ADKINS et al v. WALGREEN CO.
ORDER denying Parties' 29 Joint Motion to file confidential settlement agreements under seal (see Order for details). Signed by Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker on 8/7/2015. (SWM)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
WALGREEN CO. doing business as
ORDER ON JOINT MOTION TO FILE
CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS UNDER SEAL
The parties have settled this case, but because it is brought pursuant to the Fair Labor
Standards Act they seek Court approval of their proposed resolution. The parties have filed a
motion purporting to assert good cause for filing each individual settlement agreement under
seal. Good cause does not exist for filing these settlement agreements under seal, and the Court
denies the parties’ motion. [Filing No. 29.]
The parties argue good cause exists because these settlement agreements include
Defendant’s private financial agreements with Plaintiffs, which the parties have agreed to keep
confidential. This bare assertion is not a sufficient reason to seal these documents. As the
parties acknowledge in their motion, there is a strong presumption that judicial records should
remain public. This includes settlement agreements. Indeed, the “public has an interest in
knowing what terms of settlement a federal judge would approve and perhaps therefore nudge
the parties to agree to.” Jessup v. Luther, 277 F.3d 926, 929 (7th Cir. 2002). This is especially
true in FLSA cases, where the parties seek court approval of the settlement agreement. In doing
so, the settlement agreement reflects the judge’s input, which strengthens the presumption that
the document be made public. Jessup, 277 F.3d at 929-30. While the parties cite to cases where
FLSA settlement agreements were sealed, these cases all arise from other districts. While there
may be judges in this district who are willing to seal settlement agreements that require Court
approval, the undersigned is not one of them—at least not without a significantly greater
showing than is contained in the instant motion.
Thus, the parties have failed to rebut the presumption that court filings are public. For
these reasons, the joint motion to file these confidential settlement agreements under seal [Filing
No. 29] is denied.
Tim A. Baker
U.S. Magistrate Judge
Southern District of Indiana
SEYFARTH SHAW (Atlanta)
Brett C. Bartlett
SEYFARTH SHAW LLP
Ronald E. Weldy
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