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MTA Agrees to $140000 Settlement With Wu Then Asks To Seal It As Inner City Press FOILs

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 6 – Tony Wu sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for allegedly retaliating against him for exercising his rights under the Family Medical and Leave Act. Wu, who had previously sued the MTA in 2014, states that he suffers from obstructive sleep apnea, among other ailments.

  On October 5, a jury trial began before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Gregory H. Woods. Inner City Press was monitoring it.

   On October 6, Judge Woods said on a telephone conference in an unrelated civil case, also against a New York State public body, that he had to run and attend to his jury trial.  

Inner City Press ran too, up to the 26th floor of the SDNY courthouse at 500 Pearl Street.

 It was open, and Inner City Press exchanged nods with Judge Woods' courtroom deputy, also masked.  There was no other media in the courtroom.

  In the front, the MTA's lawyer described having just reached a settlement of $140,000, apparently taxfree for Mr. Wu, along with a non disparagement clause or gag order. 

 Then the MTA's lawyer asked the transcript of the proceeding, including the amount to be paid by the MTA to Mr. Wu, be sealed.  

Judge Woods said the transcript would not come out for a while and he would consider a letter asking to seal it, to his credit asking if the MTA is legally entitled to make such a request. The MTA's lawyer indicated that it is permissible.

 Inner City Press has filed a Freedom of Information Law request with the MTA for all such sealed settlements: "I am a journalist and just witnessed the MTA's lawyer in Wu v. MTA (18-cv-6543 in the SDNY) ask Judge Woods to seal the transcript of a $140,000 settlement. This is a request under FOIL for all records reflecting the dollar amount and number of MTA legal settlements since January 1, 2014 to the date of your response and any and all requests, whether granted or not, to seal the settlements or transcripts reflecting the settlements. I am requesting expedited treatment given this untransparent use of public funds as fares rise."  

 The SDNY jury will presumably be told not to come back, and the cost of a MetroCard and fare will continue to rise.

Also pending before Judge Woods are Inner City Press' requests to make public the filings with Judge Woods by the leaker of Paul Manafort's and other Suspicious Activity Reports, Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, here.

Ironically, in the above referenced October 6 telephone conference, Judge Woods in his patient way told a litigant not to file anything with his Chambers by email, as Edwards did, but only on ECF. In essence, Edwards is being rewarded for disregarding what other litigants are told. We'll have more on that, and on the FinCEN Files.

 This now-sealed case is Wu v. Metropolitan Transportation Authority et al., 18-cv-6543 (Woods)


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