United States District Court, D. New Mexico
L. LISA LEBRETON, Plaintiff,
JAMIE G. SILER, THOMAS D. BASMAJIAN, LARRY J. MONTANO and ROBERT KLEIN, Defendants.
ORDER UNSEALING COMPLAINT and ORDER TO SHOW
MATTER comes before the Court sua sponte on
Plaintiff Lebreton's “Notice” of her claims,
filed on August 17, 2017 (“Complaint”). Doc.
1. The third page of Plaintiff's Complaint has the
word “SEALED” in very large bold font
(Id. at 3) and the Clerk of the Court, therefore,
filed the entire case under seal. Plaintiff, however, has
failed to establish a sufficient basis for the case to remain
well settled that federal courts recognize a common-law right
of access to judicial records. Nixon v. Warner
Communications, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597-99 (1978);
Crystal Grower's Corp. v. Dobbins, 616 F.2d 458,
461 (10th Cir.1980). This right derives from the public's
interest “in understanding disputes that are presented
to a public forum for resolution” and is intended to
“assure that the courts are fairly run and judges are
honest.” Crystal Grower's Corp., 616 F.2d
at 461. This public right of access, however, is not
absolute. Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598. As federal
district courts have supervisory control over their own
records and files, the decision whether to allow access to
those records is left to the court's sound discretion.
Crystal Grower's Corp., 616 F.2d at 461. In
exercising that discretion, the court must consider the
relevant facts and circumstances of the case and balance the
public's right of access, which is presumed paramount,
with the parties' interests in sealing the record or some
portion of the record. Id. Documents should be
sealed “only on the basis of articulable facts known to
the court, not on the basis of unsupported hypothesis or
conjecture.” Hagestad v. Tragesser, 49 F.3d
1430, 1434 (9th Cir. 1995).
seeking to overcome the presumption of public access to
judicial documents bears the burden of showing “some
significant interest that outweighs the presumption.”
Mann v. Boatright, 477 F.3d 1140, 1149 (10th Cir.
2007); Colony Ins. Co. v. Burke, 698 F.3d 1222, 1241
(10th Cir. 2012). “Whether a trial court exercises
sound discretion will be based on the facts and circumstances
of the individual case and the weighing of the parties'
interests.” Riker v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons,
315 Fed.Appx. 752, 755 (10th Cir. 2009). The fact that
information has “already been made public” will
undermine a party's privacy concerns. United States
v. Pickard, 733 F.3d 1297, 1305 (10th Cir. 2013) (citing
Mann, 477 F.3d at 1149).
keeping with the paramount right of public access, this Court
requires a party to move for permission to file a particular
document under seal and to demonstrate a private interest
sufficient to justify the sealing of the document. Here,
Plaintiff has not sought the Court's permission to file
the case under seal nor has she demonstrated a private
interest sufficient to justify the sealing of any document.
Further, there is nothing in the record that establishes that
Plaintiff's interest in keeping the documents private
outweighs the public's right of access to judicial
now reviewed the Complaint, the Court has serious concerns
about whether this case can be heard in federal court.
See Davis ex rel. Davis v. U.S., 343 F.3d 1282, 1295
(10th Cir. 2003) (“[T]he district court . . . can
sua sponte question subject matter jurisdiction. . .
.”). Unlike the state district court in New Mexico,
“[f]ederal courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction.” Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co.
of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). The federal court may
only preside in instances where: (1) the parties'
citizenship is diverse and the amount in controversy exceeds
$75, 000; or (2) the face of the complaint raises a federal
question. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1332;
Karnes v. Boeing Co., 335 F.3d 1189, 1192 (10th Cir.
2003) (federal jurisdiction must be evident from the face of
Plaintiff checked the “Diversity” box on the
Civil Cover Sheet as a basis for jurisdiction, the Complaint
is devoid of any allegations regarding the citizenship of
parties. See Doc. 1. Moreover, the Complaint's
conclusory allegations (“trespass” via a
“forged instrument” by the alleged
“wrongdoers”) fail to provide the Court with any
factual allegations sufficient to identify a viable cause of
action over which this Court would have jurisdiction.
“[T]o withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain enough allegations of fact ‘to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'” Robbins
v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008)
(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
569 (2007)). Plaintiff Lebreton, who identifies herself as
“I: a woman; prosecutor, ” has filed a
pleading so lacking in factual allegations that it fails to
satisfy this most basic requirement.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk of the
Court is directed to unseal this case.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff Lebreton file a
document with the Court no later than Monday, August 28, 2017
showing cause why this action should not be dismissed for
lack of jurisdiction. Plaintiff L. Lisa Lebreton is cautioned
that failure to ...