United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
GARY P. MCGUIRE, Plaintiff,
ADEX CORPORATION, Defendant.
D. Whittemore United States District Judge
THE COURT is Plaintiffs Unopposed Motion to Seal Evidence in
Support of Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 43). Upon
consideration, the motion is DENIED without
courts have the inherent authority and discretion to seal
records. Nixon v. Warner Comma 'm, Inc., 435
U.S. 589, 598 (1978). Decisions on motions to seal must
balance the public's common law right of access against
the interests favoring confidentiality. Id. at 599.
The common law right of access is implicated by any pretrial
motion that requires judicial resolution of the merits,
including summary judgment motions, motions in limine, and
Daubert motions, and can be overcome only by a
showing of "good cause." Chicago Tribune Co. v.
Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., 263F.3d 1304, 1310-12 (11th
decision to seal is the trial court's prerogative, not
the parties'. Baxter Int'l, Inc. v. A
bbott Labs., 297 F.3d 544, 545 (7th Cir. 2002). The
parties' mutual agreement to keep documents confidential
or to seal materials is "immaterial" to a
court's decision regarding the public's right of
access. Brown v. Advantage Eng'g, 960 F.2d 1013,
1016 (11th Cir. 1992). The right to file a document under
seal does not automatically follow a confidentiality
designation during discovery. See Baxter, 297 F.3d
at 545 (denying renewed, joint motion to place documents
under seal, and stressing that parties must offer legal
justification for placing documents under seal, not merely
label documents as confidential); United Stales v.
Garrett, 571 F.2d 1323, 1326 n.3 (5th Cir. 1978) (common
law right of access cannot be overcome by "stereotyped
and conelusory statements").
"good cause" standard requires the trial court to
"balance the respective interests of the
parties."' Chicago Tribune, 263 F.3d at
1313. Whether good cause exists depends on the nature and
character of the information in question. Romero,
480 F.3d at 1246. In balancing the public interest in access
to court documents against a party's interest in keeping
the information confidential, courts consider
whether allowing access would impair court functions or harm
legitimate privacy interests, the degree of and likelihood of
injury if made public, the reliability of the information,
whether there will be an opportunity to respond to the
information, whether the information concerns public
officials or public concerns, and the availability of a less
onerous alternative to sealing the documents.
Romero, 480 F.3d at 1246.
Local Rules for the Middle District of Florida also prescribe
the contents of a motion to seal. The movant must include (i)
an identification and description of each item proposed for
sealing; (ii) the reason that filing each item is necessary;
(iii) the reason that sealing each item is necessary; (iv)
the reason that a means other than sealing is unavailable or
unsatisfactory to preserve the interest advanced by the
movant in support of the seal; (v) a statement of the
proposed duration of the seal; and (vi) a memorandum of legal
authority supporting the seal. M.D. Fla. L.R. 1.09(a).
motion fails to show "good cause" for sealing each
document and fails to provide the reason a means other than
sealing is unavailable (such as redaction), other than
stating that Defendant designated a document as
"Confidential." The right to file a document under
seal does not automatically flow from Defendant's
designation of certain documents as "Confidential."
See Baxter, 297 F.3d at 545; Brown, 960
F.2d at 1016. Notwithstanding, Defendant publically filed all
but two documents designated as "Confidential" in
support of its motion for summaiy judgment. (See
Dkts. 46-13, 46-14, 46-15, 46-16, 46-17, 46-19, 46-22, 47-1,
47-3, 47-4, 47-9, 47-15, 48-11).
Plaintiffs Unopposed Motion to Seal Evidence in Support of
Motion for Summaiy Judgment (Dkt. 43) is DENIED without
See Romero v. DrummondCo.,
Inc.,480 F.3d 1234, 1245 (11th Cir. 2007)
("Material filed in connection with any substantive
pretrial motion, unrelated to discovery, is subject to the
common law right of access."); Rushfordv. New Yorker
Magazine, 846 F, 2d 249, 252 (4th Cir. 1988) (summary
judgment motions); In re Midland Nat'l Life Ins. Co.
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