Schwartz View on Federal Legislative Proposal Appears in USA Today

Shook, Hardy & Bacon Public Policy Partner Victor Schwartz has authored an opinion, published in the June 23, 2014, issue of USA Today, on a bill currently pending before Congress. Called the “Sunshine in Litigation Act,” the proposal would, in Schwartz’s view “strip away the ability of litigants to use sealed settlements and protective orders based on a belief that they allow corporations to hide deep dark secrets about public safety.” According to Schwartz, federal agencies have the authority to obtain safety information from corporations and courts have the discretion to grant or deny requests to seal settlements or issue protective orders. He states that the proposed bill “would take away judges’ discretion when matters of privacy and public safety are at issue,” and he notes that a Federal Judicial Center study “showed no evidence that protective orders and sealed settlements created a problem of concealing information about public health.” The newspaper’s editorial board penned an opposing view which claims that keeping these matters secret has harmed people when product defects remain unaddressed and shrouded in secrecy for years. To read Schwartz’s op-ed, please click here.