In one of the many cases concerning failed structured finance vehicles, certain defendants moved to compel the production of a settlement agreement with other defendants, in part because the settlement amount would, under NY Gen. Oblig. L. 15-108, offset their liability. In an opinion today, Judge Scheindlin denied the request, at least for now, because (among other reasons) the offset computation could be computed after trial:
While defendants must assert a section 15-108 defense now, they do not need to know the settlement amount in order to do so. While fault apportionment certainly will be an issue at trial, the amount for which defendants settled is not probative of fault. In fact, fault apportionment is an issue that should not be affected by knowledge of the amounts that the settling defendants agreed to pay. Only after the jury has apportioned liability will the court compare the settling defendants’ equitable shares with the settlement amount and determine which should be used as a set-off against the damage award.
Judge Scheindlin also reviewed the agreement in camera and determined it was not relevant to the issue of witness bias.