Human Exceptionalism

More Justice Less Secrecy

This site, and most of what I do, involves human exceptionalism, bioethics, and the like.  But I still care about areas about which I formerly focused.  And sometimes, I take metaphorical pen in hand.

Pervasive secrecy corrupts the societal purposes of our civil justice system. Today in the San Francisco Chronicle, bouncing off the Herman Cain brouhaha, I criticize the ubiquitous practice of confidential settlements to resolve civil disputes.  From my conclusion:

The time has come to draw open the curtains. Confidentiality:

– Allows dangerous products to remain on the market.

– Protects the reputations of those who engage in systemic wrongdoing.

– Makes it easier for the unscrupulous to profit from bogus claims and defenses.

– Inreases the cost of insurance.

– Adds to congestion in the courts.

– Most ironically, secret settlements push the plaintiff and the defense, who should be legal adversaries, into a form of private collusion for which the rest of society pays.

Civil justice secrecy is a very important problem that receives far too little attention.  Now, back to our usual fare.


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