Should You Sign Confidentiality and Non-Disparagement Agreements?
When you settle a consumer case, regardless of whether the case involves a foreclosure, debt collection, or a credit problem, in almost every case, the other side (the bank, credit card, business or lender) will almost always want you to sign a confidentiality agreement as a condition to settling a case. Consumers should think about these clauses before signing them and understand how these clauses may affect them.
What are Confidentiality Clauses?
As the name implies, confidentiality clauses require that you keep everything related to the case, including the facts of the case, completely and totally confidential.
Some people think that these clauses only prohibit them from putting anything on the internet or social media, or prevent them from going to the media with the facts about their case. While this is true, confidentiality agreements go further than that. They apply to what you say to your friends and close relatives. You are literally prohibited from speaking with your wife, husband, son, or parents, about the case.
Depending on the wording of the confidentiality agreement, you may not only be restricted from speaking about how much you received as a settlement, or the conditions of the settlement, but you may also be prohibited from even discussing any fact that made up the lawsuit or claim in the first place.
You may have no intention of broadcasting your settlement to the public, and you may trust that your spouse won’t do it either. However, you never know. One accident or one slip up can lead to you breaching the confidentiality agreement.
Sometimes, the other side will want you to sign what are known as non-disparagement agreements. These agreements not only will require you keep the facts and result of your settlement confidential, but will also require that you refrain from saying anything negative about the defendant, at all, in any public or private forum.
This is a highly restrictive provision, which impacts your ability to speak freely about a company. Want to tell someone that Bank of America is “dishonest?” Want to mention how Midland Credit ruthlessly calls people? Want to talk about your personal opinion of the other party in the lawsuit? You are prohibited from doing any of that if you sign a non-disparagement agreement. These agreements are exactly as they sound—restrictions on your right to speak your mind, or give your opinion, even if you never disclose the actual facts of your case or your settlement.
Get Advice Before Signing
It can be tempting just to accept confidentiality agreements and nondisparagement agreements, especially if you are offered a settlement that you like and want to accept. However, speak with your attorney about how the terms of your settlement agreement may affect you. And remember that if you win in a trial, a court will almost never require that you keep the facts or result of your case secret.
Get help with your foreclosure, debt collection, or consumer credit problems. Contact the Miami consumer rights attorneys at Jacobs Legal today.