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Benner v. Saint Paul Public Schools

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 18, 2019

Aaron A. Benner, Plaintiff,
v.
Saint Paul Public Schools, I.S.D. #625 et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Katherine Menendez United States Magistrate Judge

         Pursuant to Local Rule 5.6, the parties filed a joint motion for continued sealing of materials filed under temporary seal in connection with the defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Joint Mot., ECF No. 96; Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 73.) The parties agree that one document filed under temporary seal should be unsealed: ECF No. 93. The Clerk is directed to unseal ECF No. 93.

         The parties disagree, however, about the proper treatment for several other documents that were filed under temporary seal. The documents at issue include:

(1) “March 4, 2013, Human Resources investigation-related documents regarding Benner SPPS000564-575” (ECF No. 80);
(2) “November 6, 2014 Human Resources investigation-and-discipline-related documents regarding Benner SPPS000506-519” (ECF No. 81);
(3) “October 8, 2014 Human Resources investigation-and-discipline-related documents regarding Benner, SPPS000495-500, 504-05, 590- 592” (ECF No. 82);
(4) “February 10, 2015 Human Resources investigation-and-discipline-related documents, SPPS 000520-526, 558-559, 627, 781-788” (ECF No. 83);
(5) “October 29, 2018 Declaration mother of SPPS student” (ECF No. 84);
(6) “Excerpts of SPPS student's mother's deposition, taken in connection with this litigation, pages 1-2, 26-41” (ECF No. 85);
(7) “Complete deposition of student's mother, taken in connection with this litigation” (ECF No. 90); and
(8) “Attendance records of some District teachers (some redactions)” (ECF No. 92).

         Legal Standards

          “There is a common-law right of access to judicial records.” IDT Corp. v. eBay, 709 F.3d 1220, 1222 (8th Cir. 2013) (citing Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978)). This right of access “is fundamental to ensuring the public's confidence and trust in the judiciary.” In re Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Devices Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 15-2666 (JNE/FLN), 2018 WL 2135016 at *2 (D. Minn. May 9, 2018). Local Rule 5.6 guides this Court's consideration of a motion to keep judicial documents under seal. Local Rule 5.6 emphasizes the “presumption that the public has a qualified right of access to material filed.” Id. at *1; L.R.D. Minn. 5.6 Advisory Committee's notes (2017). However, the public's right of access is not absolute. Instead, competing interests, including the party's interest in confidentiality, must be weighed against society's interest in transparency. E.g., Webster Groves Sch. Dist. v. Pulitzer Pub. Co., 898 F.2d 1371, 1376 (8th Cir. 1990).

         The ...


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