Saturday, August 03, 2002

I think confidential settlements should be abolished. If the settlement stems from either a lawsuit or an allegation of criminal behavior, then the settlement agreement should put on the public record. Eg, suppose a Catholic bishop pays $1M to settle a claim that a priest sexually abused an altar boy. Either the claim is true, in which case the priest should face criminal trial, or the claim is false, in which case the payment is extortion and the bishop is the victim of a criminal shakedown. Either way, the confidentiality of the settlement only serves to further criminal interests. It either lets the priest abuse more kids or lets the blackmailer move on to more shakedowns.

There are physicians who have paid off dozens of claims in malpractice cases, but they still practice medicine and the public doesn't find out. The feds track data on such matters, but it is a felony to release the data to the public. The public should have the data.

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