Order over lawsuits in Dorothy Brown’s office put on hold by appeals court

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Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times files

Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown won a small legal victory Wednesday in her fight over public access to new electronically filed lawsuits.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to put on hold a lower court’s order that she make them accessible until it has a chance to consider whether the order was proper.

Brown asked for the hold Tuesday, after U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly doubled-down on his original Jan. 8 order telling Brown to provide access to the newly filed lawsuits within 30 days. He shot down her arguments that, among other things, his order would require her to make public lawsuits that are filed under seal.

Kennelly said that’s not the case.

“What is actually afoot is a system, effectively created by Brown herself, in which all e-filed complaints are treated as having been filed under seal until Brown herself clears them for public access,” Kennelly wrote.

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