Evidence

Judge OKs release of portions of Bill Cosby settlement files to plaintiffs in new suit

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Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby. Image from Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com.

A former Temple University employee agreed to keep confidential the terms of a 2006 settlement with Bill Cosby of a lawsuit that alleged that the comedian sexually assaulted her.

However, that pact shouldn’t prevent seven plaintiffs in new Massachusetts litigation against the entertainer from seeing some relevant information in a file kept by the woman’s lawyer, a federal judge in Philadelphia ruled Monday.

“The public reaps no benefit by allowing settlement agreements to suppress evidence,” said U.S. District Judge Anita Brody. She denied a motion to quash a subpoena seeking material from the file of attorney Dolores Troiani, but said the amount of the 2006 settlement and attorney-client communications will remain confidential, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Variety.

Troiani, who represented the plaintiff in the 2005 case, did not object to a subpoena by the seven women. But Cosby’s lawyers did, arguing that no “compelling justification” supported disclosure.

The seven plaintiffs are battling Cosby in dueling defamation cases in federal court in Worcester, Massachusetts. The women say Cosby defamed them by claiming they lied when they accused him of long-ago sexual assault; he says in a counterclaim that he is the victim of their lies.

In upholding the subpoena, Brody also rejected an argument by Cosby’s lawyers that it will hurt him in an ongoing Pennsylvania criminal case in Montgomery County concerning the same alleged victim as the woman in the 2005 lawsuit.

“Cosby will not face undue burden in his criminal case if Troiani produces her file,” the judge wrote.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Retired lawyer sues Bill Cosby, says claims she lied about alleged sexual assault were defamatory”

ABAJournal.com: “Bill Cosby files defamation countersuit against seven women who accused him of defamation”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Charges against Bill Cosby ‘scraped in under the wire’ “

ABAJournal.com: “Judge OKs criminal case against Bill Cosby, rejects immunity argument”

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