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Delaware Coalition for Open Government, Inc. v. The Delaware Court of Chancery et al.

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  1. Court Access

The Delaware Coalition for Open Government brought a lawsuit in federal court against the Delaware Chancery Court, its judges and the state challenging as facially unconstitutional Chancery Court rules that allow blanket confidentiality in private arbitration proceedings and records, including court-supervised settlement agreements. We argued that because the Chancery Court rules not only require the court to approve settlement agreements between private parties but actually authorize the court to assist in reaching them, documents filed in connection therewith are undoubtedly judicial records subject to a right of public access that is balanced against the interests of the parties involved. We also pointed out that courts must independently determine whether judicial records, including settlement agreements, should be sealed, notwithstanding the existence of court rules or private agreements requiring confidentiality. In fact, the strong public interest in access to information about important disputes that are resolved in the Chancery Court and may affect public health and safety often outweighs the parties’ privacy and proprietary interests, the brief argued.

Delaware Coalition for Open Government, Inc. v. The Delaware Court of Chancery et al.