Bronx Conservatory of Music Can’t Seal Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against It
From Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses’s decision yesterday in Bronx Conservatory of Music, Inc. v. Kwoka & Bronx School for Music, Inc.:
In its complaint …, Bronx Conservatory, a music school, alleges that Kwoka, its former Executive Director, took confidential information with him (on a Bronx Conservatory laptop) when he left his employment in 2020, and thereafter used that information to establish a competing music school—Bronx School—and to lure away both students and faculty from Bronx Conservatory. Plaintiff asserts claims against both defendants for misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement, unfair competition, conversion, and unjust enrichment, and against Kwoka for breach of fiduciary duty.
In their responsive pleading, defendants deny the material allegations of the complaint, interpose numerous affirmative defenses, and assert five counterclaims [including] for “sexual harassment of Philip Kwoka” …. [P]laintiff proposes to redact [the sexual harassment counterclaim] almost in its entirety—including, apparently, its caption, quoted in the preceding sentence. Plaintiff argues that the material allegations comprising that sexual harassment counterclaim should be hidden from public view because they are “scandalous and unsupported,” because plaintiff believes the counterclaim was asserted “without legitimate purpose, and solely for its in terrorem effect” and because it is “unrelated to the case-in-chief” and thus this Court is “not likely to have pendent jurisdiction.” …
The parties’ pleadings, including answers and counterclaims, are unquestionably judicial documents [to which a “heavy” presumption of publ
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