December 12, 2022
Media contact: National Consumers League – Katie Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-823-8442
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of National Consumers League testified on December 8, 2022 support of a bill before the District of Columbia City Council entitled “The Sunshine in Litigation Act”. The bill is before the COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY & PUBLIC SAFETY NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING. The link here is here for the Virtual Hearing via Zoom To Watch Live: https://www.facebook.com/CMcharlesallen/.
Councilmember and Chairperson Charles Allen’s notice of the hearing explains that the stated purpose of Bill 24-0933, the “Sunshine in Litigation Act of 2022”, is to prohibit confidentiality agreements and protective orders in civil actions involving defective products or environmental conditions that are likely to cause significant harm, and to allow members of the public to challenge agreements and orders that violate the act.
There’s never been a federal bill to prevent secret settlements, despite many years of efforts in Congress, but if DC passes the Sunshine In Litigation Act, the District will join a number of other states that have adopted some form of the SILA bill. As the bill’s main sponsor, Councilmember Cheh, noted in her letter submitting the proposed D.C. Sunshine in Litigation Act of 2022, individuals and governments began filing cases many years ago charging opioid manufacturers with intentionally misleading doctors about the dangers of prescription opioids.
However, because judges in these cases agreed to the parties’ request to require that the court records remain under seal, the clear evidence of the manufacturers’ wrongdoing and of the dangers of opioids uncovered by the plaintiff parties was kept from the public, causing great harm. NCL’s testimony discusses the hidden settlements in many types of cases, including opioids, children’s playground equipment, heart valves, poor designed porches on homes, defective tires, and inter uterine contraceptive devices, which has meant thousands of injuries and deaths to innocent consumers who had no knowledge about the danger of these products.
NCL applauds Councilmember Allen and members of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee of the DC City Council for holding a hearing on the Sunshine in Litigation Act and urges the full Council to quickly adopt this pro consumer and pro safety legislation to protect the citizens of the District of Columbia.
About the National Consumers League (NCL)
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit https://nclnet.org.