United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division
R. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is FlexSteel's Motion to Submit
Confidential Documents. ECF No. 129. Defendant Changchun
Gaoxiang Special Pipe Co., Ltd. (“Golsun”) filed
a response, ECF No. 130, representing that it did not oppose
FleSteel's request to file its opposition under seal but
opposes FlexSteel's request for an extension of time.
intends to file its opposition to Defendant Golsun's
Renewed Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdcition
Or, in the Alternative, Motion to Transfer Venue to the
Eastern District of Virginia on October 31, 2019. ECF No.
126. Included within the material Golsun will file are
documents comprising and reflecting Golsun's and third
parties' confidential technical and design documentation,
research and development information, customer information
and financial and pricing data, some of which (or perhaps all
of which) may be subject to an order sealing the information.
Rather than first filing a motion to seal and advancing
arguments supporting the sealing of the documents under
applicable Eleventh Circuit law for sealing documents,
FlexSteel proposes that it file its opposition on the docket
with the confidential materials redacted and then meet and
confer with Golsun to discuss whether there is good cause for
sealing any of the designated material.
third party documents FlexSteel proposes that it also engage
in a meet-and-confer with the third parties. FlexSteel will
serve Golsun with an unredacted version of its opposition
designated as confidential and subject to protective order.
FlexSteel will then file manually with the Court on Monday
November 4, 2019, unredacted versions of all motions and
exhibits. Thereafter FlexSteel promptly will engage in a
meet-and-confer with Golsun and the third parties and advise
the Court if a producing party requests that any submitted
material be maintained under seal and, if so, the bases for
maintaining the documents under seal.
does not object to FlexSteel filing its opposition under seal
but interprets FlexSteel's motion as requesting an
extension of time. Golsun says this warrants the Court
finding FlexSteel's opposition as untimely.
support of its position Golsun points to the Court's
comment in the September 26, 209 order, ECF No. 129, which
stated the deadline for filing the opposition as October 30,
2019 and not October 31, 2019, as FlexSteel calculates the
deadline. The correct deadline is October 31, 2019. In the
Court's August 9, 2019 order the Court expressly recited
that “Golsun must file its renewed motion to dismiss
for lack of personal jurisdiction by October 14, 2019 and
FlexSteel must file its response to the motion to dismiss by
October 31, 2019.” ECF No. 114, pp. 9-10. The Court set
October 31, 2019 as the deadline for filing the opposition
because it was the last day of the month. The Court
incorrectly recited October 30, 2019 as the deadline in the
Court's September 26, 2019 order. ECF No. 124. The
October 30, 2019 date was included in the September 26, 2019
order by error and not because the Court had shortened the
response deadline from October 31 to October 30. In any event
because October 31, 2019 is the correct deadline-and even if
it was not, FlexSteel certainly could say it reasonably
relied upon the Court's previous order-FlexSteel's
motion does not present a request for an extension of time.
Thus, filing the opposition on October 31, 2019 will not be
now to the real point of FlexSteel's motion the
procedures proposed by FlexSteel hopefully will minimize the
volume of material whose confidentiality will be submitted to
the Court to evaluate. Rather, than presenting the Court with
a voluminous motion (or multiple motions) to seal
FlexSteel's proposed protocol will reduce the number of
documents subject to sealing and thus relieve the Court from
having to engage in the time consuming process of determining
whether documents should be sealed based upon the Eleventh
Circuit's balancing test for documents that neither
Golsun nor any third parties care whether the documents are
sealed. The Court recently has utilized a similar protocol
for submitting sealed documents in a MDL proceeding pending
before the Court. See, In Re: 3M Combat Arms Earplug
Products Liability Litigation, No. 3:19-md-2885-MCR-GRJ,
ECF No. 788.
because the protocol FlexSteel suggests in its motion makes
sense, facilitates the parties filing documents without
having to wait for the Court to enter an order sealing the
documents and ultimately allows the Court to make a decision
regarding sealing documents where there is a real need to
file the documents under seal, the Court concludes that
FlexSteel's motion is due to be granted.
due consideration, it is ORDERED:
FlexSteel's Motion to Submit Confidential Documents, ECF
No. 129, is GRANTED.
FlexSteel must file via ECF by October 31, 2019, its
opposition to Glosun's motion to dismiss that is redacted
to remove such material designated as confidential under the
Court's Protective Order by noting on the documents
“REDACTED PURSUANT TO PROTECTIVE ORDER.”
FlexSteel must electronically serve Golsun by October 31,
2019 unredacted versions of all motions and exhibits
(including designated materials), designated
“CONFIDENTIAL SUBJECT TO PROTECTIVE ORDER” or
“ATTORNEY'S EYES ONLY SUJBECT TO PROTECTIVE ORDER,
” as applicable.
Flexsteel must file manually with the Court by Monday
November 4, 2019, unredacted versions of all motions and
exhibits (including designated materials), similarly
FlexSteel must promptly meet-and-confer with Golsun, and with
third parties as needed, and inform the Court within twenty
(20) days if a producing party requests that any submitted
material should continue to be maintained under seal and the
reasons why the documents should continue to remain under
seal. In the absence of any such request all documents filed
under seal or filed with redactions will be lifted and
refiled on the docket without further notice. In the event
FlexSteel files a request for the Court to continue to
maintain documents under seal ...