Tuesday, November 17, 1998 San Francisco Chronicle Ruling Allows Activists To Sue Over Disclosure Bay Area political activists who have sued a Jewish civil rights organization are entitled to learn whether the group illegally disclosed confidential information about them, a state appeals court ruled yesterday. The ruling by the Court of Appeals should enable the activists to go to trial in their long-stalled suit against the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. The activists' suit, which asks for class-action status for as many as 1,000 people, relies on a state law banning disclosure of confidential government information, with damages of $2,500 for each disclosure. Filed in 1993, the suit has been delayed by a dispute over the confidentiality of ADL files. ADL regional director Barbara Bergen said that although the decision "leaves open the possibility of limited future discovery from the League," ADL officials predicted it would lead to a legal victory for the group in future litigation. The organization, which publishes newsletters about hate groups, has the legal status of a journalist, and it says it is therefore entitled to keep its files and sources confidential. The appeals court, however, ruled 3 to 0 that the ADL could not keep its files secret if they were used for nonjournalistic activity.