United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MICHAEL A. HAMMER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Dassault Falcon
Jet Corporation's motion to seal six documents in full
and portions of thirty-three other documents pursuant to L.
Civ. R. 5.3(c). See Mot. to Seal, D.E. 67. All of
the documents Defendant seeks to seal or redact were
submitted by the parties in connection with Plaintiff China
Falcon Flying Limited's motion for leave to file an
amended complaint. Id. Plaintiff opposes the motion.
The Court has considered the submissions in support of, and
in opposition to, the motion. Pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 78 and Local Civil Rule 78.1, the Court
decided this motion without oral argument. For the reasons
set forth below, the Court will grant Defendant's motion.
around 2009, Defendant retained Plaintiff for the purpose of
facilitating and brokering sales of Defendant's Falcon
Jets to buyers in China. Am. Compl. ¶¶6-8, D.E. 78.
At that time, the parties entered into a Finder's Fee
Agreement which provided that Plaintiff would be owed certain
commissions based on the successful consummation of Falcon
Jet sales brokered by Plaintiff. Id.
¶¶9-30. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant breached
the contract by refusing to pay the proper commission on six
separate sales of Falcon Jets. Id.
¶¶31-61. Plaintiff initiated this action on August
14, 2015 in a four count Complaint alleging: (1) Breach of
Contract; (2) Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and
Fair Dealing; (3) Quantum Meruit; and (4) Unjust Enrichment.
Compl. ¶22-39, D.E. 1.
January 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend
the Complaint. See Mot. to Amend, D.E. 56.
Defendant opposed the motion. The parties submitted
voluminous materials in support of, and in opposition to, the
motion to amend. On March 27, 2017, Defendant filed the
present motion to seal the entirety of certain documents and
portions of other documents submitted by the parties in
relation to Plaintiff's motion to amend. D.E. 67.
seeks to seal five categories of information: (1) detailed
pricing information on relevant Falcon Jet aircrafts, (2)
contracts between Defendant and third parties which contain
confidentiality provisions, (3) finder's fee agreements
between Defendant and Plaintiff and the amounts paid to
Plaintiff pursuant to these agreements, (4) Defendant's
net income statement for aircraft that are subject to the
Amended Complaint, and (5) transactional information between
Defendant and a third party, Minsheng Financial Leasing Co,
Ltd (“Minsheng”). See Br. in Supp. of
Mot. to Seal at 1-2, D.E. 68; see also Index in
Supp. of Mot. to Seal, D.E. 67-4. Defendant claims that
disclosure of this information, which has never been
previously available to the public, “could seriously
impair and injure DFJ's competitive position in the
marketplace.” Br. in Supp. of Mot. to Seal at 2, D.E.
has opposed this motion, arguing that the Defendant's
conclusory statements made in support of its motion to seal
are insufficient to meet the particularity requirement of L.
Civ. R. 5.3(c). Pl.'s Br. in Opp. to Mot. to Seal at 1,
D.E. 70. Furthermore, Plaintiff argues that Defendant has
failed to illustrate a sufficient harm that would result if
the documents were not sealed, and that Defendant's
proposal to completely seal six documents is not the least
restrictive method available. Id. at 6.
well settled that there is a “a common law public right
of access to judicial proceedings and records.” In
re Cendant Corp., 260 F.3d 183, 192 (3d Cir. 2001).
Therefore, when a moving party seeks an order sealing court
records, it must demonstrate that “good cause”
exists to overcome the presumption in favor of public access.
Securimetrics, Inc. v. Iridian Techs., Inc., Civ.
No. 03-4394, 2006 WL 827889 (D.N.J. Mar. 30, 2006).
Typically, a motion to seal is granted when the moving
party's private interest to seal documents outweighs the
public's interest in disclosing the information. See
CDK Global LLC v. Tulley Auto Grp., Inc., Civ. No.
15-3103, 2017 WL 870400, *4 (D.N.J. Mar. 3, 2017). In this
District, the Court looks to L. Civ. R. 5.3 to determine
whether a movant has demonstrated “good cause.”
L. Civ. R. 5.3(c) directs that a Court must consider the
following four factors:
(a) the nature of the materials or proceedings at issue;
(b) the legitimate private or public interest 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;
present motion to seal, Defendant has satisfied all four
factors, each of which will be discussed in turn below. As
such, the ...