area of developing law. It is much discussed in the fields of risk aversion and risk management."
Add this to the list of lessons were are glad we learned by watching the mistakes of others.