Bugg v. Benson et al
ORDER granting 21 Motion to Seal Document 2 Complaint. The Complaint will remain sealed. Signed by Judge David Nuffer on 09/19/2022. (jl)
Case 4:22-cv-00062-DN-PK Document 22 Filed 09/19/22 PageID.204 Page 1 of 3
THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF UTAH
RICHARD BUGG, an individual,
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND
ORDER GRANTING AMENDED MOTION
TO SEAL PREVIOUSLY FILED
MINDY BENSON, President of the Southern
Utah University, KEVIN PRICE, Assistant
Vice President, Human Resources, JON
ANDERSON, Provost, JAKE JOHNSON,
Title IV Coordinator, BRIAN SWANSON,
Chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance &
Arts Administration, SHAUNA MENDINI,
Dean of Department of Theatre, Dance & Arts
Administration, and DOES 1-25,
Case No.4:22-cv-00062 - DN
District Judge David Nuffer
This case involves a dispute between a professor (“Professor”) and officials of the
university which employs him (“University”). The Professor is opposed to the University’s
sanctions for his refusal to address a student by their preferred non-binary plural pronouns. The
sanctions also prospectively require the Professor to honor any and every request for personal
pronouns that any student may make of him, though with no limit to what those pronouns might
In the administrative proceedings below, the University’s officials strenuously
emphasized to counsel for the Professor that all student names should be kept confidential to the
Amended Complaint, docket no. 6, filed August 31, 2022; Motion to Seal Previously Filed Document (“Motion to
Seal”), docket no. 17, filed September 6, 2022; Amended Motion to Seal Previously Filed Document (“Amended
Motion to Seal”), docket no. 21, filed September 8, 2022.
Case 4:22-cv-00062-DN-PK Document 22 Filed 09/19/22 PageID.205 Page 2 of 3
maximum extent possible to provide a safe environment for all students and one where students
are unafraid of steeping forward with complaints under Title IX.
Since the identity of the two students who initiated the complaints against the Professor is
irrelevant to the proceedings in this Court, the Professor did not see any reason to force the
students, even though adults, to be subjected to the possibility of unnecessary harassment, and,
for that reason, did not identify the students in his Complaint to protect them while this case goes
Counsel for the Professor did not notice that one of the exhibits (Exhibit B) which was at
the end of the original Complaint 2 twice stated the name of one of the students in question.
Counsel immediately filed an Amended Complaint, identical in all respects to the original
Complaint, except that the name of the student in the exhibit in question was redacted. Counsel
filed a formal Motion to Seal 3 the original Complaint which was denied, 4 and then filed this
Amended Motion to Seal Previously Filed Document.
Several errors have occurred in the initial stages of this case. First, the individual who
counsel admits need not be named was named. Second, redaction was not done in the first
instance. 5 Third, the exhibits to the Complaint (and Amended Complaint) were filed en masse
and not as separate documents which would have allowed the individual exhibit to be sealed
after the error was discovered. 6
Exhibits to Amended Complaint at 6-8, docket no. 6-1, filed August 31, 2022.
Motion to Seal, docket no. 17.
Docket Text Order Denying Motion to Seal, docket no. 20, filed September 8, 2022.
See DUCivR 5.2-1(a).
District of Utah CM/ECF and Efiling Administrative Procedures Manual, II. E.
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However, counsel has done their best to remedy the errors, as stated previously. “The
common-law right of access to judicial records is ‘not absolute,’ and [a court] may seal
documents if the public's right of access is outweighed by competing interests.” 7 The public’s
right of access to the information in the Complaint has not been hindered because the alteration
was minuscule: a redaction of two words.
Therefore, Plaintiff’s Amended Motion to Seal Previously Filed Document 8 is hereby
GRANTED. The Complaint will remain sealed.
Signed September 19, 2022.
BY THE COURT
United States District Judge
Suture Express, Inc. v. Owens & Minor Distribution, Inc., 851 F.3d 1029, 1046-7. (10th Cir. 2017).
Amended Motion to Seal, docket no. 21.
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