AN ACT TO LIMIT THE USE OF SECRECY ORDERS AND CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS IN CERTAIN CIVIL ACTIONS.
Enacts new GS Chapter 7C, Concealment of Public Hazards. Provides that in actions alleging personal injury, wrongful death, or monetary or property damages caused by a public hazard, no confidentiality agreement may be entered into or enforced unless a final protective order regarding that information is entered. Defines public hazard as a release or threatened release of any substance that poses a threat to public health or safety by presenting a present or future danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or emotional disability to persons other than parties to the confidentiality agreement exposed to such substance. Requires the court to find that a confidentiality agreement is in the public interest before entering into a final protective order. Allows an interested party to appeal the grant or denial of a final protective order to the court of appeals. Provides that nothing in the act is deemed to limit a court's authority or discretion to prohibit the enforcement of a part or all of any confidentiality agreement, settlement agreement, stipulated agreement, or protective order in other cases. Also provides that the statute does not prohibit or compel the disclosure of the monetary amount of the settlement agreement or the entry of an enforcement order of that part of a confidentiality agreement, settlement agreement, or stipulated agreement between the parties which requires the nondisclosure of the amount of money paid in settling the claim.
Effective October 1, 2015, and applies to court orders and private agreements entered into on or after that date.
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