Richardson v. Famous Bourbon Management Group, Inc. et al
ORDER AND REASONS granting in part 474 Motion to Unseal Record and/or Judgment. ORDERED that the Final Judgment in this matter (Doc. 469) be unsealed, as set forth in document. FURTHER ORDERED that Exhibit 1 to the Final Judgment (Doc. 469-1) remain sealed. Signed by Judge Jane Triche Milazzo on 10/16/2020. (Reference: All Cases)(ko)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
FAMOUS BOURBON MANAGEMENT
GROUP, INC., ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion to Unseal Record and/or Judgment
(Doc. 474). For the following reasons, the Motion is GRANTED IN PART.
Plaintiffs, individually and on behalf of similarly situated employees,
brought three collective actions against Defendants under the Fair Labor
Standards Act (“FLSA”), all of which were consolidated into the instant suit.
On January 2, 2020, the parties mediated this matter before Magistrate Judge
Knowles. The parties reached a settlement agreement that was put in writing
(“the Memorandum of Settlement”). After months of dispute, Plaintiffs filed a
Motion to Enforce and Approve Settlement, which this Court granted on
August 5, 2020. In granting Plaintiffs’ Motion to Enforce and Approve
Settlement, this Court also issued a Final Judgment (the “Judgment”) (Doc.
469), which was filed under seal. Defendants have since appealed this Court’s
decision to the Fifth Circuit.
Plaintiffs now claim that Defendants are not honoring the terms of the
Judgment and therefore ask the Court to unseal the record and/or the
Judgment so that Plaintiffs may execute the Judgment. Defendants oppose
the Motion to Unseal the Record/Judgment and ask that the Court deny the
Motion. In the event that the Court grants Plaintiffs’ Motion, Defendants
request that the Court leave sealed Exhibit 1 to the Judgment (Doc. 469-1).
LAW AND ANALYSIS
The public’s common law right to inspect and copy judicial records is not
absolute.1 Rather, “[e]very court has supervisory power over its own records
and files, and access has been denied where court files might have become a
vehicle for improper purposes.”2 “”In exercising its discretion to seal judicial
records, the court must balance the public’s common law right of access against
the interests favoring nondisclosure.”3
The record in this matter was originally sealed in accordance with the
terms of the parties’ settlement agreement. Accordingly, this Court’s Judgment
contained the stipulation that “[t]he record and resulting Consent Judgment
shall be sealed unless needed for administration, accounting purposes or to
enforce the judgment.”4 As Plaintiffs now seek to enforce the Judgment, they
argue that its unsealing is proper. Defendants’ only argument against
unsealing is that they disagree with the substance of Exhibit 1 to the
S.E.C. v. Van Waeyenberghe, 990 F.2d 845, 848 (5th Cir. 1993) (citing Nixon v. Warner
Commc’ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 592 (1978).
2 Id. (quoting Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598).
4 Doc. 469 at 3.
Judgment, which allocates how much each Defendant is to pay to each
It is undisputed that Defendants have not asked this Court to stay the
execution of the Judgment. It is also undisputed that this Court has specifically
allowed for the unsealing of the Judgment in the event that Plaintiffs seek to
have the Judgment enforced. This Court therefore agrees with Plaintiffs that
the Judgment should be unsealed at this time. Having considered Defendants’
argument, however, this Court also finds that Exhibit 1 to this matter should
For the foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ Motion to
Unseal Record and/or Judgment (Doc. 474) is GRANTED IN PART.
IT IS ORDERED that the Final Judgment in this matter (Doc. 469) be
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Exhibit 1 to the Final Judgment
(Doc. 469-1) remain SEALED.
New Orleans, Louisiana this 16th day of October, 2020.
JANE TRICHE MILAZZO
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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