ABA Journal investigates how undisclosed settlements to lawsuits and closed-door proceedings shut out public scrutiny. The article finds that this practice reduces accountability and eliminates precedents. The author points to several examples of sealed court files, some of which involving giant corporations and movie stars. The major example is about a reporter, Kristen Mitchell with the Wilmington, N.C., Morning Star, who was fined for obtaining a sealed file inadvertently handed her by a court clerk. The file contained information on a secret settlement of an environmental lawsuit between Conoco Inc. and residents of a mobile home park. The newspaper, also, was ordered to pay Conoco $500,000, the journal reports.
This file is not available for digital download. IRE members may place an order by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org