Grady v. Smith et al
ORDER that Defendants' Motion to Seal Selected Medical Records Doc. 62 is GRANTED. The Clerk is respectfully instructed to permanently seal Exhibit 4 to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment Doc. [60-5]. Signed by Chief Judge Martin Reidinger on 9/9/2021. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.) (rhf)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
CIVIL CASE NO. 3:20-cv-00095-MR
TRACEY TERRELL GRADY,
B.S., et al.,
THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants’ Motion to Seal
Selected Medical Records [Doc. 62].
There is a “presumption under applicable common law and the First
Amendment that materials filed in this Court will be filed unsealed.” LCvR
6.1(a); see Rushford v. New Yorker Magazine, Inc., 846 F.2d 249, 253 (4th
Cir. 1988) (First Amendment right to access to court proceedings includes
criminal and civil cases). However, a court has authority to seal documents
before it based upon the court’s inherent supervisory authority over its own
files and records. See Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 598
(1978). The denial of access to documents under the First Amendment
must be necessitated by a compelling government interest that is narrowly
tailored to serve that interest. See In re Washington Post Co., 807 F.2d
Case 3:20-cv-00095-MR Document 68 Filed 09/09/21 Page 1 of 3
383, 390 (4th Cir. 1986); In re State-Record Co., Inc., 917 F.2d 124, 127 (4th
Cir. 1990). Before sealing judicial records, a court must identify the interest
that overrides the public’s right to an open court, and articulate supporting
findings specific enough that a reviewing court can determine whether the
order was properly entered. See Press–Enterprise Co. v. Superior Ct. of
Ca., 464 U.S. 501, 510 (1984); LCvR 6.1. When addressing motions to
seal, the Court must consider alternatives to sealing and specify whether
the sealing is temporary or permanent and also may redact such orders in
its discretion. LCvR 6.1.
Pro se Plaintiff filed this civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C § 1983 in
which he asserts claims of excessive force and retaliation. [See Doc. 21].
Defendants have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment that is supported by
Exhibit 4 [Doc. 60-5], consisting Plaintiff’s medical records which are
confidential pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability
Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Defendants argue that these records should be made
available only to the parties to this action and the Court.
The Court has considered alternatives to sealing and finds that
Plaintiff’s interest in the privacy of his medical records overrides the public’s
right to an open court in this case, that there is no alternative that will
adequately protect Plaintiff’s privacy concerns, and that permanently sealing
Case 3:20-cv-00095-MR Document 68 Filed 09/09/21 Page 2 of 3
the Exhibit at issue is warranted. The Motion will be granted for the reasons
set forth in the Motion and the Clerk of Court will be directed to permanently
seal Exhibit 4 to Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 60-5].
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion to Seal
Selected Medical Records [Doc. 62] is GRANTED.
The Clerk is respectfully instructed to permanently seal Exhibit 4 to
Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 60-5].
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Signed: September 9, 2021
Case 3:20-cv-00095-MR Document 68 Filed 09/09/21 Page 3 of 3
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