Shelby Air Service, Inc. v. Nebel
ORDER denying 5 Motion for Default Judgment; granting 9 Motion to Seal; granting 9 Motion to Seal Document. Signed by District Judge Debra M. Brown on 8/18/17. (tab)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
SHELBY AIR SERVICE, INC.
STEVE NEBEL d/b/a AG AIR, LLC
This breach of contract action is before the Court on Shelby Air Service, Inc.’s motion to
seal, Doc. #9; and motion for default judgment, Doc. #5.
On March 27, 2017, Shelby Air Service, Inc. filed a complaint in this Court against Steve
Nebel seeking payment for Shelby Air’s provision of a pilot and a plane to Nebel on July 15, 2016.
Doc. #1. Nebel was served with a summons and a copy of the complaint on April 5, 2017. Doc.
#3. On April 24, 2017, Shelby Air filed a motion for entry of default and a motion for default
judgment. Doc. #4; Doc. #5. Two days later, on April 26, 2017, Nebel answered the complaint.
Doc. #6. By text order the next day, United States Magistrate Judge Jane M. Virden denied
Shelby Air’s motion for entry of default as premature.
On June 1, 2017, the parties advised the Court that a settlement had been reached on Shelby
Air’s claims. On August 17, 2017, Shelby Air filed a motion to enforce a settlement agreement,
Doc. #8; and a motion to file under seal the proposed settlement agreement, which was attached to
the motion to enforce, Doc. #9.
Motion for Default Judgment
“Entry of default is, itself, a prerequisite to entry of a default judgment.” Welch v. Prop
Transp. & Trading, LLC, No. 4:15-cv-187, 2017 WL 2402788, at *2 (N.D. Miss. June 1, 2017).
Because Judge Virden denied Shelby’s motion for entry of default, the motion for default
judgment will be denied.
Motion to Seal
Rule 79 of the Uniform Local Civil Rules provides that no document may be filed under
seal without a court order. L.U. Civ. R. 79(b). In this regard, Local Rule 79(d) instructs that
“[n]o document may be sealed merely by stipulation of the parties.” Though “[a] confidentiality
order or protective order entered by the court to govern discovery will not qualify as an order to
seal documents for purposes of this rule,” “[a] statute mandating or permitting the non-disclosure
of a class of documents provides sufficient authority to support an order sealing documents.”
L.U. Civ. R. 79(b), (d).
Rule 79 also directs:
Any motion to seal must be accompanied by a non-confidential supporting
memorandum, a notice that identifies the motion as a sealing motion, and a
proposed order. A party may also submit a confidential memorandum for in camera
review. The non-confidential memorandum and the proposed order must include:
(A) A non-confidential description of what is to be sealed;
(B) A specific request that the document or case:
(1) Be sealed from any access by the public and the litigants’ counsel;
(2) Be sealed from public access only, with CM/ECF access permitted to the
litigants’ counsel; or
(3) Be sealed only from public access in CM/ECF, but available for public
viewing at one or more terminals located within the Clerk’s office.
L.U. Civ. R. 79(e)(3).
Shelby Air failed to file a memorandum in support of its motion to seal. However,
because the document sought to be sealed has already been filed on the docket, the Court will
address the request to seal on its merits.
The decision whether to order judicial records sealed is committed to the sound discretion
of the district court, which must “balance the public’s common-law right of access against the
interests favoring nondisclosure.” SEC v. Van Waeyenberghe, 990 F.2d 845, 849 (5th Cir. 1993).
In doing so, the Court must apply a “presumption in favor of the public’s common law right of
Generally, where the documents sought to be sealed are exhibits to a dispositive motion,
the weight afforded to the public's common law right of access is necessarily greater. United
States v. Amodeo, 71 F.3d 1044, 1049 (2d Cir. 1995); Chi. Tribune Co. v. Bridgestone/Firestone,
Inc., 263 F.3d 1304, 1312 & n.11 (11th Cir. 2001). However, “the sealing of a confidential
settlement agreement generally raises less issues than the sealing of documents that the court
would have to use to make substantive rulings in a case.” CIBA Vision Corp. v. De Spirito, No.
1:09-cv-1343, 2010 WL 11506773, at *1 (N.D. Ga. Oct. 12, 2010).
Upon consideration, the Court concludes that the parties’ interest in keeping the terms of
their settlement from public view outweighs the interests favoring nondisclosure.
Accordingly, the motion to seal will be granted.
For the reasons above, Shelby Air’s motion for default judgment  is DENIED and its
motion to seal  is GRANTED. The Clerk of the Court is directed to seal the settlement
agreement [8-1] filed by Shelby Air.
SO ORDERED, this 18th day of August, 2017.
/s/Debra M. Brown
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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