Evergreen Health Cooperative Inc. v. Coresource, Inc.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING 15 Motion to Seal; DIRECTING Clerk to maintain motion and exhibits under seal pending instructions from the Court. Signed by Judge Ellen L. Hollander on 7/13/2015. (hmls, Deputy Clerk)
United States District Court
District Of Maryland
Ellen Lipton Hollander
District Court Judge
101 West Lombard Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
July 13, 2015
MEMORANDUM TO COUNSEL
Evergreen Health Cooperative, Inc. v. Coresource, Inc.
Civil Action No. 15-cv-01766
As you know, on June 16, 2015, plaintiff Evergreen Health Cooperative, Inc.
(“Evergreen”) filed a Complaint in this Court against defendant Coresource, Inc. (“Coresource”),
alleging breach of contract and unjust enrichment, and seeking a declaratory judgment as to the
parties’ rights under a Master Services Agreement. ECF 1. The case is related to another case
with the same parties and similar allegations filed by Coresource against Evergreen on March 19,
2015, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. See ECF 15 at 1.
On July 10, 2015, Coresource filed a “Motion for Leave to File Under Seal”. ECF 15
(“Motion to Seal”). Specifically, defendant asks the Court to seal another motion, Coresource’s
“Motion to Stay, Enter Summary Judgment or Dismiss” (ECF 17, “Motion to Stay”), and to seal
the seven exhibits appended to the Motion to Stay.1 In its Motion to Seal, Coresource offers the
following representations to justify the sealing, ECF 15 at 2:
5. The Motion to Stay makes arguments concerning and discussing
confidential terms … as well as confidential settlement terms … .
6. The Exhibits attached to the Motion to Stay are either confidential
pleadings which make arguments concerning and discussing confidential
documents, or are the confidential documents themselves.
7. No alternatives to sealing exist as it would expose highly confidential
information to the public.
The common law presumes the public and press have a qualified right to inspect and
copy all judicial records and documents. Doe v. Pub. Citizen, 749 F.3d 246, 265 (4th Cir. 2014)
(citations omitted); Va. Dep’t of State Police v. Washington Post, 386 F.3d 567, 575 (4th Cir.
2004), cert. denied, 544 U.S. 949 (2005); see also Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 448
The Motion to Stay was filed in error on July 10, 2015, at ECF 14, and refiled on July
13, 2015, at ECF 17, with exhibits at ECF 17-4 through ECF 17-10.
U.S. 555, 580 n.17 (1980) (“[H]istorically both civil and criminal trials have been presumptively
However, the common law right of access can be abrogated in “unusual
circumstances,” where “countervailing interests heavily outweigh the public interests in access.”
Rushford v. New Yorker Magazine, Inc., 846 F.2d 249, 253 (4th Cir. 1988); accord Minter v.
Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 258 F.R.D. 118, 121 (D. Md. 2009).
The common law right of access is buttressed by a “more rigorous” right of access
provided by the First Amendment, which applies to a more narrow class of documents, but is
more demanding of public disclosure. Rushford, 846 F.2d at 253. If a court record is subject to
the First Amendment right of public access, the record may be sealed “only on the basis of a
compelling governmental interest, and only if the denial is narrowly tailored to serve that
interest.” Stone v. University of Md. Med. Sys. Corp., 855 F.2d 178, 180 (4th Cir. 1988) (citing
Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court, 464 U.S. 501, 510 (1984)). “When presented with a
sealing request, our right-of-access jurisprudence requires that a district court first ‘determine the
source of the right of access with respect to each document, because only then can it accurately
weigh the competing interests at stake.’” Doe, 749 F.3d at 266 (4th Cir. 2014) (quoting Stone,
855 F.2d at 181). Also of relevance here, Local Rule 105.11 requires a party seeking to seal
documents to provide the court with “reasons supported by specific factual representations to
justify the sealing” and “an explanation why alternatives to sealing would not provide sufficient
In my view, defendant has not articulated a sufficient basis to retain under seal the
Motion to Stay and all of its exhibits. In other words, defendant does not establish a basis to
overcome the common law right of public access, nor does it satisfy Local Rule 105.11.
Notably, defendant requests that the Motion to Stay and all of its exhibits be sealed in their
entirety, without any discussion as to why alternatives to sealing these documents in their
entirety — such as filing redacted versions — would fail to provide sufficient protection.
Accordingly, I will deny the Motion to Seal (ECF 15), but without prejudice to the right
of defendant to renew the Motion, in compliance with Local Rule 105.11, and with proposed
redactions as appropriate, to be filed by July 23, 2015. If the renewed motion requests redactions
to certain documents, Coresource shall submit a proposed redacted version of every such
document, to be included on the public docket. In the interim, I will direct the Clerk to maintain
the Motion and the exhibits under seal, pending further instructions from the Court.
Despite the informal nature of this Memorandum, it is an Order of the Court, and the
Clerk is directed to docket it as such.
Very truly yours,
Ellen Lipton Hollander
United States District Judge
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