Opposing counsel leaks details of a confidential settlement
Our law firm client's co-counsel had been contacted by a reporter at one of the most influential newspapers in the nation. The reporter had learned about a confidential multi-million dollar settlement won by our client and co-counsel. The newspaper was planning to run a report in the next day's editions.
Through no fault of its reporter, the newspaper was close to printing a story that misrepresented the resolution of the legal dispute. Our client's litigation opponents leaked post-settlement internal memos that diverted attention from the true cause and resolution of the litigation.
Despite understandable outrage, our client's co-counsel was inclined to decline to comment to the reporter's inquiries. Bound by the confidentiality provision in the settlement agreement, the co-counsel also was concerned about his relative inexperience in giving news interviews.
Reacting quickly, our law firm client organized a series of conference calls intended to find a way to get an accurate report in the paper but still abide by the settlement agreement.
We soon learned that the motive in misrepresenting the settlement was concern that the settlement, while financially insignificant to the settling organization, would reveal possible breaches of fiduciary duty and fraud, thus endangering much larger financial commitments unrelated to the resolved litigation.
Within a few hours of the reporter's first call, our client and co-counsel presented publicly available information that refuted the misleading information initially provided to them. The reporters quickly realized what had occurred and updated their developing report accordingly.
When a million readers saw the Saturday morning paper, the newspaper report was accurate and our law firm clients had done their clients an unexpected but very appreciated service.