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Secret Settlements

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Secret Settlements

Brien Roche

Secret settlements and secrecy in lawsuits are common. However they can be dangerous.  Remington Firearms Company knew of hundreds of documented deaths and injuries. They were caused by defects in their Model 700 trigger mechanism.  They concealed this flaw for years.Secret settlements were the order of the day. As a result these prevented other plaintiffs from discovering the problem.  

The Standard For Secret Settlements

If secrecy is sought in the course of litigation the defendants should meet the proper test.  In other words protective orders dealing with discovery should require a showing of good cause. This is required under Federal Rule 26(c).  The good cause must be fact-based.  Convenience alone does not satisfy the standard.  The order should state who has the burden of showing the good cause.

If there is dispute over whether particular items are protected it should be stated in the Order that the document cannot be marked as Confidential.
Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Secret Settlements and Sealing Files

Another common defense tactic is to ask that court files be sealed.  The proponent of secrecy must show that sealing is warranted. It must meet the standards under both federal common law and the First Amendment.  Mere embarrassment to a defendant is not enough. Also concern that public access could result in more litigation is not a reason for secrecy.  In other words the reasons must be fact-based.

The law supports open court records. This is especially so in cases that involve dangerous products.  Very few defendants are able to meet the First Amendment and the Federal Common Law requirements.  Secret settlements may be worth a great deal during settlement discussions.  The defendant wants to avoid future claims. They may also want to keep a known dangerous product on the market.  However if those are the goals then the defendant should be held to the test.  

For more information on tort and personal injury matters contact Brien Roche. Also for info on secret settlements see the pages on Wikipedia.

 

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Secret Settlements

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Secret Settlements

Brien Roche

Secret settlements and secrecy in lawsuits are common. However they can be dangerous.  Remington Firearms Company knew of hundreds of documented deaths and injuries. They were caused by defects in their Model 700 trigger mechanism.  They concealed this flaw for years.Secret settlements were the order of the day. As a result these prevented other plaintiffs from discovering the problem.  

The Standard For Secret Settlements

If secrecy is sought in the course of litigation the defendants should meet the proper test.  In other words protective orders dealing with discovery should require a showing of good cause. This is required under Federal Rule 26(c).  The good cause must be fact-based.  Convenience alone does not satisfy the standard.  The order should state who has the burden of showing the good cause.

If there is dispute over whether particular items are protected it should be stated in the Order that the document cannot be marked as Confidential.
Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Secret Settlements and Sealing Files

Another common defense tactic is to ask that court files be sealed.  The proponent of secrecy must show that sealing is warranted. It must meet the standards under both federal common law and the First Amendment.  Mere embarrassment to a defendant is not enough. Also concern that public access could result in more litigation is not a reason for secrecy.  In other words the reasons must be fact-based.

The law supports open court records. This is especially so in cases that involve dangerous products.  Very few defendants are able to meet the First Amendment and the Federal Common Law requirements.  Secret settlements may be worth a great deal during settlement discussions.  The defendant wants to avoid future claims. They may also want to keep a known dangerous product on the market.  However if those are the goals then the defendant should be held to the test.  

For more information on tort and personal injury matters contact Brien Roche. Also for info on secret settlements see the pages on Wikipedia.

 

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation