United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO SEAL
G. TORRES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on MSP Recovery Claims, Series
LLC's (“Plaintiff”) motion to file under seal
its first amended complaint against Ameriprise Insurance
Company (“Defendant”). [D.E. 21]. Defendant
responded to Plaintiff's motion on December 29, 2017.
[D.E. 29]. Therefore, Plaintiff's motion is now ripe for
disposition. After careful consideration of the motion,
response, relevant authority, and for the reasons discussed
below, Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED.
seeks to file under seal its complaint, including (1) the
names of certain Medicare Advantage Organizations
(“MAOs”) that assigned their claims to Plaintiff
and (2) non-assignment related terms of an assignment
agreement. To be clear, Plaintiff does not wish to withhold
any of the aforementioned information from Defendant.
Instead, Plaintiff explains that it will provide the names of
all MAOs - as well as an unreacted version of the assignment
agreement - to Defendant subject to the terms of a
confidentiality agreement. In other words, Plaintiff requests
that the names of the MAOs that assigned their claims to
Plaintiff - as well as the non-assignment related terms of
the assignment agreement - are not to be disclosed to the
public at this stage of the litigation. Plaintiff believes
that the names of the MAOs constitutes a customer list and
therefore implicates significant confidential and proprietary
argues in response that it takes no position with respect to
the first category of information that Plaintiff seeks to
protect - the identity of Plaintiff's assignors - because
it is unclear upon what basis Plaintiff alleges that the
information should be redacted. Defendant further claims that
Plaintiff is still required to establish that specific
personal jurisdiction exists in this case and that Plaintiff
must disclose the identities of the Medicare beneficiaries
whose medical expenses undergird this action. As for the
second category of information that Plaintiff seeks to
protect - the non-assignments terms in the assignment
agreements - Defendant does not oppose the relief sought.
operations of the courts and the judicial conduct of judges
are matters of utmost public concern, ” Landmark
Commc'ns, Inc. v. Virginia, 435 U.S. 829, 839
(1978), and “[t]he 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.” Chicago Tribune Co. v.
Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., 263 F.3d 1304, 1311 (11th
Cir. 2001). This right “includes the right to inspect
and copy public records and documents.” Id.
(citation omitted). However, this right of access is not
absolute because it ordinarily “does not apply to
discovery and, where it does apply, may be overcome by a
showing of good cause.” Romero v. Drummond
Co., 480 F.3d 1234, 1245 (11th Cir. 2007).
finding of good cause requires “balanc[ing] the
asserted right of access against the other party's
interest in keeping the information confidential.”
Chicago Tribune, 263 F.3d at 1309. “[W]hether
good cause exists . . . is . . . decided by the nature and
character of the information in question.” Id.
at 1315. “In balancing the public interest in accessing
court documents against a party's interest in keeping the
information confidential, courts consider, among other
factors, 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.
full consideration of the arguments presented and the
relevant authority submitted in support thereof, we agree
with Plaintiff that the public disclosures of the MAO
assignors may result in unnecessary harm and prejudice to
Plaintiff's business. As Plaintiff points out, the
assignors are part of a customer list that has taken many
years of hard work to assemble. If the assignors became
public, there is a possibility that it would impact
Plaintiff's relationship with each client and undermine
Plaintiff's efforts to develop new business relationships
with other MAOs. This conclusion is reinforced even more so
by the fact that Defendant will have access to an un-redacted
version of the complaint and a complete customer list through
the normal course of discovery.
we see no reason why Plaintiff should be forced to release
the assignors of the MAOs to the public domain especially
when the parties appear willing to agree to a confidentiality
agreement to safeguard the items produced. When coupled with
the fact that Defendant will have access to the un-redacted
complaint in discovery, there is no persuasive reason to deny
Plaintiff's motion. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion
foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED AND
ADJUDGED that Plaintiff's motion is
GRANTED. [D.E. 21].