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John AmabileJohn Amabile ()

I first remember being aware of Bill Cosby as the voice of Fat Albert, a cartoon which often tried to hide a lesson in part of my Saturday morning television. It never occurred to me, then or now, that America’s favorite TV dad would provide an important lesson in my professional life. Unwittingly, however, he has done just that.

Thanks to Mr. Cosby’s recent public issues, I have learned, and every lawyer should contemplate, that additional measures may be required to protect certain information upon settling a dispute. Specifically, merely including a confidentiality provision in your settlement agreement may not be sufficient to prevent the public disclosure of deposition testimony given in that lawsuit.

Where Cosby’s case got particularly interesting to me as an attorney was in the pages of The New York Times. On July 18, 2015, the Times published an article setting forth, in some detail, the contents of a deposition Cosby gave 10 years ago.1 The Times “obtained the document from the court-reporting service” that transcribed the deposition.2 The Times also referred to the document as “publicly available.”3

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