July 22,2020, Tamuning, Guam- The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) issued an Opinion finding that settlement agreements entered into by government of Guam agencies are public records that must be released after the matter has concluded. The OAG issued the Opinion in response to a request from Public Auditor Benjamin J.F. Cruz on whether Guam’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) required the Port Authority of Guam (PAG) to allow the inspection of settlement agreements in finally adjudicated cases.
The OAG rejected the argument that settlement agreements in finally adjudicated cases could be withheld because there was pending litigation in related matters. The OAG also found that settlement agreements in cases handled by the Civil Service Commission are also subject to public inspection, saying the law did not distinguish between settlement agreements entered into before the CSC or before the courts.
“Settlement agreements should not be entered in secret and then kept from the public,” said Attorney General Leevin Taitano Camacho. “Once a case has been finally resolved, the public has a right to know the details of the settlement terms.”