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No Gag Clauses In Civil Suit Settlements By State Licensees in 2013

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Beginning the first of the year, businesses licensed by the State of California will no longer be able to keep the contents of lawsuit settlements quiet.  

The California Department of Consumer Affairs oversees more than 250 professions in the state.  Most of them are medically related.  

State Senate Democrat  Jerry Hill says the long-held practice of including gag clauses in legal settlements kept the state from protecting consumers, "By denying the regulators the ability to exercise their disciplinary discretion, by not having that information, we allow that conduct to continue and potentially endanger future consumers."

Doctors and attorneys were already prohibited from having so-called gag clauses in lawsuit settlements.  The new law covers nurses, accountants, and cemetery employees among many others.  

The legislature had passed at least four bills preventing gag clauses in the past decade.  Three were vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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