Silicon Knights, Inc. v. Epic Games, Inc.
ORDER: Granting 443 Motion to Seal; granting 487 Motion to Seal Document ; granting 490 Motion to Seal; granting 497 Motion to Seal; granting 497 Motion to Seal Document ; granting 502 Motion to Seal; granting 509 Motion to Seal; granting 512 Motion to Seal; granting 515 Motion to Seal; granting 517 Motion to Seal. Signed by USMJ James E. Gates on 6/14/2010. Copies served. (Sawyer, D.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
SILICON KNIGHTS, INC., Plaintiff, v. EPIC GAMES, INC., Defendant.
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This case comes before the court on nine unopposed motions to permanently seal documents filed under temporary seal. Five ofthese motions are by defendant and counterclaim plaintiff Epic Games, Inc. ("Epic") (D.E. 443-2,1 497, 509, 512, 517) and apply to the following documents, respectively: (1) Epic's memorandum (D.E. 437) in support of its motion for sanctions (D.E. 436), and the supporting deposition transcripts of Sean Thompson (D.E. 438, 439) and Douglas Tooley (D.E. 441,442); (2) Epic's motion (D.E. 495) for leave to file its first amended counterclaim, the proposed first amended counterclaim (D.E. 495-1), the supporting deposition transcripts of James O'Reilly (D.E. 495-2), and Epic's supporting memorandum (D.E. 496); (3) the hearing transcript of the 4 February 2010 status conference (D .E. 482); (4) E p i c ' s memorandum (D .E. 511) in opposition to the motion by plaintiff and counterclaim defendant Silicon Knights, Inc. ("SK") to retain under seal the entirety of the court's order of22 February 2010 imposing sanctions ("Sanctions Order") (D.E. 485); and (5) E p i c ' s reply (D.E. 516) in support of its motion for leave to file its first amended counterclaim. Four of the motions to seal are by SK (D.E. 487, 490, 502, 515) and apply to the following documents, respectively: (1) the O'Reilly List (as defined in the Sanctions Order at 3)
1 T h e wrong document was inadvertently d o c k e t e d in p l a c e of the m o t i o n at D.E. 443 o n the date o f f i l i n g . The motion was subsequently docketed at D.E. 443-2.
(D.E. 486, 486-1 to 486-6) and a related key (D.E. 486-7), filed as directed in the Sanctions Order; (2) a copy of all infonnation SK obtained in response to the O'Reilly List (D.E. 489,489-1 to 489 33), also filed pursuant to the Sanctions Order; (3) SK's notice of filing (D.E. 500) and declaration of Robert Zdybel (D.E. 501, 501-1), also filed pursuant to the Sanctions Order; and (4) SK's memorandum (D.E. 514) in opposition to Epic's motion for leave to file its first amended counterclaim and the supporting exhibits (D.E. 514-1 to 514-3). For the reasons set forth below, the court will ALLOW each of the motions to seal. DISCUSSION The Fourth Circuit has directed that before sealing publicly filed documents the court must first detennine if the source of the public's right to access the documents is derived from the common law or the First Amendment. Stone v. Univ. ofMd., 855 F.2d 178, 180 (4th Cir. 1988). The common law presumption in favor of access attaches to all judicial records and documents, whereas First Amendment protection is extended only to certain j u d i c i a l records and documents, for example, those filed in connection with a summary judgment motion. Id. Here, the documents sought to be sealed were filed in connection with discovery motions or otherwise relate to discovery, and were not submitted in support of or opposition to any motions that seek dispositive relief. 2 Therefore the right of access at issue arises under the common law. See Covington v. Semones, No. 7:06-CV-614, 2007 WL 1170644, at *2 (W.D. Va. 17 April 2007) ("In this instance, as the exhibits
2 The declaration of Robert Zdybel (D.E. 501, 501-1) that is the subject of SK's motion to seal at D.E. 502 relates to information that SK previously submitted in support of its motion (D.E. 412) for partial summary judgment. This declaration itself, however, was not submitted in support of the summary judgment motion, but, as indicated, in response to the Sanctions Order.
at issue were filed in connection with a non-dispositive motion, it is clear there is no First Amendment right of access."). The presumption of access under the common law is not absolute and its scope is a matter left to the discretion of the district court. Virginia Dep 't ofState Police v. Washington Post, 386 F.3d 567, 575 (4th Cir. 20
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