Lossiah v. United States of America
ORDER that the Plaintiff's 50 Motion to Seal Portion Exhibits is GRANTED, and Exhibits 2 and 3 to the Plaintiff's Motion to Approve Settlement 48 and 49 shall remain under seal until further Order of this Cour t. Within 7 days of the entry of this Order, the Plaintiff shall file on the public docket a redacted version of Exhibits 2 and 3, which versions shall redact the names and dates of birth of the minor children at issue. Signed by Chief Judge Martin Reidinger on 9/6/2021. (hms)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
CIVIL NO. 1:18-cv-00134-MR
CANDY LOSSIAH, Administratrix of
the Estate of Anthony Edward
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff’s Motion to Seal
Portion Exhibits. [Doc. 50].
The Plaintiff moves to file under seal Exhibits 2 and 3 to the Motion to
Approve Settlement. [Doc. 50]. For grounds, the Plaintiff states that these
exhibits reference specific details of the parties’ settlement agreement that
the parties wish to keep confidential until such time as the settlement is
The press and the public have, under both the First Amendment and
the common law, a qualified right of access to judicial documents and
records filed in civil and criminal proceedings. Doe v. Public Citizen, 749
F.3d 246, 265 (4th Cir. 2014). “The common-law presumptive right of access
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extends to all judicial documents and records, and the presumption can be
rebutted only by showing that ‘countervailing interests heavily outweigh the
public interests in access.’” Id. at 255-56 (quoting in part Rushford v. New
Yorker Magazine, Inc., 846 F.2d 249, 253 (4th Cir. 1988)).
Amendment right of access “may be restricted only if closure is ‘necessitated
by a compelling government interest’ and the denial of access is ‘narrowly
tailored to serve that interest.’” Id. at 266 (quoting in part In re Wash. Post
Co., 807 F.2d 383, 390 (4th Cir. 1986)).
When presented with a motion to seal, the law of this Circuit requires
this Court to: “(1) provide public notice of the request to seal and allow
interested parties a reasonable opportunity to object, (2) consider less
drastic alternatives to sealing the documents, and (3) provide specific
reasons and factual findings supporting its decision to seal the documents
and for rejecting the alternatives.” Ashcraft v. Conoco, Inc., 218 F.3d 288,
302 (4th Cir. 2000).
In the present case, the public has been provided with adequate notice
and an opportunity to object to the Plaintiff’s motion. The Plaintiff filed the
motion on August 13, 2021, and it has been accessible to the public through
the Court’s electronic case filing system since that time. While the Plaintiff
seeks only a temporary sealing until such time as the settlement is approved
Case 1:18-cv-00134-MR Document 54 Filed 09/07/21 Page 2 of 3
[see Doc. 50 at 1], a review of these exhibits reveals that these documents
contain the names and birthdates of minor children. The Court finds that the
public’s right of access to such information is substantially outweighed by the
compelling interest in protecting the details of such information from public
Finally, having considered less drastic alternatives to
permanently sealing the documents, the Court concludes that requiring a
redacted version of these documents be filed on the public record while
allowing the permanent sealing of the unredacted version of these exhibits
is narrowly tailored and will adequately protect the privacy of the minor
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that the Plaintiff’s Motion to Seal
Portion Exhibits [Doc. 50] is GRANTED, and Exhibits 2 and 3 to the Plaintiff’s
Motion to Approve Settlement [Docs. 48 and 49] shall remain under seal until
further Order of this Court. Within seven (7) days of the entry of this Order,
the Plaintiff shall file on the public docket a redacted version of Exhibits 2
and 3, which versions shall redact the names and dates of birth of the minor
Signed: September 6, 2021
children at issue.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Case 1:18-cv-00134-MR Document 54 Filed 09/07/21 Page 3 of 3
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