HILLSBOROUGH, Calif. (KGO) -- A San Mateo County Superior Court judge announced his tentative decision Thursday against keeping the total amount of an out-of-court settlement in the wrongful death case against Hillsborough heiress Tiffany Li a secret.
In 2019, a jury found Li not guilty of killing Keith Green, the father of her two children. But the panel deadlocked on the guilt of her boyfriend Kaveh Bayat. He was freed from jail after the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office decided not to retry him.
Li was being sued for wrongful death by Green's mother, Colleen Cudd. Lawyers agreed last month to settle out of court. But they asked the amount going to Green and Li's seven and nine year old daughters be kept secret.
At a nearly hour-long hearing conducted over Zoom Thursday, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Danny Chou discussed his tentative ruling against sealing that amount. Judge Chou said the case law supported making the total settlement amount public. Both Li and Cudd's lawyers support sealing the settlement amount.
"Our firm and Tiffany Li's lawyers have agreed on literally nothing except for this," Cudd attorney Donald Magilligan told the judge. "We've agreed on the fact that keeping this dollar amount confidential is in the minors' best interest because of their ages. They are only nine and seven years old, because of the sensational allegations in this case, as well as the parallel criminal case, as well as all of the media attention that's been showered on these cases. And it's our obligation to look out for those minors' best interests. And I disagree that the media's interest in generating headlines overrides our obligation to protect the minor's interests"
Li attorney Jason Fellner agreed, telling Judge Chou, "The best interest of these children which we are all here to protect requires this court to seal this record. Every other document in this case is known to the public. It's worth noting your honor, these minor children, my clients' children don't even know that this case was ever filed."
It was already disclosed that Li agreed to pay out $100,000 to Cudd with an additional $50,000 to her son's estate to cover burial and other expenses but the expected much larger amount that would go to Green and Li's daughters was redacted from the public record.
Judge Chou said the lawyers would have the chance to submit more paperwork to support their arguments. He scheduled another hearing for April 21. He also noted that the lawyers would have a chance to take his decision to an appeals court before the settlement amount would be made public.