Toronto's Globe and Mail is reporting that Ontario Superior Court Judge Michael Quigley has denied Dr. Stanley Bernstein's motion to exclude the public from a nasty trial that involves his former obesity practice partner, Dr. Scott Seagrist.
The two doctors, both of whom operate “obesity practices” used to be business partners in clinics in Kitchener and London, Ont. Dr. Bernstein was seeking more than $10-million in damages from Dr. Seagrist, alleging that he violated their business agreement and misused confidential information. Dr. Seagrist filed a counter-claim, denying the allegations and seeking similar compensation from Dr. Bernstein.
In seeking to exclude the public, lawyers for Dr. Bernstein argued that his diet methods were “trade secrets” which competitors would try to use, if disclosed in open court.
The ruling by Judge Quigley indicated that he was not deciding whether or not the diet techniques were trade secrets, but whether Dr. Bernstein met the very high legal test to exclude the public from a court proceeding.
The judge noted that all 600-pages of a diet manual written by Dr. Bernstein was alleged to be confidential, even though much of the information was in the public domain. “A broad panoply of information is claimed by Dr. Bernstein,” observed Judge Quigley. The request for a closed court “was excessive and over-reaching,” the judge added.
It will be interesting to learn of Dr. Bernstein's response to this ruling - presumably he would rather settle than let the world in on the particulars of his obesity treatments.