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HP Investors’ Lawyer Seeks to Disclose Fisher Letter About Hurd

A San Diego law firm representing Hewlett-Packard Co. shareholders said it is seeking to disclose to investors an ex-contractor’s letter to the HP board accusing former chief executive officer Mark Hurd of sexual harassment.

Robbins Umeda LLP obtained the letter from the company through a shareholder books and records inspection request, said Davia Hayward, a spokeswoman for partner Marc Umeda. Hurd’s attorneys have said the letter is confidential and lawyers from the firm are in discussions with Hurd’s counsel, Hayward said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The harassment allegations made in the letter by company contractor Jody Fisher kicked off a probe of Hurd that ultimately led the board to ask for his resignation. He left the company in August, then joined Oracle Corp. as its president a month later. Palo Alto, California-based HP named Leo Apotheker as its new CEO on Sept. 30.

Gina Tyler, an HP spokeswoman, and Glen Bunting, a spokesman for Hurd, declined to comment. The law firm’s plans were reported earlier by Fortune.

On the day Hurd left, HP said he had violated its standards of business conduct by concealing a relationship with a contract employee. HP also said it found inaccurate expense reports filed by Hurd or in his name.

The company disclosed that it received a a sexual-harassment complaint, saying it didn’t find that Hurd broke its harassment policy. Hurd settled with Fisher privately.

Hayward declined to say which shareholders Robbins Umeda represents. She also declined to comment on the contents of the letter. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the letter claimed Hurd leaked acquisition plans.

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