United States District Court, D. Kansas
PIPELINE PRODUCTIONS, INC., BACKWOOD ENTERPRISES, LLC, OK PRODUCTIONS, INC. and BRETT MOSIMAN, Plaintiffs,
THE MADISON COMPANIES, LLC and HORSEPOWER ENTERTAINMENT, LLC, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
KATHRYN H. VRATIL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion To
File Exhibits 2-3 Under Seal (Doc. #464) filed April 21,
2019. Defendants have not responded within the 14-day period
allowed under D. Kan. Rule 6.1(d). For reasons stated below,
the Court overrules plaintiffs' motion to file under
ask the Court to seal Exhibits 2 and 3 to their Reply In
Support Of Their Motion To Review Magistrate Judge's
Order Denying Leave To Amend Complaint And Memorandum In
Support (Doc. #460) filed April 17, 2019. See Motion
To Seal (Doc. #464). Exhibit 2 is the first page of a
consulting agreement between Horsepower Entertainment LLC and
Nathan Prenger. Exhibit 3 is an email exchange between Seth
Wolkov and Suzanne Land regarding Prenger's consulting
agreement. Plaintiffs base their request to seal these
exhibits on the protective order and defendants'
assertion that the documents should not be seen by the
public. Motion To Seal (Doc. #464) at 2.
courts have long recognized a common-law right of access to
judicial records. Mann v. Boatright, 477 F.3d 1140,
1149 (10th Cir. 2007). This right derives from the
public's interest in understanding disputes that are
presented to a public forum for resolution. See Nixon v.
Warner Commc'ns, 435 U.S. 589, 599 (1978);
Crystal Grower's Corp. v. Dobbins, 616 F.2d 458,
461 (10th Cir. 1980). The public interest in district court
proceedings includes the assurance that courts are run fairly
and that judges are honest. Crystal Grower's,
616 F.2d at 461-62. In determining whether documents should
be sealed, the Court weighs the public interest, which it
presumes is paramount, against the interests advanced by the
parties. Helm v. Kansas, 656 F.3d 1277, 1292 (10th
Cir. 2011); Crystal Grower's, 616 F.2d at 461.
The party seeking to overcome the presumption of public
access must show that interests which favor non-disclosure
outweigh the public interest in access to court proceedings
and documents. See Mann, 477 F.3d at 1149;
Colony Ins. Co. v. Burke, 698 F.3d 1222, 1241 (10th
Cir. 2012). The party must articulate a real and substantial
interest which justifies depriving the public of access to
the records which inform the Court's decision-making
process. Colony Ins., 698 F.3d at 1241; see also
Williams v. FedEx Corp. Servs., 849 F.3d 889, 905 (10th
do not explain why the information in the exhibits, if
disclosed, might be harmful to either party. Further, they do
not demonstrate that redaction would be insufficient to
protect any real and substantial privacy interests. Instead,
plaintiffs note that they are unable to ascertain the
specific content which defendants deem confidential.
Plaintiffs do not explain why they did not consult with
defense counsel to ascertain the nature of the allegedly
confidential information. Presumably, defendants could have
explained this to the Court if they had responded to
plaintiffs' motion. Plaintiffs' statement that
defendants have asserted that the exhibits should be kept
confidential, by itself, does not establish good cause for
sealing the documents. The Court therefore overrules
plaintiffs' motion to seal Exhibits 2 and 3.
Court notes that it has spent substantial time and resources
explaining to the parties the principles which govern the
sealing of documents. Since December of 2018, this is the
seventh such order on this point. See Memorandum And
Order (Doc. #475) filed April 29, 2019; see also
Order (Doc. #465) filed April 22, 2019; Order
(Doc. #449) filed April 5, 2019; Order (Doc. #410)
filed February 12, 2019; Memorandum And Order (Doc.
#390) filed January 24, 2019; Memorandum And Order
(Doc. #380) filed January 18, 2019; Memorandum And
Order (Doc. #346) filed December 10, 2018.
Court orders that prior to filing future motions to seal, the
parties engage in good faith efforts to resolve the issues
without court intervention. The Court also advises counsel
that in the event it overrules a future motion to seal based
on the protective order, it may levy a personal sanction of
up to $1000.00 on every attorney of record in this case.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 11; D. Kan. Rule 11.1(c)(1); see White v.
Gen. Motors Corp., 908 F.2d 675, 683 (10th Cir. 1990)
(citing Cooter & Gell v. Hartmarx Corp., 496
U.S. 384, 393 (1990)) (primary purpose of Rule 11 sanctions
is deterrence of baseless filings in district court); see
also Scherer v. Washburn Univ., No. 05-2288-CM, 2006 WL
2920725, at *4 (D. Kan. Oct. 11, 2006) (warning imposition of
sanctions for any future frivolous arguments); McNeal v.
Zobrist, No. 04-2149-JAR, 2007 WL 121156, at *3 (D. Kan.
Jan. 11, 2007) (sanctioning counsel to deter future frivolous
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Motion
For Leave To File Exhibits 2-3 Under Seal (Doc. ...