Coral Resorts’ Attempt to Suppress Sealed Documents Denied by Judge

July 25, 2014 No Comments

Coral Resorts LawsuitCall it a win for the common man! Coral Resorts’ legal request to block The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette from the continued to publishing of sealed records of a hearing that the resort didn’t want to be made public has been denied by a state court of appeals judge.

South Carolina Court of Appeals Chief Judge John C. Few ruled in favor of the newspapers, saying that they do not need to remove from their web sites the records of a questionable hearing the firm had with to the South Carolina Real Estate Commission.

Journalists had obtained the transcribed documentation of the hearings from an unidentified source and published them with the belief that the information was of  public concern and should therefore be made available for all to review.

James Smith, Coral Resorts attorney and state legislator from the city of Columbia, SC, requested that the judge force the newspapers to refrain from posting the documents. The attorney asserted that considering that the information therein is the topic of a pending appeal, it is “the utmost necessity” that it remain private.

Coral Resorts authorities have claimed the file consists of trade secrets and exclusive info concerning the firm, which operates the resorts Port O’Call at Shipyard Plantation, Coral Sands, Island Links, and Coral Reef.

Coral Resorts attorney Nekki Shutt  argued that The Island Packet newspaper published documents that the appellate court ordered to be sealed in conformity with the South Carolina Timeshare Act and should be treated as any other South Carolina constituent would be.

The attorney representing both newspapers, Jay Bender, claimed in a letter to the judge that prohibiting publication would certainly be synonymous with prior restraint, which is not constitutional.

The records of the January 2013 hearing exposed the firm’s negligence to pay the annual fees called for by the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The lapse in required payments are almost certain to play an essential role in as many as 24 claims submitted by dissatisfied Coral Resorts timeshares owners.

The paper also contains a sworn statement from the mayor of Hilton Head Island, Drew Laughlin, who also serves as an attorney for Coral Resorts. Mayor Laughlin was paid to show up and testify as a private citizen. He did not reveal to the commission that he is indeed employed by Coral Resorts.

The Island Packet and the Beaufort Gazette papers are attempting to intervene in Coral Resort’s appeal the decision of the judge to seal records related to the timeshare company. Both newspapers intend to challenge decision to seal the transcripts previously made by Judge Carmen Mullen of the 14th Circuit Court.  As of the writing of this article, the Court of Appeals hasn’t yet made the decision as to whether or not the newspapers will be allowed to intervene.

If you need to get out of a Coral Resorts timeshare contract, contact Redemption and Release, LLC. They can get you out of your timeshare obligations so you’ll never have to deal with the headaches and deceptions of timeshare ownership again!

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