Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cosby Confidentiality

Last summer, The New York Times published an article referring to the full transcript of Bill Cosby's 2005 deposition in Constand v. Cosby. Andrea Constand sued Cosby for sexual assault and agreed to a confidential settlement in 2006. Portions of the deposition transcript were previously released by a U.S. District Judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, when referenced in an unsealed court document. Cosby's lawyers portrayed confidentiality as what induced them to make a settlement with his accuser in the first place. Court records can be sealed if there is good cause, which generally means the harm caused by making information available to the public is greater than its benefit. However, with the strong presumption in favor of public access to court documents, it is incumbent on parties and their attorneys to seek protection before filing confidential information in the court record. The federal judge denied motions from both sides over the release of the transcript from that decade-old deposition in the sexual-assault lawsuit against Cosby. Last week, decisions were issued denying Cosby's motion for leave to take discovery on how the transcript was released, as well as denying a motion for sanctions against Cosby's attorney for trying to take discovery. After the release of the full transcript, it reportedly became clear in court documents that a court reporting service provided the document to the press under the impression that it was a publicly available document. Cosby's lawyers alleged the release breached the confidentiality conditions of the settlement agreement. Interestingly, however, the presiding judge said such limitations were set forth in the settlement agreement, not in a court order and therefore, the court cannot conclude whether the disclosure would constitute a violation of of the parties' confidentiality agreement. See more in full story here--