The advent of the "litigation explosion" has caused the legal community to adopt an alternative dispute-resolving policy of encouraging settlement negotiations. The Federal Rules of Evidence reflect this policy by expressly making evidence of settlement negotiations inadmissible at trial in an attempt to encourage frank discussion during settlement negotiations., In Bank of America National Trust & Savings Association v. Hotel Rittenhouse Associates,3 a majority decision by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit dealt this policy a crippling blow. The court held that the long-standing common law right of access to judicial records overcame this policy of encouraging settlements.' This casenote discusses the origin of the common law right, the emergence of the public policy in favor of encouraging settlements, and the conflict between the two as evidenced by the majority and dissenting opinions in Hotel Rittenhouse



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