In November 2010, shareholder Ernesto Espinoza sued Hewlett-Packard over access to corporate documents with information on Hurd’s private relationship with former marketing contractor Jodie Fisher and his $53 million award on behalf of the company’s board members. According to an analysis article in Bloomberg, Hewlett-Packard’s lawyers stated today in court that Espinoza lacks a proper purpose for this inspection, citing “Espinoza has not set forth a credible basis to find probable corporate wrongdoing or mismanagement by the board.”
In response to Espinoza’s request of minutes of boarding meetings in which Hurd’s investigation was discussed, Hewlett-Packard declared that Espinoza was already given “relevant, non-privileged board minutes,” leaving a report on the internal investigation the only document in dispute.
The secret relationship between Hurd and Fisher came to the company’s ears after the former had given a letter from Gloria Allread, Fisher’s attorney, to Michael Holston, Hewlett-Packard’s general counsel. Hurd claims the letter is confidential. Although Hewlett-Packard considers otherwise, it finally designated the letter as “confidential at the request of Mark Hurd to allow Hurd an opportunity to reach an agreement with shareholders’ counsel.”
Hewlett-Packard shareholders have reportedly sued the board members on grounds of not properly handling former CEO Mark Hurd’s resignation and severance agreement according to Forbes blog, “The sealed lawsuits seek information about the board’s review of the sexual harassment allegations against Hurd. At least one case, brought by investor Lawrence Zucker, seeks a monetary ruling. Hurd left the company, and was soon hired as co-president at Oracle.”