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Judge denies restrictive documents order in lawsuit against Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News

A federal judge Thursday declined to issue a more restrictive protective order for documents in the lawsuit between a citizens' group and Salt Lake City's two daily newsapers.
A federal judge Thursday declined to issue a more restrictive protective order for documents in the lawsuit between a citizens' group and Salt Lake City's two daily newsapers.
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge Thursday denied a request for a more restrictive protective order on documents in the lawsuit between a citizens' group and Salt Lake City's two daily newspapers.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells said she found no reason to issue more than a standard protective order in the Utah Newspaper Project's suit against the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. Attorneys for the newspapers argued they need to protect sensitive business matters that would seriously harm their interests if they became public.

The Utah Newspaper Project/Citizens for Two Voices contended that a more restrictive order would leave them guessing about which part of a document is confidential and open them to sanctions for inadvertently disclosing information.

Wells noted the group is not seeking to prevent the newspapers from designating material confidential but wants them to "actually identify what is supposedly confidential.”

Citizens for Two Voices, a group of Tribune supporters and former staffers brought the lawsuit last June, claiming that the revisions to the joint operating agreement, completed in October 2013, left the Tribune facing immenent closure and violates interstate trade and various antitrust laws.

Tribune owners denied that the newspaper was in danger of shutting down, and both Tribune and Deseret News leaders said they made the changes to maintain the viability of both papers, which continue to publish print and online editions.

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