United States District Court, D. Kansas
P. O'Hara U.S. Magistrate Judge
has filed a motion (ECF No. 105) requesting leave to file
various documents under seal. Although plaintiff does not
attach the documents as exhibits to her motion, based on her
description, they appear to fall within the following
categories: medical records; discovery responses;
personnel/employee records; and other “records and
documents containing sensitive employment
information.” Because plaintiff has not fully complied
with D. Kan. Rule 5.4.6 and has not demonstrated her privacy
interests outweigh the public's interest in open court
proceedings, the motion is denied.
states in her motion that the parties' agreed protective
order (ECF No. 43) requires that “such confidential
material must be file[d] under seal.” This is not the
correct standard. “A party seeking to file court
records under seal must overcome a presumption, long
supported by courts, that the public has a common-law right
of access to judicial records.” This right derives from the
public's interest “in understanding disputes that
are presented to a public forum for resolution” and is
intended to “assure that the courts are fairly run and
judges are honest.” “The overriding concern [is] with
preserving the integrity of the law enforcement and judicial
processes.” To overcome the presumption in favor of
open records, “the parties must articulate a real and
substantial interest that justifies depriving the public of
access to the records that inform our decision-making
process.” This burden is a “heavy”
initial matter, plaintiff has not complied with D. Kan. Rule
5.4.6, which governs the sealing of documents. Plaintiff
fails to attach any exhibits to the motion so that the court
may evaluate whether there is any valid reason to seal these
documents. The court recognizes that plaintiff has
contemporaneously filed a motion to file exhibits
conventionally (ECF No. 106), which the court construes as
plaintiff's attempt to attach exhibits to her motion for
leave to file under seal. But without having the documents to
review, the court cannot evaluate which, if any, should be
sealed. The court will therefore grant plaintiff's motion
for leave to file exhibits conventionally so that plaintiff
may provide the court with the proposed documents to be
sealed. The court cautions plaintiff, in light of the vague
and broad description of the scope of the exhibits she
intends to file conventionally, to carefully evaluate which
of these documents truly meets the standards discussed above.
As a reminder, the burden to seal documents is high.
her failure to attach exhibits, plaintiff has failed to
submit a proposed order pursuant to D. Kan. Rule 5.4.6(a)(3).
Most significantly, plaintiff has not articulated any facts
upon which the court could conclude her interest in keeping
documents confidential would overcome the public's right
of access to the documents. All plaintiff offers in her
motion is a description of which types of documents she seeks
to seal, as well as the assertion that these documents must
be filed under seal under the terms of the protective order -
which, as discussed above, is not the correct standard.
Plaintiff's broad request to seal documents is therefore
THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to file
exhibits conventionally (ECF No. 106) is granted, although
the court advises plaintiff to carefully evaluate which, if
any, documents meets the standards for filing under seal
before re-filing any motion for leave to file under seal.
FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for leave to file
exhibits under seal (ECF No. 105) is denied. Plaintiff may
re-file a motion for leave to file under seal that fully
complies with D. Kan. Rule 5.4.6.
is hereby informed that, within 14 days after she is served
with a copy of this order, she may, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
72 and D. Kan. Rule 72.1.4(a), file written objections to
this order by filing a motion asking the presiding U.S.
district judge to review this order. Plaintiff must file any
objections within the 14-day period if she wants to have
appellate review of this order. If plaintiff does not timely
file her objections, no court will allow appellate review.
 ECF No. 105.
Eugene S. v. Horizon Blue Cross
Blue Shield, 663 F.3d 1124, 1135 (10th Cir. 2011);
accord Hatfield v. Price Mgmt. Co., No. 04-2563-JWL,
2005 WL 375665, at *1 (D. Kan. Feb. 16, 2005). See also
Mann v. Boatright, 477 F.3d 1140, 1149 (10th Cir. 2007)
(recognizing, “Courts have long recognized a common-law
right of access to judicial records, ” and citing
Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, 435 U.S. 589, 597
(1978)); United States v. Apperson, 642 Fed.Appx.
892, 898 ...