United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
TROY SMITH, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
COSTA DEL MAR, INC., a Florida corporation, Defendant.
TIMOTHY J. CORRIGAN UNITED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the Court on Defendant Costa Del Mar,
Inc.'s Unopposed Amended Motion to Seal Exhibits to
Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification. (Doc. 42).
wishes to seal three categories of exhibits attached to
Plaintiff's motion for class certification: (i)
confidential internal communications, internal presentations,
and reports addressing valuable proprietary issues, including
brand development and strategy, marketing materials, business
operations, and financial information; (ii) communications
reflecting certain specifics of Defendant's confidential
agreement with one of its largest customers; and (iii) a
confidential settlement agreement between Defendant and a
non-party to this action. Defendant has provided a detailed
description of the type of documents and their contents in
the motion to seal.
public has “a common-law right to inspect and copy
judicial records and public documents.” In re
Alexander Grant & Co. Litig., 820 F.2d 352, 355
(11th Cir. 1987) (per curiam) (citations omitted). The
public's right of access to judicial records may be
overcome, however, by a showing of good cause by the party
seeking protection. See Chicago Tribune Co. v.
Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., 263 F.3d 1304, 1313 (11th
Cir. 2001); see also Romero v. Drummond Co., 480
F.3d 1234, 1245 (11th Cir. 2007). Good cause “generally
signifies a sound basis or legitimate need to take judicial
action.” In re Alexander, 820 F.2d at 356.
cause has been shown, the court must then balance the
interest in obtaining access to the information against the
interest in keeping the information confidential. Chicago
Tribune Co., 263 F.3d at 1313. In balancing these
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
Romero, 480 F.3d at 1246 (citations omitted).
Moreover, even in the absence of any challenge to sealing the
information, the court, as “the primary representative
of the public interest in the judicial process, ” is
duty-bound “to review any request to seal the record
(or part of it) [and] may not rubber stamp a stipulation to
seal the record.” Estate of Martin Luther King,
Jr., Inc. v. CBS, Inc., 184 F.Supp.2d 1353,
1363 (N.D.Ga. 2002).
the court in its review, Local Rule 1.09 requires any motion
to seal to provide:
(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.
Fla. R. 1.09(a).
cause is established by the moving party when disclosure will
cause the party to suffer a clearly defined and serious
injury.'” NXP B.V. v. Research In Motion,
Ltd., No. 6:12-cv-498-Orl-22TBS, 2013 WL 4402833, *2
(M.D. Fla. Aug.15, 2013) (quoting Vista India, Inc. v.
Raaga, LLC, No. 07-1262, 2008 WL 834399, *2 (D.N.J. Mar.
27, 2009)). “A party's privacy or proprietary
interest in information sometimes overcomes the interest of
the public in accessing the information.”
Romero, 480 F.3d at 1246.
due consideration, the Court finds that allowing public
access to the information Defendant seeks to file under seal
could harm Defendant's legitimate privacy and proprietary
interests, and there is no less restrictive method available
to protect the information. Therefore, because it is
unopposed and there exists good cause, the motion to seal
will be granted, and Plaintiff is permitted to file the
documents under seal. However, the Court will determine later
whether the items will remain under seal for the duration of