In federal courts, confidential settlement agreements are protected from disclosure through the adoption of a protection order in the event of a good cause. Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1212 (9th Cir. 2002) (« Phillips »). The right reason is not defined, but left to the discretion of the court of justice. Id. at 1211. However, unlike the Hinshaw Standard, the burden of protection rests with the party seeking protection to demonstrate that there is « specific harm or harm in the absence of a protection order ». Id.
at 1210-11. As with any discovery dispute, florida`s Rules of Civil Procedure and, more broadly, Florida`s judges expect opposing attorneys to try to resolve disputes between themselves whenever possible. 17 17 fla. R. Civ. P. 1.380 (a) (2). If the outcome of a court`s eventual review is clear, lawyers should not waste their time or time and resources and get their own agreement. But the lawyer`s ethical duties to his client mean that if there is an argument that can be made in good faith, it should be presented. As the Jarvis court said, « Florida law is clear: a settlement agreement can be obtained through a series of email exchanges. » Id. at 5.
Unless Florida`s statue of fraud applies (and often does not), executing a monumental agreement is a « mere formality. » Other jurisdictions also assert that email exchanges can constitute enforceable settlement agreements. See z.B. Forcelli vs. Gelco Corp. The good news is that the matter is settled and the settlement agreement is confidential. An example of the other extreme, the disclosure of confidential transaction terms, comes from Texas. The Re Continental Insurance Company is 994 S.W.2d 423 (Tex). App. 1999) on a coverage dispute in which the policyholder agreed with some of its insurers. A non-axaire autoinsurer required full disclosure of all terms of the settlement agreements between the parties to the resolution.
The deductible wanted to know if the policyholder had been made entirely by the payments of the invoiced insurers. In refining the disclosure of the confidential settlement agreement, the Tribunal found that « individuals cannot protect relevant information from discovery by confidentiality clauses contained in contracts, including transaction agreements. The private agreement between two persons has no effect on the rules of investigation. The thoughtful approach sometimes makes it possible to discover the agreement. For example, the limited discovery of billing amounts was permitted in the case of New York v. Solvent Chemical Co., 214 F.R.D. 106 (W.D.N.Y. 2003). There, an unsecuted defendant/third party attempted to take up the testimony of a third-party defendant still active in the case. The party that sought the discovery tried to study the nature and extent of the transaction negotiations. The Tribunal decided that the amount of the transactions was indeed relevant and made it possible to examine this issue. However, nothing else about the settlement agreement or the negotiations that led to it were not discovered, as they were not relevant to the case and penetrated into solicitors` privilege and the work product doctrine. Thus, when a number of emails between the attorney (or the parties to the lawsuit themselves) show the offer, acceptance, consideration, and a mutual meeting of minds on all essential terms, Florida courts generally find such an exchange to constitute « a complete, binding, and enforceable settlement agreement. » See Rolfase International.
The concern is that when an order or agreement is entered with reference to a given request for investigation, anything that is subsequently requested that could be confidential would require a separate agreement or a written amendment to the existing agreement. . . .