ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Continuing Impact of Confidentiality Provisions

Confidentiality provisions are everywhere these days, especially in all of those arbitrations most contracts now require. I've blogged about them in connection with Donald Trump, and now they are playing a starring role in the very messy divorce between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, in which Depp is allegedly refusing to provide Heard's divorce settlement because he alleges she breached their agreement's confidentiality provision when she spoke out publicly against domestic violence. 

It's unclear to me what the wording of the confidentiality provision was and whether Heard's behavior really did violate it. What is clear to me is that the confidentiality provision is being used to prevent communications of encouragement and support to people who are victims of domestic violence. There is a dual tragedy here: Not only are words of encouragement being muffled, but victims of domestic violence are now receiving the message that those words of encouragement could lead to punishing consequences. 

Confidentiality provisions can make sense, and there are definitely situations where they are vital to a deal getting done. But there are also situations where they seem to be operating against public policy. 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/contractsprof_blog/2016/12/the-continuing-impact-of-confidentiality-provisions.html

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Comments

Heard is an adult and knowingly signed the agreement. It would be inappropriate for her to breach her promise ( if she has done so) and still get paid the extra amounts she got for her promise to remain silent. If the agreement violates public policy, void it and let her negotiate a new one. Sounds like that's what Depp wants, as well.

Posted by: Frank Snyder | Dec 19, 2016 11:38:38 PM

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