Pukt et al v. Nexgrill Industries, Inc.
ORDER re: sealed documents/Objections 131 , 132 and 133 . Court will vacate its order dated 7/7/16 re: sealing; objections and exhibits will be unsealed on 8/29 unless a further response from defendant persuades the court otherwise before then. Response deadline set for 8/29/2016. So Ordered by Judge Joseph A. DiClerico, Jr.(dae)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
Joseph and Barbara Pukt
Civil No. 14-cv-215-JD
Opinion No. 2016 DNH 151
Nexgrill Industries, Inc.
O R D E R
Joseph and Barbara Pukt brought suit against Nexgrill
Industries, Inc., alleging claims that arose from damage to
their property after a grill manufactured by Nexgrill caught
On July 19, 2016, the court ordered Nexgrill to show
cause why the Pukts’ objections to certain motions in limine,
which included exhibits that Nexgrill had marked confidential,
should remain sealed.
Nexgrill filed a response, asserting that
there was good cause to keep the objections and exhibits sealed.
The Pukts filed a response to Nexgrill’s submission, asserting
that they could not articulate a good cause why the objections
and exhibits should remain sealed.
Standard of Review
“Public access to judicial records and documents allows the
citizenry to ‘monitor the functioning of our courts, thereby
insuring quality, honesty and respect for our legal system.’”
Nat'l Org. for Marriage v. McKee, 649 F.3d 34, 70 (1st Cir.
2011) (quoting FTC v. Standard Fin. Mgmt. Corp., 830 F.2d 404,
410 (1st Cir.1987)).
Accordingly, a presumption exists that
documents submitted to the court in litigation and on which the
court relies in determining substantive issues in the case
should be available to the public.
See In re Providence Journal
Co., 293 F.3d 1, 9 (1st Cir. 2002); United States v. Ciccolo,
2015 WL 9294206, at *3 (D. Mass. Dec. 21, 2015).
presumption can “be overcome by competing interests,” “only the
most compelling reasons can justify non-disclosure of judicial
Id. (quoting Standard Fin. Mgmt. Corp., 830 F.2d at
As the party seeking to keep the documents sealed,
Nexgrill bears the burden of making a showing compelling enough
“to overcome the presumption of public access.”
Nexgrill contends that the objections and exhibits should
remain under seal because some of the exhibits were only
produced to the Pukts by the Consumer Product Safety Commission
after Nexgrill and the Pukts’ counsel executed a confidentiality
However, “[t]he fact that the parties agreed to keep
documents confidential, by itself, is insufficient to overcome
the public interest in access to the documents.”
Davis, No. CV 10-4010-KHV, 2016 WL 1170949, at *3 (D. Kan. Mar.
23, 2016) (collecting cases).
Beyond referring to the
confidentiality agreement, Nexgrill does not provide any
compelling reason for why the Pukts’ objections and the exhibits
should be kept under seal.1
For example, although Nexgrill
relies on the confidentiality agreement, it does not explain how
any of the relevant material is confidential or otherwise
protected from disclosure.
Therefore, Nexgrill has not shown
that a compelling interest exists that overcomes the presumption
in favor of public disclosure.
Accordingly, the objections and exhibits will not remain
For the foregoing reasons, the court will vacate its order
sealing the relevant material (endorsed order, July 7, 2016).
To the extent Nexgrill argues that the exhibits should be
sealed based on the Consumer Product Safety Act’s public
disclosure provision, see 15 U.S.C. § 2055, Nexgrill has not
sufficiently developed an argument as to why that statute
requires sealing documents in this litigation. See Higgins v.
New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., 194 F.3d 252, 260 (1st Cir.
1999) (“The district court is free to disregard arguments that
are not adequately developed . . . .”).
The Pukts’ objections and the attached exhibits (doc. nos. 13133) will be unsealed on August 29, unless a further response
from Nexgrill persuades the court otherwise before then.
/s/ Joseph A. DiClerico, Jr.
Joseph A. DiClerico, Jr.
United States District Judge
August 23, 2016
cc: Raymond E. Mack, Esq.
Joseph L. McGlynn, Esq.
Kevin Truland, Esq.
Richard F. Wholley, Esq.
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