Hurd hits another HP hurdle

Letter accusing Oracle president of sexual harassment to be made public

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Hurd hits another HP hurdle A Delaware judge has ruled that a letter from Gloria Allred, a California lawyer whose client Jodie Fisher accused Hurd of sexual harassment,be opened to the public.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  March 20, 2011

A letter that has been tied to Mark Hurd's resignation from his job as chief of Hewlett-Packard is being unsealed under orders from a judge in Delaware, according to Reuters.

The letter, from Gloria Allred, a California lawyer whose client, Jodie Fisher accused Hurd of sexual harassment, prompted HP to investigate Hurd and forced him to leave the company. Hurd has since joined Oracle as president.

HP found no evidence of sexual harassment, but accused Hurd of submitting inaccurate expense reports involving Fisher, who was working with HP as an independent contractor.

Delaware Chancery Judge Donald Parsons revealed in a 71-page opinion that much of the contents of the letter are already public and determined that the letter's contents were not protected and ordered it to be made public within 10 days.

"We are disappointed with the court's ruling," said Hurd's lawyer, Amy Wintersheimer. "We believe the letter, which was clearly marked 'confidential,' should remain that way."

Hurd's lawyer said her client intends to appeal, which may delay the order to lift the seal.

The judges opinion unveiled more of what was alleged in the letter, including that Hurd used corporate funds to "wine and dine" Fisher and leak private information about HP to her.

"While some of the allegations in the letter concerning Hurd's conduct vis-a-vis Fisher are candid, they are not graphic or lurid," wrote Parsons. "Unsealing the letter would not publicly reveal entirely new information about Hurd; instead, it simply would provide more details concerning a matter of established public knowledge."

Parsons has cited that some portions of the letter will remain sealed and wrote that the letter contains intimate details about Hurd's family life.

Both Hurd and Fisher say the letter is full of inconsistencies.

The dispute over the document follows a lawsuit filed by a shareholder, Ernesto Espinoza, who is seeking HP's records relating to Hurd's resignation and severance package.

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