Today, Judge Tennille issued a very short order in Azalea Garden Board & Care, Inc. v. Vanhoy, granting a defendant’s Motion to Compel production of a settlement agreement entered into between the plaintiff and another defendant.
I’m mentioning the case only because this is an issue that recurs with some frequency. There’s often a non-party which might have been a defendant but for a pre-litigation settlement, or a co-defendant, like in Azalea Garden, who settles during the course of the litigation. It seems pretty clear that the terms of such a settlement are discoverable, even if a confidentiality provision is included.
The Order was limited to the discoverability of the agreement, and expressly states that it was not a ruling on the admissibility of evidence.
There was a more detailed opinion, by Judge Diaz, on the discoverability of settlement agreements in Media Network, Inc. v. Mullen Advertising, Inc., 2006 NCBC 6 (N.C. Super. Ct. April 21, 2006).