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Court order questions confidentiality agreement

January 1, 2008
The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order to show cause today seeking to determine whether a trial court- approved confidentiality stipulation and order should be vacated in a case involving insurance coverage for bodily injury claims caused by exposure to silica.

The parties in Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al. v. United States Filter Corporation, et al., No. 49S02-0712-CV-596, asked the trial court to approve a confidentiality stipulation and order while the litigation was pending in Marion Superior Court in 2005. The trial court's Chronological Case Summary indicates it issued the confidentiality order without complying with Administrative Rule 9. That rule requires a public hearing before the court can grant a request to prohibit public access to information in court records.

Neither the stipulation nor the trial court's approval of it address the grounds that must exist if access is to be denied. As such, the Supreme Court ordered the parties to show cause as to why the trial court's 2005 order shouldn't be vacated and why the court documents can't be available for public inspection. The parties have until Sept. 19 to respond.
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