McManama v. Gannett Co., Inc.

Filing 34

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER denying 23 MOTION for Leave to File Evidence Under Seal filed by Gannett Co., Inc.; Defendant shall file the evidence they wish to file publicly on or before 9/25/08. Signed by Honorable Ira De Ment on 9/19/08. (Attachments: # 1 appeals checklist)(vma, )

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR T H E MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA N O R T H E R N DIVISION T IN A McMANAMA, P l a in tif f , v. G A N N E T T CO., INC., D e f e n d a n t. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) C A S E NO. 2:07-cv-479-ID (W O ) M E M O R A N D U M OPINION AND ORDER T h is cause is before the Court on the Defendant's Motion to File Evidence Under Seal ( D o c . # 23), filed September 4, 2008. Defendant seeks to file declarations of certain w itn e s s e s , and the attached exhibits, under seal. Defendant argues that placing these d o cu m en ts under seal is warranted because they disclose private salary information of third p a r tie s . T h e public has a right of access to inspect judicial records. See Chicago Tribune Co. v . Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., 263 F.3d 1304 (11th Cir. 2001). The nature and scope of this rig h t depends upon the nature of the documents at issue. See id. at 1310-15 (discussing v a rio u s sources of public right of access). Unlike documents exchanged in discovery, d o c u m e n t s filed in connection with "any substantive pretrial motion" are subject to the c o m m o n law right of access. Romero v. Drummond Co., 480 F.3d 1234, 1246 (11th Cir. 2 0 0 7 ). A party opposing public access must show good cause for why the information s h o u ld be kept confidential. Id. The Court must balance the interest in keeping the in f o rm a tio n confidential against the public interest in accessing the information. Id. The Court finds that the public interest in accessing the information outweighs the interest in keeping the information confidential. The evidence has been submitted in support o f a motion for summary judgment, which is a potentially dispositive motion and clearly q u a lif ie s as a "substantive pretrial motion." Moreover, Plaintiff is claiming that Defendant h as violated the Equal Pay Act by paying her a lower salary because of her gender. C o n s e q u e n tly, evidence concerning Plaintiff's salary, as well as salaries of third parties p r e s e n te d as comparators, are central to resolving the dispute in this case. Under these c irc u m s ta n c es , the public has a very strong interest in having access to this information that o u tw e ig h s the privacy interests at stake. F o r the reasons stated above, it is hereby CONSIDERED and ORDERED that D e f e n d a n t's Motion to File Evidence Under Seal (Doc. # 23) be and the same is hereby D E N IE D . Defendant shall file the evidence they wish to file publicly on or before S e p t e m b e r 25, 2008. D O N E this 19th day of September, 2008. /s/ Ira DeMent SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 2

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