United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
B. SMITH United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Michelle Lee
Roberts' Motion to Seal Case (Doc. 21). The motion is
difficult to read and understand.
filing of documents under seal is disfavored by the
Court.” Graphic Packaging Int'l, Inc. v. C.W.
Zumbiel Co., No. 3:10-cv-891-J-JBT, 2010 WL 6790538, at
*1 (M.D. Fla. Oct. 28, 2010). While parties “have
protectable privacy interests in confidential information
disclosed through discovery, ” once the information
becomes a judicial record or public document, the public has
a common-law right to inspect and copy the information.
In re Alexander Grant & Co. Litig., 820 F.2d
352, 355 (11th Cir. 1987). “Once a matter is brought
before a court for resolution, it is no longer solely the
parties' case, but also the public's case.”
Brown v. Advantage Eng'g, Inc., 960 F.2d 1013,
(11th Cir. 1992); Patent Asset Licensing, LLC v.
Wideopenwest Fin., LLC, No. 3:15-cv-743-J-32MCR, 2016 WL
2991058, at *1 (M.D. Fla. May 24, 2016). “[I]t is the
rights of the public, an absent third party, which are
preserved by prohibiting closure of public records, unless
unusual circumstances exist.” Wilson v. Am. Motors
Corp., 759 F.2d 1568, 1570 (11th Cir. 1985).
filed in connection with any substantive pretrial motion,
unrelated to discovery, is subject to the common law right of
access.” Romero v. Drummond Co., Inc., 480
F.3d 1234, 1245 (11th Cir. 2007). “A substantive
pretrial motion is ‘[a] motion that is presented to the
court to invoke its powers or affect its decisions, whether
or not characterized as dispositive, [and it] is subject to
the public right of access.” Id. at 1246
(quotation marks and citation omitted). The motion to
suppress is a substantive pretrial motion.
judge is the primary representative of the public interest in
the judicial process and is duty-bound therefore to review
any request to seal the record (or part of it). He 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. Feb. 15, 2002)
(quoting Citizens First Nat'l Bank of Princeton v.
Cincinnati Ins. Co., 178 F.3d 943, 945 (7th Cir. 1999)).
“The right to inspect and copy is not absolute,
however, and a judge's exercise of discretion in deciding
whether to release judicial records should be informed by a
sensitive appreciation of the circumstances that led to the
production of the particular document in question.”
Chemence Med. Prods., Inc. v. Medline Indus., No.
1:13-CV-500-TWT, 2015 WL 149984, at *1 (N.D.Ga. Jan. 12,
public's right of access may be overcome by a showing of
“good cause” sufficient for the granting of a
protective order pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c) (“The
court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party
or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue
burden or expense …”). “'Good
cause' is a well established legal phrase. Although
difficult to define in absolute terms, it generally signifies
a sound basis or legitimate need to take judicial
action.” In re Alexander Grant, 820 F.2d at
Eleventh Circuit has “superimposed a somewhat more
demanding balancing or interests approach to the” good
cause requirement. Farnsworth v. Procter & Gamble
Co., 758 F.2d 1545, 1547 (11th Cir. 1985). This means
that before making its decision, the court has a duty to
balance the public's right of access against the
party's interest in confidentiality. “In balancing
the public interest in accessing court documents against a
party's interest in keeping the information confidential,
courts consider, among other facts, 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
Middle District of Florida has adopted its own rule on the
sealing of information:
(a) Unless filing under seal is authorized by statute, rule,
or order, a party seeking to file under seal any paper or
other matter in any civil case shall file and serve a motion,
the title of which includes the words “Motion to
Seal” and which includes (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
M.D. Fla. Rule 1.09(a). The parties' joint motion
satisfies the requirements of Local Rule 1.09(a).
motion does not satisfy the requirements of the applicable
cases or the local rule. Accordingly, the motion to seal is
DENIED without prejudice.