United States District Court, D. Minnesota
N. Leung United States Magistrate Judge
April 3, 2019, the parties submitted a joint motion regarding
continued sealing pursuant to Local Rule 5.6. (ECF No. 246).
In that motion, the parties agreed that many documents should
remain sealed because they were “designated as
confidential pursuant to the Protective Order; quote or
reference documents marked confidential; designated as
confidential in another litigation; or designated as
confidential by a nonparty.” (ECF No. 247). Because the
parties did not adequately describe the reasons why those
documents merited protection from public filing, the Court
struck that motion and ordered the parties to refile it. (ECF
No. 247). The parties did so on May 10, 2019. (ECF No. 248).
their new motion, the parties disagree as to whether several
documents should remain sealed. For some, Plaintiff asserts
they should remain sealed because they were filed under seal
in a related litigation. (See e.g., ECF No. 248, p.
4). For others, Plaintiff asserts the document should remain
sealed because it was designated confidential by a third
party. (See e.g., id., p. 7). For others,
Plaintiff asserts the documents should remain sealed because
they were designated as confidential in the underlying
litigation. (See e.g., id., p. 9). Finally,
for others, Plaintiff asserts the document either contains a
confidentiality clause (See e.g., id., p.
26) or proprietary information. (See e.g.,
id., p. 40). Defendant asserts that these documents
should be unsealed.
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 is because the 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). This district has enacted Local
Rule 5.6 to guide the consideration of a motion to keep
documents filed with the Court under seal. The Local Rule
emphasizes that though there is a presumption to public
access to judicial records, that right is not absolute.
L.R.D. Minn. 5.6 Advisory Committee's notes (2017).
Instead, the Court must balance that interest against the
moving party's interest in confidentiality. See e.g.,
Webster Groves Sch. Dist. v. Pulitzer Pub. Co., 898 F.2d
1371, 1376 (8th Cir. 1990). The advisory comments to Local
Rule 5.6 make clear, however, that the purpose of the rule is
to reduce the amount of information under seal.
case, the Court concludes that it is appropriate to seal
documents that have been filed under seal in a related
litigation. Likewise, the Court believes that it is proper to
seal documents that Plaintiff has identified as containing
confidentiality clauses, as well as those documents that
Plaintiff claims contain proprietary information. There is
sufficient information in the parties' joint sealing
motion for the Court to make this determination.
Court cannot, however, reach the same conclusion regarding
the documents that Plaintiff wishes to have sealed simply
because they or a third party designated them as confidential
in this litigation or in a related litigation. As the Court
noted in its order striking the previous joint motion,
“[s]imply stating that the document was designated as
confidential under a protective order issued or pursuant to
the parties' agreement is insufficient.” The
parties must identify what in those documents merits
confidential treatment. See e.g., Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(c)(1)(G) (permitting protective order related to trade
secret or confidential research, development, or commercial
Court has, however, reviewed each document that Plaintiff
wishes to have sealed because they or a third party
designated them as confidential in this litigation or in a
related litigation. It is apparent from the Court's
review that some of those documents merit continued sealing.
The Court will order that those documents remain sealed. For
all other documents, where the need for continued sealing is
not apparent from review of the document, the Court will
order those documents unsealed.
upon careful consideration of the motions filed and the
related sealed documents, IT IS HEREBY
ORDERED that the parties' Joint Motion Regarding
Continued Sealing Regarding Allied World National Assurance
Company's and Tile Shop Holdings, Inc.'s Motions for
Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 248), is GRANTED
IN PART and DENIED IN PART as
1. The Clerk is directed to keep these documents sealed: ECF
Nos. 73, 78, 82, 103, 107, 146, 154, 156, 161, 165, 167, 171,
172, 173, 175, 176, 177, 180, 181, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187,
188, 189, 190, 194, 208, 213, 228, 229, and 236.
2. The Clerk is directed to unseal these documents
immediately: ECF Nos. 76, 77, 79, 80, 81, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87,
88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101,
102, 104, 105, 106, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115,
116, 117, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135,
136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 147, 149, 150,
152, 153, 155, 157, 158, 159, 160, 162, 163, 164, 166, 168,
169, 170, 174, 179, 192, 193, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, ...