Why Secret Settlements of Injury Lawsuits Are Bad (for Everyone but the Defendant)

Patrick Malone & Associates P.C. | DC Injury Lawyers
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Confidentiality agreements at the end of injury lawsuits are commonplace, but often are bad for the injured person, and bad for the civil justice system, in ways that lawyers sometimes don't think through. When settling a case, we believe attorneys for the plaintiff need to make sure they don't bind their clients to overbroad and punitive secrecy clauses, especially when they might be helping to cover up a public safety hazard. Such hush agreements are often violations of the Lawyers' Rules for Professional Conduct, especially Rule See more +
Confidentiality agreements at the end of injury lawsuits are commonplace, but often are bad for the injured person, and bad for the civil justice system, in ways that lawyers sometimes don't think through. When settling a case, we believe attorneys for the plaintiff need to make sure they don't bind their clients to overbroad and punitive secrecy clauses, especially when they might be helping to cover up a public safety hazard. Such hush agreements are often violations of the Lawyers' Rules for Professional Conduct, especially Rule 3.4(f), which bars lawyers from trying to block a witness from testifying in another matter, and Rule 5.6(b), which bars agreements that restrict a lawyer's future practice (for example, an agreement not to sue a defendant in the future for another client, or to not use a particular piece of evidence).

See my article in Trial magazine in 2010 for citations and further analysis of the ethical issues, here: http://www.patrickmalonelaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/unethical_secret_settlements-trial-sept2010.pdf. See less -

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