U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Right of Access
Knowledge of Essential Facts
Sousa v. Marquez
Judges Cabranes, Raggi and Carney
Background: The plaintiff-appellant, a former employee at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, claims that false statements and omissions in an investigative report issued by the defendant prevented him from prevailing in an underlying employment-related law suit.
Ruling: The Second Circuit affirmed. The court held that, assuming that a so-called “backward looking” right-of-access claims are viable in the circuit, such claims cannot proceed if the plaintiff was aware of the key facts at issue at the time of the earlier lawsuit. A plaintiff with knowledge of the crucial facts and an opportunity to rebut opposing evidence does have adequate access to a judicial remedy. Further, the district court’s opinion in the prior law suit demonstrated that the court had no relied on the statements or omissions in the investigative report.
John R. Williams for the plaintiff-appellant; Peter M. Haberlandt, assistant attorney general, for the defendant-appellee