Alert: Oppose SB-153, Anti-Protective Orders Legislation
Mar 14, 2012

We are encouraging you to take action now to oppose SB-153, an anti-protective orders bill in Colorado. The Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee may soon schedule a hearing on this bill and the full Senate may vote soon thereafter.

Take Action Now – Oppose SB-153,
Anti-Protective Orders Legislation
 
ACTION REQUEST:
We are encouraging you to take action now to oppose SB-153, an anti-protective orders bill in Colorado. The Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee may soon schedule a hearing on this bill and the full Senate may vote soon thereafter. No companion bill yet exists in the House. LCJ Members should strongly oppose SB-153 notwithstanding amendments that might be offered by proponents to make it more acceptable to a broader group of legislators. It is still very dangerous legislation. Please contact Senate Judiciary Member Angela Giron and urge her to oppose SB-153. Please also contact Senators Newell, Heath, Jahn, Tochtrop, Johnston and Williams and urge them to oppose the bill as well.Contact information, talking points, and additional resources are listed toward the bottom of this message. Please also see the attached Fact Sheet from the Colorado Civil Justice League, which clearly explains the dangers of the bill. This legislation will be discussed in further detail at LCJ’s May 3-4 Membership Meeting in Washington, DC.
 
BACKGROUND:
LCJ remains actively opposed to legislation that restricts the discretion of judges to issue protective orders and seal settlement agreements. Passage of SB-153 will be particularly detrimental to Colorado, a state that has been losing manufacturing jobs for decades, because the bill will allow a judge to declare a product a source of injury before a jury even has a chance to consider the matter.
 
TALKING POINTS:
 
THERE IS NO NEED TO PASS SB-153
·         This bill would limit the effectiveness of confidentiality agreements. Efforts to pass such legislation in other states have repeatedly failed because it is unnecessary, costly, unwise, and contrary to the public interest.
 
PROTECTIVE ORDERS ARE ESSENTIAL TO PROTECT PRIVACY AND PROPERTY
·         Many civil cases use protective and sealing orders to keep discovery materials exchanged in civil litigation confidential between the parties, and use confidential settlement agreements to keep information disclosed during a case confidential after disposition as often required by law. The U.S. Supreme Court and the Federal Rules recognize that protective orders are appropriate in many cases, and that there is no public right of public access to such materials.
 
INTENSE REGULATORY OVERSIGHT ADEQUATELY PROTECTS PUBLIC SAFETY
·         One of the reasons why so many observers have concluded that there is no compelling need to restrict the issuance of confidentiality orders is the many layers of regulation under which businesses operate. Layers and layers of state and federal agencies already regulate numerous industries and have the right to demand any documents purportedly related to a health or safety issue — assuming the defendant was not already under an obligation to affirmatively provide the material to the regulator.
 
PROTECTIVE AND SEALING ORDERS LUBRICATE THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE
·         They allow litigants to respond to extraordinarily broad discovery requests by ensuring the confidentiality of valuable information produced in discovery. Placing severe restrictions on the availability of protective and sealing orders will deprive litigants of the privacy and property rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution. Fear that intensely personal information cannot be kept confidential in litigation would have a chilling effect, not only on discovery and settlements, but on the commencement and defense of claims. And, it would have serious adverse consequences for our entire civil litigation system by burdening and delaying the disposition of cases.
 
CONTACT A KEY MEMBER OF THE COLORADO SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE
 
Senator Angela Giron
 
CONTACT COLORADO STATE SENATORS
 
Senator Linda Newell
303-866-4846
 
Senator Rollie Heath
303-866-4872 
 
Senator Cheri Jahn
303-866-4856
 
Senator Lois Tochtrop
303-866-4863
lotochtrop@aol.com
 
Senator Michael Johnston
 
Senator Suzanne Williams
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Jeff Weist
Colorado Civil Justice League
 
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