Another Old “Friend” is Reincarnated: Prohibition on Confidential Settlements

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Feb. 25, 2005 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Proving that no bill is every really dead, one of the most important and harmful civil justice bills of the last decade is back. Assemblywoman Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) introduced AB 1700, sponsored by the Consumer Federation of California. It's another attempt to prohibit confidential settlements and protective orders in litigation.

The legislative findings cite the dangers of Firestone tires, General Motors gas tanks, and the drug Vioxx. The bill dramatically changes California law to state that evidence of a public danger obtained during a legal process is presumed to be public information even if it was not used in a court proceeding.

The bill allows trade secrets to be kept confidential, but only for a period of time determined by a court. This is extremely dangerous for all companies with intellectual property and valuable proprietary processes and product designs.

If history is any guide, it will be a long hard fight to stop this bill. CMTA urges all members to put AB 1700 on the top of their list. Look for more information here and in the Corporate Counsel committee of CMTA. Contact Matt Sutton at msutton@cmta.net for more information.
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