United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
ORDER ON THE PARTIES' AMENDED MOTIONS TO SEAL
CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION (DKTS. 184, 188,
MICHAEL L. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff's Amended Motion to Seal
Confidential Documents and Information (Dkt. 190)
(“Amended Motion”), Defendants' Response to
the Court Order Regarding Sealed Elements of Summary Judgment
Filings (Dkt. 184) (the “Response”), and
Defendants' related Motion to File an Unredacted Copy of
Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment Under Seal (Dkt. 188).
and Defendants each filed requests to seal certain
confidential business information filed in support of their
respective motions for summary judgment. (Dkts. 165, 173).
The Court denied those motions for failure to show good cause
and ordered the parties to amend the motions to delineate
what materials should remain under seal and what materials
may be filed in a redacted form on the public docket. (Dkt.
178). The Court has reviewed the amended requests and finds
that the parties have failed to provide sufficient clarity to
the Court in their amended submissions to permit the Court to
rule on the motions.
Court, confidentiality of proceedings is the exception, not
the rule. See Chicago Tribune Co. v.
Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., 263 F.3d 1304, 1311 (11th
Cir. 2001) (“The Common-law right of access to judicial
proceedings, an essential component of our system of justice,
is instrumental in securing the integrity of the
process.”); Newman v. Graddick, 696 F.2d 796,
803 (11th Cir. 1983) (“The historic presumption of
access to judicial records must be considered in the balance
of competing interests.”). The presumption of public
access is even stronger when the documents at issue are filed
in connection with pretrial motions that require judicial
resolution of the merits, like motions for summary judgment.
See Chicago Tribune Co., 263 F.3d at 1312, n.11
(listing cases granting access to documents submitted in
connection with motions for summary judgment).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26, courts may permit certain
material to be filed under seal only if the parties can show
that there is good cause to make the information unavailable
to the public. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c). Mere
agreement by the parties that certain documents should be
designated as confidential is insufficient on its own to show
that good cause exists. Chicago Tribune Co., 263
F.3d at 1313.
Amended Motion, Plaintiff refers to “separately filed
deposition transcripts” (Dkt. 190 at 2) and requests
that “the separate filings of deposition
transcripts” remain sealed. Id. at 3. But
Plaintiff then proceeds to offer only one argument for
sealing one transcript. Id. at 2 (citing the
“Maraman example”). This does not comply with the
Court's order to delineate “what material should
remain under seal and what portions of the documents can be
filed in redacted form.” Dkt. 178 at 4. A request to
seal the “deposition transcripts” without naming
the documents by title, citing to each specific docket entry
subject to the request, or stating the grounds for sealing
certain confidential material in each document does not show
good cause and does not provide sufficient guidance to the
Court. For any document, a portion of which the parties wish
to remain sealed, the parties should specifically state the
name or docket entry of that document and the proposed
grounds for sealing the specific portions of the document the
parties wish to remain sealed.
while the Court agrees that a party has an interest in
keeping certain information confidential, the Court does not
agree that entire transcripts should be sealed simply because
there exists good cause to seal or redact certain portions of
the transcript. The Court is not inclined to seal an entire
deposition transcript unless the parties can show good cause
for doing so. The parties, therefore, should identify the
specific portions of transcripts they wish to remain under
seal and the basis for that request.
Court understands that Plaintiff does not object to unsealing
its Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and accompanying
support and exhibits. Dkt. 190 at 1. Defendants agree that
there is no material in Plaintiff's Motion for Summary
Judgment that should remain sealed. Dkt. 184 at 2. The Court
is inclined to make these documents publicly available on the
docket, however, the Court DIRECTS the parties to specify the
documents and docket entries to which these positions apply.
the Court DENIES AS MOOT Plaintiff's Amended Motion to
Seal Confidential Documents and Information (Dkt. 190) and
Defendants' Motion to File an Unredacted Copy of
Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment Under Seal (Dkt. 188). Though not styled as
an amended motion per the Court order, the Court treats
Defendants' Response to the Court Order (Dkt. 184) as an
amended motion and DENIES AS MOOT that motion.
party is DIRECTED to re-file within ten (10) days a single,
second amended version of their motion to seal that
specifically identifies the THAT material should remain under
seal, including what portions of specific documents can be
filed in a redacted form on the public docket. The parties
are instructed to use specific document names and docket
entry numbers in the amended motions to provide clarity to