Local Access, LLC v. Peerless Network, Inc.
ORDER granting 147 Motion to Seal Peerless's answer, affirmative defenses and counterclaims. Signed by Magistrate Judge Thomas B. Smith on 4/16/2018. (Smith, Thomas)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
LOCAL ACCESS, LLC,
Case No: 6:17-cv-236-Orl-40TBS
PEERLESS NETWORK, INC.,
This case comes before the Court on Peerless’s Motion to Seal Answer to Second
Amended Complaint and Amended Answer Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaims (Doc.
147). Peerless seeks leave of Court to seal those portions of its pleading which it
represents, contain information designated “Confidential” or “Highly Confidential” by
Plaintiff and non-party Inteliquent, Inc., and information constituting settlement
negotiations the Court has previously found to be confidential.
“The judge is the primary representative of the public interest in the judicial process
and is duty-bound therefore to review any request to seal the record (or part of it). He may
not rubber stamp a stipulation to seal the record.” Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc. v.
CBS, Inc., 184 F. Supp. 2d 1353, 1363 (N.D. Ga. Feb. 15, 2002) (quoting Citizens First
Nat’l Bank of Princeton v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 178 F.3d 943, 945 (7th Cir. 1999)). “The right
to inspect and copy is not absolute, however, and a judge’s exercise of discretion in
deciding whether to release judicial records should be informed by a sensitive
appreciation of the circumstances that led to the production of the particular document in
question.” Chemence Med. Prods., Inc. v. Medline Indus., No. 1:13-CV-500-TWT, 2015
WL 149984, at *1 (N.D. Ga. Jan. 12, 2015).
The public’s right of access may be overcome by a showing of “good cause”
sufficient for the granting of a protective order pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 26(c) (“The court
may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person form annoyance,
embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense …”). “’Good cause’ is a well
established legal phrase. Although difficult to define in absolute terms, it generally
signifies a sound basis or legitimate need to take judicial action.” In re Alexander Grant,
820 F.2d 352, 356 (11th Cir. 1987). The Eleventh Circuit has “superimposed a somewhat
more demanding balancing or interests approach to the” good cause requirement in Rule
26(c). Farnsworth v. Procter & Gamble Co., 758 F.2d 1545, 1547 (11th Cir. 1985). This
means that before making its decision, the court has a duty to balance the public’s right o
access against the party’s interest in confidentiality. The Eleventh Circuit has recognized
that “[a] party’s privacy or proprietary interest in information sometimes overcomes the
interest of the public in accessing the information.” Romero v. Drummond Co., Inc., 480
F.3d 1234, 1245-1246 (11th Cir. 2007).
Peerless has satisfied the requirements of Local Rule 1.09 and good cause exists
to seal the information in question. Accordingly, the motion is GRANTED. Peerless shall file
its unredacted answer, affirmative defenses and counterclaims UNDER SEAL.The seal shall
remain in force for a period of one (1) year from the rendition of this Order, pursuant to
Local Rule 1.09(c). Any party may seek an extension of the seal on motion filed before the
seal expires. Peerless shall redact from its pleading filed on the public docket the
information which has been designated “Confidential” or “Highly Confidential” by Plaintiff
and/or Inteliquent, and the confidential settlement negotiations.
DONE and ORDERED in Orlando, Florida on April 16, 2018.
Copies furnished to Counsel of Record
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