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Boris Goldenberg, et al v. Indel

January 3, 2012

BORIS GOLDENBERG, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
INDEL, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jerome B. Simandle

OPINION

SIMANDLE, District Judge:

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on Defendants American International Group, Inc., FSC Securities Corporation, SunAmerica Asset Management Corp., SunAmerica Capital Services, Inc., SunAmerica Fund Services, Inc., and Wharton Business Group's (collectively referred to as the "FSC/SunAmerica Defendants") motion to seal Exhibits A-C attached to the Declaration of John T. Genoy. [Docket Item 121.] Opposition has been filed by Plaintiffs Boris Goldenberg, Gerald Comeau, Andrew Leo, and Reinaldo Pachecho (collectively referred to as "Plaintiffs"). [Docket Item 126.] Defendants Indel Inc., Henry M. Rowan, David L. Braddock, Thomas P. McSchane, Manning J. Smith, Laurence A. Krupnick, and Harry G. Trefz took no position.

For the reasons discussed herein, the court will grant the FSC/SunAmerica Defendants' motion to seal in accordance with L. Civ. R. 5.3.

II. BACKGROUND

The instant motion seeks to seal Exhibits A-C attached to the Declaration of John T. Genoy. This Declaration was filed in support of FSC/SunAmerica Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment. [Docket Item 119.] The FSC/SunAmerica Defendants argue that Exhibits A-C contain information that has been designated as confidential, internal business information under the Discovery Confidentiality Order, entered by the court on March 8, 2011. [Docket Item 74.] Further, the FSC/SunAmerica Defendants maintain that these confidential documents contain confidential internal business arrangements between these affiliated defendants. This information is not available to the public and disclosure of such confidential information could seriously impair and injure the FSC/SunAmerica Defendants' competitive position in the marketplace. The FSC/SunAmerica Defendants argue that no less restrictive means are available other than sealing these exhibits. Therefore, the FSC/SunAmerica Defendants urge the court to grant their motion to seal.

The Plaintiffs oppose this motion to seal and argue the FSC/SunAmerica Defendants have not met their burden under L. Civ. Rule 5.3(c). The Plaintiffs maintain that the FSC/SunAmerica Defendants have not shown that they will suffer specific harm if these exhibits are not sealed. In addition to overbroad conclusory allegations of harm, the Plaintiffs further argue that the FSC/SunAmerica Defendants have not presented sufficient evidence to support their motion to seal. The Plaintiffs also argue that the instant motion provides no reasons why a less restrictive alternative to sealing is not available. Finally, the Plaintiffs argue that the public's interest in disclosure outweighs any interest the FSC/SunAmerica Defendants have identified for sealing the exhibits.

III. DISCUSSION

It is decidedly settled that there is "a common law public right of access to judicial proceedings and records." In re Cendant Corp., 260 F.3d 183, 192 (3d Cir. 2001). A movant must demonstrate that "good cause" exists to seal the requested records in order to overcome this presumption favoring a public right of access. Securimetrics, Inc. v. Iridian Technologies, Inc., No. 03-4394, 2006 WL 827889, at *2 (D.N.J. Mar. 30, 2006). "Good cause is established on a showing that disclosure will work a clearly defined and serious injury to the party seeking closure. The injury must be shown with specificity." Pansy v. Boro of Stroudsberg, 23 F.3d 772, 786 (3d Cir. 1994)(citing Publicker Indus. Inc. v. Cohen, 733 F.2d 1059, 1071 (3d Cir. 1984)).

Local Civil Rule 5.3 governs requests to seal documents and sets forth specific requirements. Under Local Civil Rule 5.3(c)(2), a party moving to seal must address four factors: "(a) the nature of the materials or proceedings at issue, (b) the legitimate private or public interests which warrant the relief sought, (c) the clearly defined and serious injury that would result if the relief sought is not granted, and (d) why a less restrictive alternative to the relief sought is not available."

As a threshold matter, the parties have previously agreed that these specific documents are confidential and if released to the public would cause FSC/SunAmerica Defendants serious injury. A Discovery Confidentiality Order was consented to by all parties in this litigation, including the Plaintiffs, to protect parties from the disclosure of confidential information during the course of discovery pursuant to L. Civ. R. 5.3(b). [Docket Item 74]. This discovery order provides:

Any party to this litigation and any third-party shall have the right to designate as "Confidential" and subject to this Order any information, document, or thing, or portion of any document or thing: (a) that contains trade secrets, competitively sensitive technical, marketing, financial, sales or other confidential business information or (b) that contains private or confidential personal information, or (c) that contains information received in confidence from third parties, or (d) which the producing party otherwise believes in good faith be entitled to protection under Rule 26(c)(1)(G) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Civil Rule 5.3.

All requests to seal documents filed with the Court shall comply with Local Civil Rule 5.3. [Docket ...


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