In the NFL concussion litigation, the federal judge overseeing the case has now ordered release of supporting financial calculations for the preliminarily approved class action settlement. The order follows motions for access by players and media.

Contrast that disclosure order against the approach in asbestos litigation. Asbestos bankruptcies are de facto class action proceedings. Nonetheless, bankruptcy judges routinely approve stipulations to hide financial information, and parties on all sides are involved in sealing up the data. The recent Garlock trial sealing order is the poster child example of sealing run amuck. Meanwhile, the same thing happens in the underlying asbestos litigation – settlement information is hidden, and so judges and lawyers operate on a combination of myths, facts, and rumors.

Will mass tort litigation ever become fully transparent?