Federal court: Settlement agreement between restaurant chain and employees open to public

Even though both parties agreed to seal the court records on the case, the federal district trial court judge ruled that a settlement agreement between the a restaurant chain and a group of employees over alleged violations of federal employment law must be open to the public.

The judge said, “Few principles have as long a pedigree and are as well-settled as the public’s right of access to court proceedings and judicial documents. With strong roots in the common law and the First Amendment, this principle is central to the legitimacy and independence of the judiciary. . . . While this right is not absolute, courts have uniformly emphasized that sealing should be the relatively rare exception, not the common practice.” -db

From The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, August 1, 2011, by Emily Peterson.

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