Settlement confidentiality lawsuit dismissed - Albuquerque Journal

Settlement confidentiality lawsuit dismissed

A federal judge last week threw out a lawsuit filed by a woman wishing to discuss the public records settlement she reached the state.

The judge found that the law she was contesting, one that stops the disclosure of settlement documents for 180 days, did not prohibit her from discussing the contents of those documents. The judge also pointed out that the District Attorney’s Office had no plans to prosecute anyone for violations of the statute in question. He said the issue was moot.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday signed into law a proposal that does away with the confidentiality period and allows the immediate release of state settlements.

“We disagreed with the way the judge viewed the case, however we achieved our overall goal which was to put pressure on the state to get this law changed,” said Ken Stalter, the plaintiff’s attorney.

Months ago, the state settled a public records lawsuit with the plaintiff, Shani Madden, triggering the automatic confidentiality period. Her federal lawsuit was an attempt to have the law thrown out.

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