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Monday, December 29, 2003

Settlement in NHL Fan Death Still Sealed: Via How Appealing, the Dayton Daily News had a story yesterday on the attempt to keep sealed the settlement amount paid to the family of Brittanie N. Cecil, the 13-year old girl who was killed by a hockey puck at a Columbus Blue Jackets game in March of 2002. Neither the Cecil family, nor the NHL, Blue Jackets and Nationwide Arena, who reached the agreement, want the terms disclosed. The challenge is coming from a Columbus television station, which is claiming the agreement is a public record protected by the 1st Amendment.

Whereas the previous attorney for the probate judge who approved the settlement argued that "the family's privacy interest . . . outweighed the public's limited right of access to the court's records," the judge's new counsel has argued that the settlement was never a matter of public record, and thus cannot be released. The judge sealed the record in June to prevent further media frenzy, but the attorneys for the media groups have argued that the family has gone to the media when it has proven beneficial for their own cause.


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