United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
CHARLENE EDWARDS HONEYWELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court upon Defendants' motions to
seal (Doc. 429; Doc. 431). By their motions, Defendants seek to
file under seal various summary judgment and Daubert
motion exhibits. Defendants generally seek to file under seal
personal and financial information of the parties and
third-party customers and information about the business
practices and strategies of the relevant financial
consideration, the Court will deny the motions. As indicated
in the Case Management and Scheduling Order (Doc. 89),
motions to seal are disfavored and will be denied unless they
comply with Local Rule 1.09. Middle District of Florida Local
Rule 1.09 requires that a motion to seal include, among other
things, “the reason that sealing each item is
necessary” and “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.” Local Rule 1.09(a).
courts of this country recognize a general right to inspect
and copy . . . judicial records and documents.”
Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc., 435 U.S. 589,
597 (1978); see also Romero v. Drummond Co., Inc.,
480 F.3d 1234, 1245 (11th Cir. 2007). In some limited
circumstances, a court has the discretion to permit materials
to be filed under seal. Romero, 480 F.3d at 1246.
However, such relief is to be granted only upon a showing of
“good cause, ” which requires balancing the
asserted right of access against the party's interest in
keeping the information confidential. See Id.
(describing balancing considerations).
both motions suffer the same defects: they (1) wholly fail to
explain why means other than sealing are unavailable or
unsatisfactory and (2) fail to adequately explain why sealing
each item is necessary. Defendants' main argument
advanced in support of the necessity of sealing is that the
relevant documents were deemed “confidential
information” or “highly
confidential-attorney's eyes only” pursuant to the
parties' protective order and confidentiality
stipulation. However, just because the parties have
designated documents produced in discovery as confidential
does not necessarily mean that they should be sealed. Doc.
89, p. 6 (“Whether documents filed in a case may be
filed under seal is a separate issue from whether the parties
may agree that produced documents are confidential.”);
Local Rule 1.09.
first motion to seal, Defendant ServisFirst proposes to seal
an indemnification agreement and correspondence containing
Defendants Bryant's, Davey's, Murrin's and
Zunz's salary information and benefits. ServisFirst has
not shown good cause for sealing these items. Therefore, the
motion will be denied.
second motion to seal, all Defendants propose sealing copies
of 12 deposition transcripts which fill two large binders.
Defendants propose filing the entirety of the 12 deposition
transcripts “in an abundance of caution . . . so as to
not unintentionally publish information into the public
record that is protected by either the Protective Order,
Fed.R.Civ.P. 5.2, or other applicable privacy laws.”
Doc. 431, p. 3. However, much of the deposition transcripts
include information that is clearly non-sensitive, leaving
the Court to ponder the unanswered question of why a means
other than sealing is unavailable or unsatisfactory to
preserve Defendants' concerns. The motion will therefore
careful consideration, the Court finds Defendants have not
complied with Local Rule 1.09, have not established good
cause to file under seal any of the proposed items, and have
failed to overcome the presumption in favor of public right
of access to these documents.
it is hereby ORDERED:
Defendant ServisFirst Bank Inc.' s Motion to Seal
Pursuant to the Protective Order and Confidentiality
Stipulation (Doc. 429) is DENIED.
Defendants ServisFirst Bank, Inc., Gregory W. Bryant, Patrick
Murrin, Gwynn Davey, and Jonathan Zunz's Joint Motion to
Seal Pursuant to the Protective Order and Confidentiality
Stipulation (Doc. 431) is DENIED.