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Disclosure of Pierringer Agreement Ordered by Court

The decision in Singh et al v. Mann et al, 2021 ONSC 8249, addresses whether a Pierringer Agreement needs to be disclosed.

The non-settling defendants sought disclosure of a Pierringer Agreement redacted for quantum.  The plaintiffs and the settling defendants argued that the non-settling defendants are only entitled to disclosure of the essential terms of the Pierringer Agreement, excluding the amount paid, and that they are not entitled to production of the actual agreement.

Associate Justice Frank indicated that the non-settling defendants have an interest in knowing whether a Pierringer Agreement contains any potentially relevant terms, such as the preservation and use of evidence at trial, witness availability, and cooperation agreements.

Associate Justice Frank further noted that a Pierringer Agreement can caused a change in the dynamics of the action. It impacts and is potentially prejudicial to the non-settling defendants. As a result, the non-financial terms of the agreement should be disclosed.

The settling parties did not put forward any supportable basis for finding that disclosure of the non-financial terms would jeopardize the settlement or that maintaining privilege over such terms would discourage settlement.

Associate Justice Frank left open the possibility that, in certain circumstances, there may be terms in a Pierringer Agreement, in addition to the financial terms, that need and merit protection. However, in the case at bar, there was no evidentiary support for such protection.

As a result, Associate Justice Frank ordered disclosure of the Pierringer Agreement, with redactions for the settlement amounts and any dates of payment.