Gray v. Church Mutual Insurance Company et al
ORDER granting 62 Motion to Seal Document. Signed by the Honorable R Bryan Harwell on 9/15/2017. (hcic, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Rick Gray, d/b/a Rick Gray Ministries,
Church Mutual Insurance Company and
Civil Action No.: 4:15-cv-01546-RBH
ORDER ON MOTION TO SEAL
This matter is before the court on the motion of Defendants’ Church Mutual Insurance
Company and Bob Jurick to file a document entitled “Claims Best Practices” under seal. [ECF No.
62]. Plaintiff did not file a response in opposition.
The court has reviewed the materials submitted on this matter. In accordance with In
re Knight Publishing Company, 743 F.2d 231 (4th Cir. 1984), the court grants the foregoing motion
to seal on a temporary basis. Because In re Knight requires the court to provide public notice of a
party’s request to seal and allow interested parties an opportunity to object, this order temporarily
grants the motion to seal until September 20, 2017. If in the interim period any interested party
wishes to object to the permanent sealing of the document at issue, that party may file a notice of
appearance and state its objections. In the event any objections are filed, the court will schedule a
hearing on the motion to seal and hear the arguments of all parties. Should no objections be filed by
September 20, 2017, the temporary order will automatically convert to a permanent order to seal.
The court considered less drastic alternatives to sealing the requested document. The court
found that less drastic alternatives were not appropriate in this case, as the documents concern
confidential and proprietary information of Church Mutual Insurance Company that is used
internally and is not otherwise available to the public or competitors of Church Mutual. The court
has independently reviewed the document in camera and concludes that the document does not lend
itself to selective redaction.
The court finds persuasive the arguments of counsel in favor of sealing the document and
rejecting the alternatives. The record contains confidential, proprietary information that could
damage Church Mutual’s business if disclosed. The court notes that the litigant’s interest in
nondisclosure of such proprietary information outweighs the public’s right to access to this
document. See May v. Medtronic Inc., No. CA 6:05-794-HMH, 2006 WL 1328765, *1 (D.S.C. May
15, 2006). The confidential and sensitive nature of the information in the document at issue requires
that the document be sealed. Therefore, the court grants Defendants’ motion to seal [ECF No. 62] in
accordance with the limitations stated herein. Should no objections be filed by September 20, 2017,
this temporary order will automatically convert to a permanent order to seal.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
September 15, 2017
Florence, South Carolina
s/ R. Bryan Harwell
R. Bryan Harwell
United States District Judge
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