| HBS Case Collection
(Revised September 2004)
Confidentiality in Settlement Negotiations: Ethics & Law
Legal policy has a long history of protecting confidentiality of negotiations that are designed to produce settlement. However, within the past several decades there has been a significant push toward openness. Compelling arguments support confidentiality: It helps promote candid discussion when sensitive material is involved and may make settlements possible. On the other hand, ethical concern where public health and safety are involved has prompted some states to pass laws requiring the disclosure of settlement agreements or to revise their procedures governing confidentiality of discovery, protective orders, and sealing of litigation records. This case summarizes the legal and ethical debate. It identifies the major issues surrounding confidentiality in settlement negotiations and illustrates them with several examples.
Lawsuits and Litigation;
Attorney and Client Relationships;