SABINSA CORPORATION V. HERBAKRAFT, INC., et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Robert B. Kugler on 8/4/22017. (dmr)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
(Doc. No. 71)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civil No. 14-4738 (RBK/KMW)
HERBAKRAFT, INC., et al.,
KUGLER, United State District Judge:
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Sabinsa Corporation (“Sabinsa”) and
Defendant Prakruti Products Pvt. Ltd.’s (“Prakruti”) Joint Motion to Seal (Doc. No. 71). For the
reasons expressed below, the Motion is GRANTED.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The Court provided a more detailed recital of the facts in its June 27, 2017 Opinion
granting in part and denying in part Sabinsa’s Motion to Reopen Action and Enforce Settlement
Agreement (“Opinion”). Sabinsa v. Herbakraft, Inc., No. 14-CV-04738 (RBK/KMW), 2017 WL
2784419 (D.N.J. June 27, 2017). Therefore, the Court will only provide a brief summary
sufficient to resolve the instant motion.
Sabinsa brought a patent infringement case against Prakruti on July 30, 2014 (Doc. No.
1). The parties eventually entered into a Settlement Agreement on January 7, 2015, and the Court
approved the Final Consent Judgment on March 9, 2015 (Doc. No. 34). On October 28, 2016,
Sabinsa field a Motion to Reopen Action and Enforce Settlement Agreement (Doc. No. 38). In
response to the Motion, Prakruti requested leave to file a sur reply on December 16, 2016 (Doc.
Nos. 61, 62), and Sabinsa submitted a letter opposing the request on December 19, 2016 (Doc.
No. 64). Both documents contained references to provisions of the Settlement Agreement and
process of manufacturing used by Prakruti, and the parties filed a Joint Motion to Seal those
portions on January 3, 2017 (Doc. No. 71).
Filed materials and judicial proceedings are subject to a presumptive right of public
access. Leucadia, Inc. v. Applied Extrusion Techs., Inc., 998 F.2d 157, 164 (3d Cir. 1993). In this
District, Local Civil Rule 5.3(c) governs all motions to seal or otherwise restrict public access to
judicial proceedings and materials filed with the Court. In order to place a docket entry under
seal, the motion to seal must be publicly filed and describe: “(a) the nature of the materials or
proceedings at issue, (b) the legitimate private or public interests which warrant the relief sought,
(c) the clearly defined and serious injury that would result if the relief sought is not granted, and
(d) why a less restrictive alternative to the relief sought is not available.” L. Civ. R. 5.3(c)(2). To
establish a clearly defined and serious injury, a party must provide a “particularized showing”
that is more than “[b]road allegations of harm, unsubstantiated by specific examples or
articulated reasoning.” Pansy v. Borough of Stroudsburg, 23 F.3d 772, 786 (3d Cir. 1994)
The parties seek to seal references to the Settlement Agreement. It is long established that
“the court’s approval of a settlement or action on a motion are matters which the public has the
right to know about and evaluate.” Enprotech Corp. v. Renda, 983 F.2d 17, 20 (3d Cir. 1993)
(citations omitted). A settlement document is a judicial record and subject to a presumptive right
of access “(1) when a settlement is filed with a district court; and (2) when the parties seek
interpretative assistance from the court or otherwise move to enforce a settlement provision.”
LEAP Sys., Inc. v. MoneyTrax, Inc., 638 F.3d 216, 220 (3d Cir. 2011) (citations omitted). In
LEAP Sys., the court found a right of public access to a transcript containing settlement terms
because the transcript was placed on the docket and the court retained jurisdiction to interpret
and enforce the agreements. Id. at 220–21. In the present matter, the Final Consent Judgment
provides the Court jurisdiction over the parties in the case of a dispute, including the authority to
enforce and oversee the provisions. Final Consent Judgment at 3, Sabinsa, 2017 WL 2784419
(D.N.J. Mar. 9, 2015). Furthermore, Sabinsa quite clearly sought to enforce the settlement by
moving to reopen the case. Thus, factor (a) tilts against granting the motion to seal. The
remaining factors, however, favor sealing excerpts from the Settlement Agreement. The parties
have in interest in maintaining the confidentiality of the terms, as they had agreed during
settlement negotiations. Furthermore, the parties contend that disclosure would advantage their
competitors in a marketplace that is highly competitive, and they would thus suffer a clearly
defined and serious injury. Lastly, the Motion is to seal only the specific parts of the sur reply
and letter that reference provisions from the Agreement, which is the least restrictive option.
The parties also move to seal portions of the sur reply and letter that discuss Prakruti’s
confidential business information. The Court finds that these sections describe, in much detail,
how Prakruti manufactures its products; therefore, Prakruti clearly has a business interest in
maintaining the secrecy of this information, and its disclosure would give competitors an unfair
advantage. Furthermore, the parties request that only relevant portions of the sur reply and letter
be sealed. Thus, the Court is satisfied that the parties have demonstrated the requirements to seal
the documents and grants the Motion to Seal.
For the foregoing reasons, the Motion to Seal is GRANTED.
s/ Robert B. Kugler
ROBERT B. KUGLER
United State District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?