McCurdy v. Auburn University et al
OPINION AND ORDER directing that the exhibits submitted by the defendants 65 , 66 , and 76 are unsealed, as further set out in order. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on 12/29/15. (djy, )
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, EASTERN DIVISION
CIVIL ACTION NO.
OPINION AND ORDER
The issue presented in this lawsuit charging race
settlement agreement should be unsealed.
that follow, the court will unsealed and make public
Plaintiff Dorothy McCurdy, who represents herself,
account of her race, the defendants paid her less than
other employees doing comparable work, denied her a
environment, all in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, as amended (42 U.S.C. §§ 1981a and
2000e through 2000e-17), and the Civil Rights Act of
1866, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 1981).
This court has
VII) and 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a)(3) (civil rights).
enforce a settlement agreement they contend was entered
between them and McCurdy.
The exhibits include emails
McCurdy’s refusal to sign the settlement agreement; the
minutes of an on-the-record settlement conference held
before a United States Magistrate Judge; and a copy of
the purported settlement agreement.
However, the court cautioned that the exhibits were
being sealed “only conditionally or temporarily” and
documents should remain sealed or should be unsealed.”
Order dated December 29, 2015 (doc. no. 75).
There is a general, but qualified common-law right
of the public to access judicial records.
Daewon America, Inc., 2014 WL 2608454, at *2 (M.D. Ala.
utmost public concern.”
Romero v. Drummond Co., Inc.,
480 F.3d 1234, 1245 (11th Cir. 2007) (quoting Landmark
Commc’ns, Inc. v. Virginia, 435 U.S. 829, 839 (1978)).
The exhibits at issue are part of the judicial record
because they were filed with the court in support of
merely a product of discovery.
See id. (stating that
“[m]aterial filed in connection with any substantive
pretrial motion, unrelated to discovery, is subject to
qualified right a public access attaches to them.
records is especially strong here because the exhibits
dispositively affect the resolution of this case or how
it will ultimately be decided.
See Stalnaker v. Novar
Corp., 293 F. Supp. 2d 1260, 1264 (M.D. Ala. 2003)
If the settlement is enforced, the case
will be resolved and therefore will be closed.
Moreover, the fact that the exhibits go directly to
disposition of a case against a taxpayer-funded public
institution, that is, Auburn University, reinforces the
public right of access.
See Romero, 480 F.3d at 1246
(explaining that “whether information concerns public
determining if the public can view court documents).
Admittedly, extraordinary circumstances may justify
Todd, 2014 WL 2608454, at *3.
In other words, there
Brown v. Advantage Engineering, Inc., 960 F.2d 1013,
1014 (11th Cir. 1992); see also Romero, 480 F.3d at
1246 (stating that “common law right of access may be
overcome by a showing of good cause.”).
secrets or informants’ identities would be revealed in
judicial records, or if children’s privacy would be
Stalnaker, 293 F. Supp. 2d at 1264.
The mere fact that
confidentiality is not sufficiently compelling to deny
disposition of this case.
See Todd, 2014 WL 2608454,
at 3 (“The mere fact that both parties have agreed to
overcome the right of the public to have access to the
demonstrated any extraordinary circumstance that would
merit the sealing of these exhibits.
Accordingly, the exhibits, which were provisionally
sealed, will be unsealed.
* * *
For the foregoing reasons, it is ORDERED that the
exhibits submitted by the defendants (doc. nos. 65, 66,
and 76)) are unsealed.
DONE, this the 29th day of December, 2015.
/s/ Myron H. Thompson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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