Hofstra University School of Law
For at least eight years before the public and government authorities learned of the apparently dangerous combination of Ford Explorer sport utility vehicles ("SUVs") and their Bridgestone/Firestone brand of tires, Firestone had been settling lawsuits involving injuries and deaths caused by their tires failing on Ford SUVs. These settlements included terms requiring the plaintiffs and their lawyers to keep quiet about the settlements and about information learned through discovery, including information that might have alerted the public or the government to just how unsafe the Explorer/Firestone combination actually was. In some cases, these secrecy provisions were reinforced by court protective orders issued upon joint application by both plaintiff and defendant.
Susan P. Koniak,
Are Agreements to Keep Secret Information in Discovery Legal, Illegal or Something in Between?
Hofstra Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/2129