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Regions Bank v. Kaplan

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

November 21, 2017

REGIONS BANK, an Alabama banking corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
MARVIN I. KAPLAN, an individual, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          ELIZABETH A. KOVACHEVICH JUDGE

         This cause is before the Court on:

Dkt. 816 Motion to Redact Trial Transcript (Kaplan Parties)
Dkt. 819 Memorandum of Law in Opposition (Regions Bank)

         Defendants Marvin I. Kaplan, R1A Palms, LLC, Triple Net Exchange, LLC, MK Investing, LLC and BNK Smith, LLC) ("Kaplan Parties") move to redact the trial transcript. Kaplan Parties have attached the proposed redactions as Exhibit A to the Motion (18 pages). Kaplan Parties argue that the proposed redactions are necessary to protect sensitive information regarding: 1) Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan's personal financial information, and 2) non-party financial and personal information.

         Kaplan Parties assert that the information for which Kaplan Parties request redaction is generally not directly germane to the claims and issues in this case, and the public interest will not be served by disclosing miscellaneous financial and personal information of Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan and unrelated third parties, whose interest in maintaining privacy outweighs the public's interest in disclosure.

         Kaplan Parties further argue that the requested redaction of the trial transcript will not prejudice the other parties, in light of the fact that this Court has already entertained and granted the parties' requests to seal trial exhibits containing sensitive information.

         Plaintiff Regions Bank opposes Kaplan Parties' Motion to Redact Trial Transcript, arguing that the Motion to Redact does not comply with Local Rule 1.09, does not describe the information in any detail, and does not provide the rigorous justification necessary for sealing.

         I. Standard of Review

         Absent exceptional circumstances, trials are public proceedings. The district court has discretion to determine which portions of the record should be placed under seal, but the district court's discretion is guided by the presumption of public access to judicial documents. "Once a matter is brought before a court for resolution, it is no longer solely the parties' case, but also the public's case." Brown v. Advantage Engineering, Inc.. 960 F.2d 1013 (11th Cir. 1992). While the parties to a lawsuit "have protectable privacy interests in confidential information disclosed through discovery, once the information becomes a judicial record or a public document, the public has a common-law right to inspect and copy the information. In re Alexander Grant & Co. Litigation. 820 F.2d 352, 355 (11th Cir. 1987).

         The public's right of access may be overcome by a showing of "good cause" sufficient for the granting of a protective order pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c). "Good cause is established by the moving party when disclosure will cause the party to suffer a clearly defined and serious injury." See NXP B.V. v. Blackberry Ltd., 2014 WL 40591935, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 15, 2014).

         The Court has a duty to balance the public's right of access against the party's interest in confidentiality. "In balancing the public interest in accessing court documents against a party's interest in keeping the information confidential, courts consider, among other facts, whether allowing access would impair court functions or harm legitimate privacy interests, the degree 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 v. Drummond Company, Inc.. 480 F.3d 1234, 1246 (11th Cir. 2007). The decision as to access is left to the sound discretion of the trial court, to be exercised in light of the relevant facts and circumstances of the particular case. Belo Broad. Corp. v. Clark. 654 F.2d 423, 430 (5th Cir. 1981).

         II. Analysis

         Defendants Kaplan Parties requests that the Court approve the proposed redactions in the table attached to Defendants' Motion. The Court understands that Defendant Kaplan Parties are asserting Defendant Kaplan's generalized privacy right to keep personal financial information private. The table provides only page and line references, without ...


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