Confidentiality clauses are frequently applied in disputes between physicians and hospital medical staff. These disputes may arise over issues such as denials of applications for privileges or suspensions of a physician’s medical staff privileges. Resolving these issues between physicians and hospital medical executives with an agreement settlement is often seen as a reasonable alternative to a potentially complicated and antagonistic hearing process.
Confidentiality clauses are also used in legal settlement agreements. Confidentiality allows defendants to avoid bad publicity and reduces the potential for a defendant to be unfairly targeted for future lawsuits. Oftentimes, defendants can use monetary leverage to get plaintiffs to agree to confidential settlements; many plaintiffs have no interest in publicizing in the first place. Confidentiality clauses come in several forms, and carry real consequences for violators.
Some less-restrictive agreements simply stop the plaintiff from disclosing monetary terms of the settlement with the news media. These can range to more restrictive agreements, which stop the plaintiff from revealing facts of the complaint to anyone. This means that the plaintiff cannot disclose any facts, documents, theories, reports or terms of the settlement to anyone at all.
Confidentiality Benefits Both Sides
There are a multitude of reasons that defendants would desire confidentiality of settlements. One concern is that a successful suit can lead to further unnecessary litigation. If a large settlement is publicized, “copycat” lawsuits may ensue, wasting the defendant’s money and time. Additionally, the payout amount is a high priority for confidentiality. Plaintiffs pursuing litigation in similar situations may form unrealistic expectations of what their own suit is worth, possibly jeopardizing their case.
Plaintiffs also benefit greatly from confidentiality clauses, especially from a financial standpoint. A confidentiality clause often adds value to a settlement. However, if a clause is not agreed upon, a defendant may resort to vigorous defense. This raises costs for both sides of the issue and potentially leads to a smaller award for the plaintiff. Ultimately, there are non-monetary reasons for a plaintiff to desire confidentiality as well. It allows plaintiffs to keep personal details on their side of the case under wraps, particularly if a case involves a personal medical condition, damage to reputation or a particularly embarrassing situation.
Philadelphia Health Care Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. Represent Physicians and Health Care Professionals
If you are a health care professional in need of legal counsel, the Philadelphia health care lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. are prepared to help you. From our offices in Philadelphia, we represent clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Call 215-569-1999 or contact us online to arrange a consultation.