HP Shareholder Wants Sexual Harassment Letter Made Public

Paul Lilly

HP and its shareholders have much more pressing matters to attend to than digging up old skeletons and revisiting the situation that led to former CEO Mark Hurd's resignation. Or at least you would think that would be the case. Instead, the Delaware Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether to unseal a letter from an actress' lawyer that ultimately led to Hurd's departure amid allegations of sexual harassment, the Associated Press reports .

Let's backtrack for a moment. Jodie Fisher, a former softcore porn actress and one time Playboy model , was hired by HP's marketing department back in 2007 to help with various events. She would later accuse Mark Hurd of sexual harassment and the two settled out of court. Hurd subsequently resigned from HP, and that was supposed to be the end of it.

AP now reports that HP shareholder Ernesto Espinoza wants a letter that was sent to Hurd last year by Fisher's attorney Gloria Allred made public, along with other company records related to Hurd's departure. Hurd's attorney, Rolin Bissell, is seeking to stop that from happening.

"We think the public interest here is very weak," Bissell said. "We don't think that 'public company' means it's a public document."

Espinoza and his attorney Felipe Arroyo feel differently. According to Arroyo, the letter was "by its very nature a business communication that [Hurd] had to turn over." The bigger issue here is that by resigning, Hurd received a lucrative cash severance payment of $12.2 million.

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