Ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd Wants to Keep Damaging Letter Secret

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on October 18, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Will the Mark Hurd letter be made public?

The answer to this question is now firmly in the hands of the Delaware Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the issue late last week.

Written on behalf of contractor Jodie Fisher, the letter reportedly alleges sexual harassment perpetrated by the ex-HP CEO. It also claims Hurd misused corporate funds and breached his fiduciary duties towards the company.

The Mark Hurd letter was initially released as part of a shareholder lawsuit into corporate waste. Shareholder Ernesto Espinoza filed suit seeking more information about Hurd's resignation, which Bloomberg reports netted him a $40 million severance package.

Hewlett-Packard produced the letter, which was attached to Espinoza's sealed complaint. Now Espinoza wants the letter unsealed.

Hurd's attorneys argue that releasing the letter would violate his right to privacy, reports the Associated Press. They also claim that it would impact the confidentiality of a settlement reached with Ms. Fisher.

Espinoza's attorney argues that Mark Hurd has no right to privacy because the letter is a business document. It was addressed to Hurd as CEO, and the Associated Press further reports that it was sent to HP headquarters. The letter also made claims against the company, so Hurd turned it over to HP's general counsel.

This may very well be true, but why is Espinoza fighting so hard for the letter's release?

A cursory analysis indicates that his motivations are less about corporate waste and more about corporate shaming. He wants to know why Hewlett Packard didn't fire Mark Hurd. He wants to know why, amidst such heavy allegations, the company paid out a multi-million dollar severance agreement.

He's been denied access to key evidence, according to Bloomberg. It seems like the release of the Mark Hurd letter is his last hope--if he can't prove his point in court, he wants to do so in the court of public opinion.

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