United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
April 16, 2004.
KEYSTONE QUALITY TRANSPORT
The opinion of the court was delivered by: STEWART DALZELL, District Judge
AND NOW, this 16th day of April, 2004, upon consideration of third
party Walter Strine, Jr.'s motion to quash or modify subpoena (docket
entry # 48) and plaintiff Joanne Barbine's response thereto, and the
Court finding that:
(a) Barbine has served a subpoena upon Strine's counsel, Nancy C.
DeMis, Esq., for the production of her case files for Draper v.
Strine, Civ. No. 96-7712 (E.D. Pa.) (Newcomer, J.), a gender
discrimination case brought by a former employee of Keystone Care
Corporation*fn1 several years before Barbine began working for the
defendant in this action;
(b) Draper ended in a settlement agreement containing a
confidentiality clause, pursuant to which the parties apparently*fn2
agreed not to "communicate or disclose the terms of this Settlement
Agreement and General Release . . ., or their satisfaction or lack of
satisfaction with the terms of this Agreement", Def.'s Mem. at 5-6;
(c) Strine has now moved to quash the subpoena on the grounds that the
Draper file is outside the scope of permissible discovery in this action and would require the breach of the
Draper parties' confidentiality agreement;
(d) At the outset, we note that the confidentiality clause is limited
to the terms of the settlement agreement itself and does not govern such
materials as deposition transcripts;
(e) Given that non-privileged file materials are not governed by the
confidentiality clause, as well as the fact that production of these
materials will impose a negligible burden on Strine and conceivably could
lead to the discovery of admissible evidence*fn3, we conclude that the
subpoena is enforceable to this extent;
(f) As to the terms of the settlement agreement, we note that public
policy strongly favors the settlement of disputed claims, and
confidentiality agreements regarding settlements should not be set aside
absent a compelling justification, Flynn v. Portland Gen'l Elec.
Corp., 1989 WL 112802, at *2 (D. Or. Sept. 21, 1989);
(g) The terms of the Drapers' settlement with Strine have no bearing on
Barbine's claims, the decision-making structure at Keystone Quality
Transport, or Barbine's experiences as an employee there, and we therefore enforce the confidentiality
clause and modify the subpoena to exclude the settlement agreement;
It is hereby ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN
PART in accordance with the foregoing paragraphs.