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The California Supreme Court has decided that if a lawyer signs a settlement agreement approving “as to form and content”, that lawyer may be bound by that agreement’s confidentiality provisions. The case is Monster Energy Co. v. Schechter, 7 Cal. 5th 781 (2019).

In 2012, Wendy Crossland and Richard Fournier sued Monster Energy for products liability and wrongful death following the death of their 14-year-old daughter after she drank two of Monster’s energy drinks. Bruce L. Schechter and his law firm represented Crossland and Fournier. In 2015 the two parties entered into a confidential settlement agreement which stated that it was made “on behalf of the settling Parties, individually, as well as on the behalf of their, without limitation, respective beneficiaries, trustees, principals, attorneys. . . “ The agreement included a confidentiality clause which stated “the parties understand and acknowledge that all terms, conditions and details of this Settlement Agreement, including it’s existence, are to remain confidential. Plaintiffs and their counsel agree that they will keep completely confidential all of the terms and contents of this Settlement Agreement, and the negotiations leading thereto, and will not publicize or disclose the amounts, conditions, terms, or contents of this Settlement Agreement in any manner. . .” After this confidential wrongful death settlement was concluded, Schechter published information on the facts of the settlement, stating that he was barred from disclosing the exact amount settled for due to the fact that “Monster wanted the amount to be sealed.” He further publicized other cases that he had filed against the energy drink company.

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