United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROBINSON CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant/Counter-Claimant Universal
Underwriters Insurance Co.'s (“UUIC”) Motion
for Leave to File Documents Under Seal (Doc. 698). UUIC seeks
to file an unredacted Application for Expert and
Attorneys' Fees, an unredacted Memorandum in Support, and
all exhibits in support of the application under seal. The
motion for leave asserts that the documents “refer to
confidential business information and information protected
by the attorney-client privilege and work product
courts “recognize a general right to inspect and copy
public records and documents, including judicial records and
documents.” The Court, however, does have
“discretionary power to control and seal, if necessary,
records and files in its possession.” “In
exercising this discretion, [the court] weigh[s] the
interests of the public, which are presumptively paramount,
against those advanced by the parties.” “The party
seeking to overcome the presumption bears the burden of
showing some significant interest that outweighs the
March 19, 2019 Memorandum and Order,  the Court awarded UUIC
reasonable expert and attorneys' fees as a sanction for
discovery misconduct by AKH Company, Inc.
(“AKH”), and directed UUIC to submit to the Court
an application for expert and attorneys' fees by no later
than April 29, 2019. The Court further directed the parties
to follow the procedure in D. Kan. Rule 54.2, which includes
a consultation requirement. Proposed sealed Exhibits A
through D are correspondence between attorneys for UUIC and
AKH regarding UUIC's fee request, in furtherance of the
consultation requirement. Exhibit E is an affidavit by UUIC
counsel Alanna G. Clair, itemizing the time and rates for
UUIC's attorneys who worked on the motion for sanctions,
and providing supporting information for UUIC's request
for expert fees.
party seeking an award of attorneys' fees has the burden
of proving both the number of hours spent and reasonableness
of the hourly rates. In order for the applicant to satisfy its
burden of proving the number of hours reasonably spent on the
litigation, the party must submit “meticulous,
contemporaneous time records that reveal all hours for which
compensation is requested and how those hours were allotted
to specific tasks.”
seeks to redact from its public filings even the total amount
of fees sought. But the amount sought and supporting records
are essential to UUIC's request for relief from this
Court, a request for which it carries the burden of proof.
Therefore, the public has a strong interest in being able to
review these documents in conjunction with this Court's
decision on the fee award. This is particularly true given
UUIC's conclusory assertion of privilege over documents
that have already been shared with opposing counsel. To the
extent UUIC seeks to protect this information because it
includes “confidential business information, ”
there is insufficient information in the motion or attached
documents for the Court to conclude that this basis for
the Court notes that while billing records are sometimes
properly filed under seal when submitted in support of a fee
request, not all information about attorneys' hours and
rates are typically filed under seal in this Court's
experience; it is certainly not standard that the amount of
the fee request is nonpublic. Such a practice would require
that the Court's fee awards, and judgments that include
fee awards, be filed under seal, insulating them from review.
UUIC has not met its burden of demonstrating that its
interest in the confidentiality of the amount of its fee
request or in the supporting documentation attached to its
motion outweighs the presumption in favor of public access.
Accordingly, UUIC's motion for leave to file under seal
is denied and the Court directs it to file amended unredacted
IS THEREFORE ORDERED BY THE COURT UUIC's Motion
for Leave to File Documents Under Seal (Doc. 698) is
denied. UUIC shall file amended unredacted
versions of their application for fees and memorandum in
IS SO ORDERED.
Doc. 698 at 1-2.
Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns,
Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978).
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