Les Weisbrod, the President of the American Association for Justice, has recently published a very interesting article concerning the Sunshine in Litigation Act S.537, H.R. 1508. The article is published in the National Law Journal. The article discusses how numerous corporations, in the hopes of limiting bad publicity, are forcing injured persons to keep the details of their settlements confidential. This unfairly limits the public’s knowledge of dangerous products.
As Mr. Weisbrod states: "When wrongdoers settle cases involving their irresponsible conduct, they often force injured consumers to agree not to reveal any of the details of the case — even if the product remains on the market and the information could warn the public of a potential health hazard. In fact, manufacturers of faulty products regularly insist that any and all information turned over to injured consumers and their attorneys be kept secret."
However, it appears that help is on the way. State and federal court systems in 41 states have taken steps to limit court secrecy. In Congress, legislation introduced last month called the Sunshine in Litigation Act, S. 537, H.R. 1508, is an important step in helping reform the broken system of court-enforced secrecy. Federal judges would have the tools needed to evaluate whether secrecy agreements cross the line when public safety information is involve.