United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
AT&T SERVICES, INC. and DIRECTV, LLC, Plaintiffs,
MAX RETRANS LLC, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. COLLINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court for the purposes of case
management. Currently before the Court are the parties'
motions for leave to file various documents under seal (Docs.
21, 26, 29, 35). In each instance, the responsible party also
filed a redacted version of the sealed document. The
parties' requests largely rely on the Court's
determination to grant Plaintiffs' motion for leave to
file their complaint under seal. In this initial request,
Plaintiffs asserted that the redacted matters in the
complaint included information of great commercial
sensitivity or may be subject to confidentiality obligations.
However, upon review of the Notice of Supplemental Authority
filed by Plaintiffs, the Court determined that much of the
previously redacted information has now been publicly
disclosed and that it could not find good cause to seal these
documents based on the prior representations of Plaintiffs.
Therefore, the Court vacated its prior order granting
Plaintiffs' motion or leave to file their complaint under
seal and directed Plaintiffs to show cause why the complaint
should not be unsealed. The Court further directed Plaintiffs
to file an updated redacted complaint and provide the Court
with particularized good cause for each portion of the
complaint for which they continue to seek redaction if
Plaintiffs were to seek continued sealing of the complaint
timely responded to the Court's Order and filed an
updated redacted complaint (Docs. 40-1, 42). Plaintiffs
indicate that that they no longer seek to maintain under seal
several pieces of information previously redacted based on
information publicly revealed in the supplemental authority
(Doc. 42 at 1). However, Plaintiffs request the continued
sealing of a number of items because they are competitively
sensitive or disclosure would violate Plaintiffs'
contractual obligations (Doc. 42). Plaintiffs provide
specific explanations for each of their requests (Doc. 42).
In support of their response, Plaintiffs filed the
Declaration of Linda Burakoff, Vice President, Content &
Programming for AT&T Mobility and Entertainment Group
(Doc. 42-1). Plaintiffs also indicate that Defendant concurs
that confidential information of the non-party station groups
should not be released (Doc. 42).
to Local Rule 13.05(A)(1), upon a showing of good cause, the
Court may order that documents filed in a civil case be
received and maintained by the Court under seal. In
determining whether good cause exists, the Court must balance
the interests of the party seeking the document's sealing
with the public's common-law right of access to judicial
records. IDT Corp. v. eBay, 709 F.3d 1220, 1222 (8th
Cir. 2013) (citing Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns,
Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978)). “This right of
access bolsters public confidence in the judicial system by
allowing citizens to evaluate the reasonableness and fairness
of judicial proceedings.” Id. (citation
omitted). The right also allows citizens to keep a vigilant
eye on the functioning of public agencies and provides a
gauge of accountability to the public at large. Id.
(citations and internal quotations omitted). “Where the
common-law right of access is implicated, the court must
consider the degree to which sealing a judicial record would
interfere with the interests served by the common-law right
of access and balance that inference against the salutary
interests served by maintaining confidentiality of the
information sought to be sealed.” Id. at 1223.
“[T]he decision as to access is one best left to the
sound discretion of the trial court . . . in light of the
relevant facts and circumstances of the particular
weighing the competing interests, the Court finds good cause
to grant Plaintiffs' revised request for sealing. As a
preliminary matter, the documents at issue here are judicial
records to which a common law right of access attaches.
Id. at 1222-23. The parties' interest in the
nondisclosure of the non-party station group, confidential
information regarding the Retransmission Consent Agreements
and the parties' negotiations, and Plaintiffs' rate
information outweighs the public's interest in access to
this specific information. Plaintiffs have diligently and
thoroughly supported the sealing of each nondisclosed line of
the complaint and properly provided a revised redacted
complaint to afford significant access to the public to the
underlying facts of the case. As such, the Court will grant
the Motion for Leave to File Under Seal Plaintiff's
Response to the Court's Order to Show Cause (Doc. 41) in
its entirety and grant, in part and deny, in part the
remaining motions for leave to file various documents under
seal (Docs. 5, 21, 26, 29, 35) in accordance with
Plaintiffs' current request and updated redacted
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs'
Motion for Leave to File Under Seal Plaintiff's Response
to the Court's Order to Show Cause (Doc. 41) is
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the remaining motions for
leave to file under seal (Docs. 5, 21, 26, 29, 35) are
GRANTED, in part and DENIED, in
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall
detach and docket Plaintiffs' updated Redacted Civil
Complaint, attached as an exhibit to the Plaintiffs'
Response to the Court's Order to Show Cause (Doc. 40-1).
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall file
updated redacted filings as to Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss within fourteen (14) days in accordance with this
order and the updated Redacted Civil Complaint. The operative