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Court Secrecy

“Secrecy kills,” says our client Rich Barber. He would know. Rich’s son was killed by a gun that fired without the trigger being pulled. When Rich bought the gun years before, he knew nothing about the rifle’s defect because Remington had been able to seal the key court file about it.

Court secrecy in the form of sealing trial records is being used more and more by corporations to limit their liability and protect their public image. Even if it poses life-and-death dangers to consumers.

What Public Justice Is Doing

We are protecting your right to know about dangerous products that could injure or kill a loved one, and your right to an open and transparent court system.

For two decades, Public Justice has been exposing and preventing excessive secrecy in our nation’s courts. We have unsealed evidence of dangers to public health and safety, helped injury victims oppose over-broad protective orders, and educated the public about the dangers of litigation conducted behind closed doors.

Companies often cite “trade secrets” as rationale for sealing court records. In many instances, this rationale is used only to shield themselves from negative publicity.

In Aleksich v. Remington, we were able to help Rich Barber unseal long-hidden court records that held the truth about a trigger defect in Remington’s Model 700 rifle — the same rifle that had fired without the trigger being pulled and killed Rich’s nine-year-old son, Gus.

In Toe v. Cooper Tire, we challenged a company that didn’t want the public to know about one of its tire’s defects. The tire at issue had caused a devastating 2007 rollover accident that killed one passenger and left another permanently disabled; a pregnant woman in the vehicle miscarried. We intervened in this case and succeeded in unsealing the trial transcript.

Now, other attorneys representing victims of these defective products will have the resources they need to bring successful cases. More lawsuits will pressure negligent companies to finally recall unsafe products and make the necessary changes to save lives.