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May 18, 2018 by |

Confidential Settlements

Confidentiality provisions in litigation settlements are not desirable.  Our litigation attorneys oppose them and at a minimum ensure they are as narrowly drawn as possible. Individuals or companies accused of wrongdoing ask for confidentiality provisions in an effort to protect their reputations. Fortunately, by statute, California disfavors these confidentiality provisions in elder abuse case settlements.

Confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements raise a number of serious problems.  Perhaps the most serious is that other consumers do not find out about issues that could affect their health or well-being because problems are hidden behind confidentiality clauses pushed by wrongdoers who want to settle but avoid public knowledge of their wrongdoing.

This can be an especially big problem in circumstances where vulnerable people, such as the elderly, are being harmed by nursing homes or by caregivers from home health agencies, and the information doesn’t become public so other seniors can be warned. Because it’s important that elder abuse not be kept confidential, the state of California has laws in place that disfavor confidential settlement agreements in elder abuse cases.

Evans Law Firm provides representation to seniors who were victimized by elder abuse, as well as family members of victims injured or killed due to nursing home neglect or caretaker abuse. If you or someone you love was hurt, our California elder abuse attorney will work to help you get a settlement that is fair and provides the full compensation you deserve or pursue a case in court if no settlement agreement can be reached.

Understanding the Law Related to Confidential Settlements in Elder Abuse Cases

The statute addressing confidential settlements in elder abuse cases is found in California Code of Civil Procedure CCP § 2017.310. The relevant statute states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it is the policy of the State of California that confidential settlement agreements are disfavored in any civil action the factual foundation for which establishes a cause of action for a violation of the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act.”

The statute goes on to indicate that “provisions of a confidential settlement agreement described in subdivision (a) may not be recognized or enforced by the court.” 

Essentially, this statute means that unless there is another superseding law, confidential settlement agreements that are entered into in cases arising out of elder abuse laws won’t be enforceable except in very limited situations when there are specific factors that necessitate enforcing the confidentiality agreement.

The statute lists the circumstances under which the court is likely to enforce agreements requiring confidentiality in cases where a victim sued due to elder abuse. These circumstances include:

  • When the information is privileged under existing laws,
  • When the information that is being kept confidential does not relate to elder abuse or the abuse of a dependent adult, or
  • When the party seeking the confidentiality agreement demonstrates a substantial probability that prejudice will result if the information is disclosed.

California elder abuse attorney Ingrid Evans at Evans Law Firm can help you pursue all remedies for elder abuse and if a settlement is reached ensure that it complies with California law. Contact Evans Law Firm online or call 415-441-8669 for a free initial consultation today.

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