Judge issues protective order for MRHD board member's communicat - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Judge issues protective order for MRHD board member's communications


A judge has ruled that a member of the Missouri River Historical Development board deserves to have his past e-mail communications protected when it comes to the breach of contract lawsuit filed by lawyers for the owner of Sioux City's Argosy Casino.

The decision capped another hearing, in Des Moines, in the suit. "I raised a concern about confidentiality, and the use of the materials that it seemed likely would be produced by Mr. Bernstein at some point," David Tank, Dave Bernstein's representative said.

Mark Weinhardt, representing the Belle of Sioux City, said that Bernstein was initially ordered by the court to turn in his communications in January, and never complied. "An order was issued that specifically told Mr. Bernstein what he was supposed to do, and he ignored that order. He hired another lawyer and created more noise," Weinhardt said.

However, Tank said sanctions were out of order, and that Bernstein deserved a protective order on his e-mail communications because they weren't necessary to the trial. "You should deny the request, this sort of vague request, for sanctions under the circumstances, because the conduct of Mr. Bernstein, I believe, has been reasonable under the circumstances," Tank said.

Weinhardt argued that Bernstein was tiptoeing around the issue, and that the e-mails contain information the public deserves to know about. "The mayor of Sioux City, in reference to my clients, Penn National Gaming, sends an e-mail and says 'screw these guys.' We think that's news, and we think the public has the right to see something like that," Weinhardt said.

After hearing the arguments, Judge Eliza Ovrom ruled that sanctions for Bernstein weren't appropriate, because he wasn't acting in contempt of the court. As far as the protective order on the e-mail communications belonging to Bernstein, Judge Ovrom said that from her point of view, the request for a protective order was completely reasonable."

Bernstein had this to say after the ruling, "The protective order will allow all of us to focus on the merits of the case instead of focusing on trying to discredit individuals as has happened in the past."

No trial date has been set.

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