A judge has ruled that certain information involved in a lawsuit against Bain Capital, the private equity firm where Mitt Romney made his fortune, should be released to the public.
U.S. District Judge Edward Harrington said in a decision on Friday that the public has the right to see a new complaint filed as part of a class-action antitrust lawsuit that claims Bain Capital and 10 other private equity firms colluded with one another to keep the costs of leveraged buyouts low. The plaintiffs recently filed another complaint with new information, but that complaint has not yet been made public because of opposition from Bain Capital lawyers, who say doing so could hurt the company's business because of increased scrutiny during the election news cycle.
Harrington disagreed. "The Defendants have failed to explain how the particular information that they have redacted causes specific and severe harm," he wrote in the decision. "It is further unclear to the Court whether the redactions are narrowly tailored to addressing that harm."
Still, Bain Capital lawyers have about three weeks to submit a second redacted version of the complaint and to "demonstrate with greater particularity" how potential harm to the company's business interests could trump the public's right to see the complaint, according to the decision.
A heavily redacted version of the complaint recently was leaked to The New York Times. The document includes emails suggesting that the private equity firms worked together to keep buyout costs low.
Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, co-founded Bain Capital in 1984 and ran the company until 2002. Romney's and Bain's lawyers say he was not involved in the company at the time of the deals covered by the lawsuit.
(Hat tip: Courthouse News.)