Thursday, November 17, 2005
"The nation's courts are getting hit with a growing number of requests to seal divorce records, but not by squabbling couples. Divorce lawyers say corporations -- along with the rich and powerful -- are increasingly asking judges to seal the divorce records of top executives to protect trade secrets or crucial financial information from leaking out, or simply to avoid embarrassment.
Attorneys note that while the courts have long protected children in divorce cases by sealing records, they are now doing the same for companies, treating trade secrets, assets, stock values and executive salaries as valuable, sensitive information that needs special protection. And with state court records now available on the Internet in 30 states, fears of data theft or data leaks are at an all-time high among businesses.
"This has become an increasingly prevalent issue," said attorney James Feldman, head of the family law practice at Chicago's Jenner & Block, who in recent years has seen a notable increase in companies intervening in divorce cases. "This year alone I've represented several key executives in divorce cases where a protective order or a confidentiality agreement had to be obtained in order to prevent information from getting out." By Tresa Baldas, The National Law Journal Link to Article (last visited 11-16-05 NVS)