United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
MELANIE GLASSER, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
HILTON GRAND VACATIONS COMPANY, LLC, Defendant.
D. WHITTEMORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT is Plaintiffs Unopposed Motion for Leave
to File Under Seal an Unredacted Version of Plaintiff s
Motion for Class Certification. (Dkt. 68). Upon
consideration, the motion is DENIED without
courts have the inherent authority and discretion to seal
records. Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, 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 motions for class certification, summary judgment
motions, motions in limine, and Daubert
motions, and can be overcome only by a showing of "good
cause." Chicago Tribune Co. v.
Bridgeslone/Firestone, Inc., 263 F.3d 1304, 1310-12
(11th Cir. 2001).
decision to seal is the trial court's prerogative, not
the parties'. Baxter Int'l, Inc. v. Abbott
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). And, the right to file a document
under seal does not automatically follow a confidentiality
designation during discoveiy. 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 States v.
Garrett, 571 F.2d 1323, 1326 n.3 (5th Cir. 1978) (common
law right of access cannot be overcome by "stereotyped
and conclusory 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's right of 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;
(hi) 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 her
unredacted motion for class certification, other than stating
that Defendant designated documents and information as
"Confidential." The right to file a document under
seal does not automatically flow from Defendant's
"Confidential" designation. See Baxter,
297 F.3d at 545; Brown, 960 F.2d at 1016.
Plaintiffs Unopposed Motion for Leave to File Under Seal an
Unredacted Version of Plaintiff s Motion for Class
Certification (Dkt. 68) is DENIED without
See Romero v. Dmmmond Co.,
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."); Shane Grp., Inc. v.
Bine Cross Blue Shield of Michigan,825 F.3d 299, 305
(6th Cir. 2016)(" in class actions-where by definition
'some members of the public are also parties to the
[case]'-the standards for denying public access to the
record 'should be applied .. . with particular
strictness.'" (quoting In re Cendant Corp.,260 F.3d 183, 194 (3d Cir. 2001)); Rushford v. New Yorker
Magazine,846 F.2d 249, 252 (4th Cir. 1988) (summary
judgment motions); In ...