Secret settlements

Delaware chief judge says courts will again consider arbitration program, defends old system

Bradleigh Chance | Secret Courts | News | June 20, 2014
June 20, 2014

Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine announced in his State of the Judiciary Address this month that the court is “working on a different approach” to an arbitration program that will replace its rejected predecessor.

The initial program failed in 2011 after a federal district court declared it unconstitutional, saying it infringed upon the public’s First Amendment right to access court proceedings. Strine did not provide many details about the proposal, but some experts are worried that the plan could attempt to unreasonably restrict access again. The new program should be up for approval from Delaware’s General Assembly by January 2015, Strine said.

Reporters Committee lauds federal court's ruling that secret Del. court arbitration is unconstitutional

Press Release | August 30, 2012
August 30, 2012
Reporters Committee lauds federal court's ruling that secret Del. court arbitration is unconstitutional

A federal judge in Delaware stood up for the right to be informed about important disputes that may affect public health and safety Thursday when she declared unconstitutional state court rules that allow blanket confidentiality in private arbitration proceedings and records.

Judge denies request to make gas drilling settlement public

Rachel Bunn | Secret Courts | Feature | February 8, 2012
February 8, 2012

A Pennsylvania judge denied a request by two Pittsburgh-area newspapers to make public documents relating to a settlement between several gas drilling corporations and a local family, stating that the newspapers failed to petition before the documents were sealed.

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

January 20, 2012

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.

Judge seals briefs, pulls opinions in Amtrak case

Rory Eastburg | Secret Courts | Quicklink | August 19, 2009
August 19, 2009

A federal judge in Pennsylvania directed Lexis and Westlaw to remove eight opinions from their database as part of a confidential settlement, The Legal Intelligencer reports. Related court documents were also sealed, though one of the defendants, Amtrak, is owned by the federal government.

Connecticut court unseals priest abuse documents

Jonathan Jones | Secret Courts | Feature | June 1, 2009
June 1, 2009

In a ruling due to be formally published this week, the Connecticut Supreme Court has found that documents filed in more than two dozen civil lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport should be unsealed.

Det. newspapers want mayor to testify in FOIA case

Kathleen Cullinan | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | August 18, 2008
August 18, 2008

Last month saw Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick trying to force Free Press and Detroit News reporters to testify in the newspapers' Freedom of Information lawsuit against him. 

Ariz. appeals court bolsters state shield law

Amy Harder | Reporter's Privilege | Feature | March 27, 2008
March 27, 2008

A Phoenix TV station didn’t waive its right under the state shield law and doesn’t have to reveal the source of sealed documents it used for a story on a tire safety lawsuit, according to an opinion released Tuesday by the Arizona Court of Appeals.

A divided three-judge panel rejected Cooper Tire and Rubber Co.’s argument that KNVX-TV waived its reporter’s privilege by asking a lower court for a declaratory judgment and by describing the source as a whistleblower.

Detroit mayor loses final appeal to keep text messages secret

Scott Albright | Freedom of Information | Reaction | February 27, 2008
February 27, 2008

Documents related to a secret settlement agreement between Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and former city police officers were released this morning after the city's last ditch effort to maintain the documents' secrecy was rejected by the Michigan Supreme Court.

Reporters Committee asks No. Dak. Supreme Court to open court records

Lucy Dalglish | Secret Courts | Quicklink | November 21, 2007
November 21, 2007

In a friend-of-the-court brief to the North Dakota Supreme Court, the Reporters Committee this week urged the court to issue a directive requiring lower courts in the state to follow specific procedures set forth in the law before sealing records.