Hurd Fights Unsealing Of Sexual Harassment Complaint


A judge in Delaware is deliberating whether to unseal an eight-page letter outlining former HP marketing contractor Jodie Fisher's sexual harassment complaint against ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The letter is currently cloaked from public view as part of a shareholder lawsuit against HP over Hurd's departure. Lawyers for the plaintiff are fighting to make the letter public, and Hurd's lawyers are trying to prevent this from happening. Delaware Chancery Court Judge Donald F. Parsons is expected to make his decision early next year, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

An unsealed letter would presumably answer at least some of the lingering questions about the case and shed light on the circumstances surrounding Hurd's Aug. 6 resignation from HP. Fisher, who reportedly filed her complaint after having her hours cut after rebuffing Hurd's advances, hasn't publicly explained the reasons for her claim.

In the letter, Fisher reportedly claimed that Hurd told her about HP's plans to acquire EDS prior to the close of the deal in 2008. Fisher denied trading on the information and said Hurd warned her of the danger of doing so. HP's board didn't mention Fisher's EDS allegation when it announced Hurd's resignation, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Hurd reportedly reached a settlement with Fisher that wasn't authorized by HP's board, and Fisher hasn't commented on the issue since, although she did admit to being "surprised and saddened" by Hurd's resignation.

All of this has piqued the interest of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is investigating the EDS matter as well as Hurd's expense reporting from his work with Fisher, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

HP's shares dropped 10 percent in the wake of Hurd's resignation, lopping off billions of dollar in market capitalization and prompting the lawsuit from angry shareholders.