Belville et al v. Ford Motor Company
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER granting Plaintiffs' 848 MOTION to Seal Plaintiffs' 847 Motion to Compel; directing the Clerk to seal the motion and its supporting exhibits until further order of the court. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cheryl A. Eifert on 12/9/2016. (cc: counsel of record; any unrepresented parties) (jsa)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
CHARLES JOHNSON, et al.,
Case No.: 3:13-cv-06529
FORD MOTOR COMPANY,
MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER
Pending before the court is Plaintiffs’ Motion to Seal, (ECF No. 848), requesting
that Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel along with the attached exhibits, (ECF No. 847), be
sealed. Having reviewed the motion, and for good cause shown, the court GRANTS the
Motion to Seal, at least temporarily. The undersigned is cognizant of the well-established
Fourth Circuit precedent recognizing a presumption in favor of public access to judicial
records. Ashcraft v. Conoco, Inc., 218 F.3d 288 (4th Cir. 2000). As stated in Ashcraft,
before sealing a document, the court must follow a three step process: (1) provide public
notice of the request to seal; (2) consider less drastic alternatives to sealing the document;
and (3) provide specific reasons and factual findings supporting its decision to seal the
documents and for rejecting alternatives. Id. at 302.
In their motion to seal, Plaintiffs contend that the motion to compel and attached
exhibits contain materials previously designated as confidential under a Protective Order
entered in this litigation. (ECF No. 316). Accordingly, the Clerk is ORDERED to seal ECF
No. 847 and its supporting exhibits until further order of the court. The sealed documents
shall be designated as sealed on the docket, which the court deems to be sufficient notice
to interested members of the public. The court has considered less drastic alternatives to
sealing ECF No. 847 in its entirety; however, Plaintiffs claim that the information
designated as confidential is scattered throughout the motion and in the attached
exhibits. The parties have not had an opportunity to review the materials together to
determine what should be redacted. Accordingly, at this time, the motion to compel and
attached documents shall be sealed in their entirety to allow that conversation to take
place. Given that the parties will closely review the documents to determine what can be
unsealed, the court finds that temporarily sealing ECF No. 847, and its attachments, does
not improperly or significantly prejudice the public’s right to access court documents.
The Clerk is instructed to provide a copy of this Order to all counsel of record and
any unrepresented parties.
ENTERED: December 9, 2016
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