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Regions Bank v. Kaplan

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

December 8, 2017

REGIONS BANK, an Alabama banking company, Plaintiff,
v.
MARVIN I. KAPLAN, an individual, etal., Defendants.

          ORDER

          ELIZABETH A. KOVACHEVICH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This cause is before the Court on:

Dkt. 820 Motion to Unseal Trial Transcript (Dkt. 776)
Dkt. 822 Response

         Plaintiff Regions Bank moves for an order unsealing a portion of the trial transcript (Dkt. 776), the morning session of trial on Thursday, May 12, 2016, consisting of 53 pages containing oral argument on Regions' Third Motion to Compel financial worth discovery of Defendants Kaplan Parties (Marvin I. Kaplan, R1A Palms, LLC, Triple Net Exchange, LLC, MK Investing, LLC, BNK Smith, LLC) for purposes of punitive damages. Plaintiff Regions Bank argues that there is nothing highly confidential during that session to warrant continued sealing.

         Plaintiff Regions Bank filed Plaintiffs Third Motion to Compel Financial Worth Discovery on April 30, 2016, seeking all information concerning the net worth of the assets of Marvin I. Kaplan, assets, liabilities, and the net worth of the entities that are at issue in this case (R1A Palms, LLC, Triple Net Exchange, LLC, MK Investing, LLC, BNK Smith, LLC), assets, liabilities and the net worth of the 19 LLCs that are listed on Kap Reg 3856, for the Court's consideration in determining an award of punitive Case No. 8:12-CV-1867-T-17MAP damages.

         On Day 7 of the trial, May 11, 2016, Plaintiff Regions Bank brought the pending Third Motion to Compel Financial Net Worth Discovery to the Court's attention, having learned of the sale of assets owned in part by Defendant Marvin Kaplan from an article that appeared in the Bradenton Herald.

         Plaintiff Regions Bank argues that there is nothing in the trial transcript that would justify continued sealing. At the hearing, the Parties discussed the identity of entities in which the Kaplans have an interest in whole or in part, all of which is already public information, and certain transactions by which the Kaplan Entities moved money to Kathryn Kaplan for no value during this case, which is also public information. (Case No. 8:16-CV-2867-T-23AAS, Dkts. 48, 93). The Report and Recommendation (Dkt. 93) is directed to transfers of funds and assets from R1A Palms, LLC, Triple Net Exchange, LLC and BNK Smith, LLC to Kathryn Kaplan between January, 2015 and October, 2015, and from MK Investing, LLC to MIK Advanta, LLC between August, 2012 and October, 2012.

         Defendants Kaplan Parties oppose Plaintiffs Motion to Unseal Trial Transcript. Defendants argue that the issue at the May 12, 2016 hearing was whether non-party information, including K. Kaplan's personal financial stake in non-party companies owned as tenants by the entirety with Defendant Marvin I. Kaplan, was discoverable pursuant to the Court's directives on punitive damage net worth discovery, which is a different issue from the issues raised in Case No. 8:16-CV-2867-T-23AAS, which focuses on two sets of alleged fraudulent transfers from the Kaplan Entities (R1A, Triple, BNK) to K. Kaplan.

         Defendants Kaplan Parties further argue that this Court has already ruled that compelling reasons-non-party privacy concerns-existed to seal that portion of the trial transcript, and Plaintiff Regions has presented no compelling argument as to why the privacy concerns are no longer at issue.

         Defendants Kaplan Parties argue that the allegations in Case No. 8:16-CV-2867-T-23AAS do not directly concern Defendant Marvin I. Kaplan's net worth or the various unrelated entities in which Defendant Kaplan maintains a tenancy by the entireties interest with K. Kaplan. Defendants Kaplan Parties further argue that K. Kaplan's status as a defendant in Case No. 8:16-CV-2867-T-23AAS does not automatically make public record the unrelated information disclosed in the sealed May 12, 2016 hearing, or as to the non-party entities discussed at the hearing, which are not implicated in Case No. 8:16-CV-2867-T-23AAS.

         Defendants Kaplan Parties contend that Plaintiff Regions has not advanced a compelling basis for the Court to vacate and overturn its previous ruling that the transcript of May 12, 2016 be sealed. Defendants argue that the information contained therein remains sensitive and should not be in the public record.

         I. Discussion

         The oral argument was sealed in accordance with the Amended Agreed Protective Order Regarding Confidential Information previously entered in this case (Dkts. 83, 90). All Parties agreed to the form of the Protective Order, with the exception of Defendant Starr, who took no position. The Agreed Protective Order allows a Party to designate as "Confidential" any Discovery Material that the designating Party reasonably believes contains confidential information, and restricts the use of Discovery Material to use solely for the prosecution or defense of this action. The hearing on Plaintiff Regions Case No. ...


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