Debate and Issues Index

draft settlement

Document disclosure c/o Essential Information



Under the multistate agreement summary, documents which have been discovered in state suits and are under protective order -- but for which the industry has not claimed privileges -- will be released. The industry must publish released documents on its website.

Questions and Concerns:

The settlement would permit states to continue to litigate for disclosure of documents for which the industry has claimed privileges, including attorney-client privilege, work-product doctrine and trade secret protections. But the states are not likely to be aggressive in litigating these matters after they have settled the cases, and they are given only 45 days to apply for disclosure.

  • Why doesn't the industry agree to release these documents as part of the settlement? Why aren't private parties given standing and funding to challenge industry claims of privilege?
  • The industry will be required to provide a user-friendly index to documents. Will this be the 4A index -- the one the companies use, and which the Minnesota settlement was supposed to make public. If not, why not?
  • Will the industry web site be searchable by text as well as through use of an index? Only that step would enable researchers to search on their own, without relying on industry filters.

For more information, contact: Robert Weissman, Essential Action, 202-387-8030.