United States District Court, D. New Jersey
SCHNEIDER, United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on the renewed “Joint Motion
to Seal” [Doc. No. 215] filed by defendants. Plaintiff
does not oppose the motion. The Court is in receipt of the
Declaration of Yuling Lin (“Lin Decl.”) [Doc. No.
246] in further support of defendants' motion. Defendants
seek to seal certain portions of the June 14, 2016 Telephone
Discovery Conference Transcript (“Transcript”)
[Doc. No. 150] and plaintiff's July 15, 2016 letter to
the Court with exhibit A attached thereto [Doc. No. 132]. The
Court exercises its discretion to decide the motion without
oral argument. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 78; L. Civ. R. 78.1. For the
reasons to be discussed, defendants' motion is GRANTED.
noted, the instant motion represents the parties' second
attempt to seal the subject materials. Defendants initially
filed a motion to seal certain portions of the transcript
because a specific ingredient of defendants' Abbreviated
New Drug Application (“ANDA”) product was
referenced during the conference. First Mot. ¶ 5 [Doc.
No. 128-1]. Plaintiff initially filed a motion to seal
certain portions of its July 15, 2016 letter because
defendants designated certain information referenced in the
letter as “Highly Confidential” pursuant to the
Discovery Confidentiality Order (“DCO”) [Doc. No.
40]. Second Mot. at 2 [Doc. No. 131-1]. On February 24, 2017,
the Court denied both motions without prejudice, finding that
defendants failed to “show good cause to seal because
the motion[s] [are] not supported by the requisite
affidavit[s] executed by a person with personal knowledge of
the referenced facts.” Accordingly, the Court found it
was without sufficient information to determine whether the
motions satisfied the standards to seal pursuant to L. Civ.
R. 5.3(c) and Pansy v. Borough of Stroudsburg, 23 F.3d 772
(3d Cir. 1994). Feb. 24, 2017 Order at 1-2 [Doc. No. 205];
Feb. 24, 2017 Order at 2 [Doc. No. 206]. Defendants timely
filed their renewed motion to seal.
well-established there exists “a common law public
right of access to judicial proceedings and records.”
In re Cendant Corp., 260 F.3d 183, 192 (3d Cir. 2001)
(citation omitted). Whether or not the presumption of public
access applies a party seeking to seal information associated
with a judicial proceeding must demonstrate “good
cause.” Securimetrics, Inc. v. Iridian Techs., Inc.,
C.A. No. 03-4394 (RBK), 2006 WL 827889, at *2 (D.N.J. Mar.
30, 2006); Allied Corp. v. Jim Walter Corp., C.A. No.
86-3086, 1996 WL 346980, at *4 (E.D. Pa. June 17, 1996)
(“Although there is no public right of access to
discovery motions or the raw fruits of discovery, federal
judges are not free to indiscriminately permit parties to
pursue some or all of their discovery under the cloak of
court-ordered secrecy.”); Lite, New Jersey Federal
Practice Rules Comment 3 to L. Civ. R. 5.3 (Gann). Good cause
requires “a particularized showing that disclosure will
cause a ‘clearly defined and serious injury to the
party seeking closure.'” Securimetrics, 2006 WL
827889, at *2 (quoting Pansy, 23 F.3d at 786).
District motions to seal are governed by Local Civil Rule
5.3(c) which requires the moving party to describe: (a) the
nature of the materials or proceedings at issue; (b) the
legitimate private or public interest which warrants 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. In particular, “[b]road allegations
of harm, unsubstantiated by specific examples or articulated
reasoning” cannot satisfy the required showing of
“clearly defined and serious injury.” Pansy, 23
F.3d at 786 (citation omitted). Furthermore, “it is
well-settled that a party's classification of material as
protected or confidential does not automatically satisfy the
criteria for sealing pursuant to Local Civil Rule 5.3.”
In re: Benicar (Olmesarten) Prods. Liab. Litig., C.A. No.
15-2606 (RBK/JS), 2016 WL 266353, at *3 (D.N.J. Jan. 21,
Court now turns to defendants' renewed motion. As a
preliminary matter, the Court notes that defendants filed two
affidavits in support of the instant motion. See Yuling
Decl.; see also Declaration of John A. Sholar, Esquire
(“Sholar Decl.”) [Doc. No. 215-1]. The Court
finds that the two Declarations-executed pursuant to L. Civ.
R. 5.3(c)(3)-provide sufficient information to determine
whether defendants satisfied the standard to seal in this
District. The Court has reviewed the subject materials and
the Declarations filed in support of defendants' motion,
and the Court concludes that defendants have met their burden
under L. Civ. R. 5.3 and the applicable case law.
defendants have sufficiently described the nature of the
materials at issue. As to the transcript, defendants seek to
redact only a portion of one line of the transcript which
references a specific ingredient in defendants' ANDA
product. Sholar Decl. ¶ 9; Index at 1 [Doc. No. 215-2].
As to plaintiff's July 15, 2016 letter and the attached
exhibit A, defendants seek to seal certain portions which
reference defendants' “ANDA product and
commercially sensitive communications with the FDA concerning
[defendants'] ANDA product.” Sholar Decl.
¶ 10; Index at 1-3. Further, the Court finds that
defendants possess a legitimate private interest in keeping
the subject materials confidential. Defendants argue if the
subject materials are not sealed, it would give
defendants' competitors “in this highly competitive
pharmaceutical marketplace an insight into [defendants']
business operations and its highly confidential and
proprietary research and development, which would give them
an unfair advantage.” Sholar Decl. ¶ 15. After
reviewing the subject materials, the Court agrees there
exists a private interest in keeping these materials sealed.
The Court further finds that if the subject materials are
made public, defendants could be harmed by way of competitive
disadvantage in the pharmaceutical marketplace. Likewise, the
Court finds there is no less restrictive alternative than to
redact certain portions of the subject materials as
requested. This is so because defendants only seek to
protect materials that reference their ANDA product and
confidential communications with the FDA.
for the foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED this 24th day
of August 2017, that defendants' “Joint Motion to
Seal” [Doc. No. 215] is GRANTED; and it is further
that defendants shall submit to the court reporter a
Statement of Redaction and Sealing pursuant to L. Civ. R.
5.3(g)(2) regarding the transcript [Doc. No. 150] by August
31, 2017; and it is further
that upon submission of defendants' Statement of
Redaction and Sealing, a redacted version of the transcript
[Doc. No. 150] shall be submitted to the Clerk of the Court
for filing on the public docket; and it is further
that the Clerk of the Court is directed to maintain under
seal the complete unredacted transcript of the June 14, 2016
Telephone Discovery Conference [Doc. No. 150] and
plaintiff's July 15, 2016 letter with the attached
exhibit A [Doc. No. 132].
 “Any motion papers shall include
as part of an affidavit, declaration, certification or other
documents of the type referenced in 28 U.S.C. § 1746,
which shall be based on personal knowledge as required by