United States District Court, D. New Mexico
PAUL MEDRANO on his own behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
FLOWER FOODS, INC. et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO FILE
CERTAIN EXHIBITS UNDER SEAL
KHALSA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion to File
Certain Exhibits Under Seal (Doc. 165), filed January 24,
2019. The Court, having reviewed the motion and having noted
that it is unopposed, FINDS that the motion is well taken in
part and should be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, as
have long recognized a common-law right of access to judicial
records.” Mann v. Boatright, 477 F.3d 1140,
1149 (10th Cir. 2007). “Although this right
is not absolute, there is a strong presumption in favor of
public access . . . particularly . . . where the district
court use[s] the sealed documents to determine litigants'
substantive legal rights.” United States v.
Pickard, 733 F.3d 1297, 1302 (10th Cir.
[T]he presumption in favor of access to judicial records may
be overcome where countervailing interests heavily outweigh
the public interests in access. The burden is on the party
seeking to restrict access to show some significant interest
that outweighs the presumption.
Colony Ins. Co. v. Burke, 698 F.3d 1222, 1241
(10th Cir. 2012) (internal citations and quotation
district court, in exercising its discretion, must weigh the
interests of the public, which are presumptively paramount,
against those advanced by the parties.”
Pickard, 733 F.3d at 1302. “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 district court must also
“consider whether selectively redacting just the . . .
sensitive, and previously undisclosed, information from the
sealed . . . documents and then unsealing the rest”
would adequately protect the privacy interests of the party
seeking to seal court documents. Pickard, 733 F.3d
at 1304. The fact that information has “already been
made public” will undermine a party's privacy
concerns. Id. at 1305 (citing Mann, 477
F.3d at 1149).
instant case, Plaintiffs seek to file under seal
“certain exhibits that will be comprised of documents
produced by Defendants in discovery that Defendants have
designated as ‘confidential.'” (Doc. 165 at
1.) Plaintiffs indicate that the exhibits to be offered are
in support of their responses to Defendants' Opposed
Motion for Decertification of the Conditionally Certified
Collective Action and Memorandum in Support (Doc. 158)
(“Defendants' Motion for Decertification”),
and Defendants' Motion and Consolidated Memorandum in
Support of their Omnibus Motion for Summary Judgment as to
Various Defenses to Plaintiffs' Claims (Doc. 159)
(“Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment”).
(Id.) Plaintiffs have not further identified the
documents they seek to file under seal or explained any
party's interest in keeping these documents private.
(See generally id.) This clearly fails to satisfy
Plaintiffs' burden of showing a significant interest that
heavily outweighs the public's strong, presumptive right
of access to these documents, which the Court will likely use
to adjudicate the parties' substantive legal rights.
Further, Plaintiffs do not appear to have considered whether
redaction of sensitive and previously undisclosed information
in the documents would sufficiently protect the parties'
privacy interests. For these reasons, the Court finds that
Plaintiffs have failed to justify permanently sealing any
documents to be attached as exhibits to their responses at
Plaintiffs' deadline for filing their responses to
Defendants' motions expires on January 25, 2019, because
Plaintiffs represent that Defendants have designated the
documents in question as confidential, and to temporarily
preserve the documents' confidentiality, the Court will
grant the motion in part and allow Plaintiffs to
temporarily file the documents in
question as separate sealed exhibits to their responses to
Defendants' motions. However, within ten (10) days of
entry of this Order, the parties are directed to confer and
attempt to agree upon appropriate redactions to the documents
temporarily filed under seal pursuant to this Order. The
parties should make these redactions in light of the law
discussed herein. Such redactions should be no more extensive
than necessary to protect the parties' private,
sensitive, previously undisclosed information. If the parties
are able to agree upon such redactions, Plaintiffs shall
re-file the documents in question unsealed and with the
agreed-upon redactions. If the parties cannot agree upon
appropriate redactions, either side may file a renewed,
properly supported motion to seal the documents. If neither
redacted documents nor a renewed motion to seal are filed
within twenty-one (21) days of entry of this Order, the Court
will unseal the documents.
THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiffs are permitted to file as
separate exhibits under seal documents produced by Defendants
in discovery that Defendants have designated as
“confidential” and on which Plaintiffs rely to
support their responses to Defendants' Motion for
Decertification and/or Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment. Documents so filed will be accessible only by the
parties and the Court during the pendency of the seal.
FURTHER ORDERED that, within ten (10) days
of entry of this Order, the parties shall confer and attempt
to agree upon appropriate redactions to the documents
temporarily filed under seal pursuant to this Order. If the
parties are able to agree upon such redactions, Plaintiffs
shall re-file the documents unsealed and with the agreed-upon
redactions. If the parties cannot agree upon appropriate
redactions, either side may file a renewed motion to seal the
documents. As to each document temporarily filed under seal
pursuant to this Order, if neither a redacted document nor a
renewed motion to seal is filed within twenty-one
(21) days of entry of this Order, the Court will
unseal the document at issue.
 Unpublished decisions are not binding
precedent in the Tenth Circuit but may be cited for their
persuasive value. United States v. Austin, 426 F.3d