United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MCNULTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
this Court is a motion (ECF No. 30) by petitioner Ravidath
Ragbir for an Order sealing Exhibit A to his February 2, 2018
reply memorandum, the Declaration of Dr. Allen Keller (ECF
No. 29, Exh. A). The respondent, the United States, did not
file an opposition to the motion.
reasons stated herein, the motion is granted.
February 2017, Mr. Ragbir filed a petition for a writ of
coram nobis, seeking to vacate his 2001 conviction
for wire fraud and conspiracy (or alternatively, modify his
sentence). (ECF No. I).
from Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Ragbir was admitted to the
United States as a lawful permanent resident in February
1994. (Gov't Ex. 1). In November 2000, he was convicted
of wire fraud and conspiracy, and sentenced to 30 months'
imprisonment. (Gov't Ex. 2; Castle Cert. ¶¶
5-6). On the basis of his conviction of that aggravated
felony, in August 2006 he was ordered removed from the United
States. (Gov't Ex. 1; Castle Cert. ¶¶ 7-8). He
was granted multiple stays of removal, but on January 11,
2018, was detained in anticipation of removal. On that same
date, Mr. Ragbir filed a motion for an order to show cause
for an emergency stay of removal while this Court considered
his petition. (ECF No. 15). Thereafter, this Court issued an
order to show cause ordering the Government to show cause as
to why Mr. Ragbir's application for an emergency stay of
removal should not be granted. (ECF No. 16).
January 23, 2018, the Government filed its opposition (ECF
No. 22), and one week later, on January 30, 2018, it filed a
letter apprising the Court of recent decisions. (ECF No. 27).
February 2, 2018, Mr. Ragbir filed a reply. (ECF No. 28). In
support of his argument that he faced irreparable harm in the
absence of a stay, Mr. Ragbir filed (under temporary seal)
Exhibit A, the Declaration of Dr. Allen Keller. (ECF No. 29,
Exh. A). Dr. Keller is an internist and tenured Associate
Professor of Medicine who is the co-founder and Director of
the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture.
(Id. at ¶¶ 1-2). Dr. Keller conducted a
clinical evaluation of Mr. Ragbir on January 28, 2018.
(Id. at ¶ 2). This evaluation assessed Mr.
Ragbir's "physical, mental, and overall health"
and included, in part, a review of Mr. Ragbir's medical
history, a physical examination, and a mental status
examination. (Id. at ¶ 14). Dr. Keller's
findings are set forth in his Declaration. (Id. at
¶¶ 12, 16-55).
Ragbir filed a motion to seal the Declaration. (ECF No. 30).
In support of his motion, he submitted the certification of
his counsel. (Thompson Cert.) The motion is unopposed.
is well-settled that there exists, in both criminal and civil
cases, 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). When a
party files a motion to seal, he or she must demonstrate that
"good cause" exists for protection of the material
at issue. E.E.O.C. v. Kronos Inc., 620 F.3d 287, 302
(3d Cir. 2010) (citing Pansy v. Borough of
Stroudsburg, 23 F.3d 772, 785-86 (3d Cir. 1994)).
"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, 23 F.3d at 786 (quoting
Publicker Indus., Inc. v. Cohen, 733 F.2d 1059, 1071
(3d Cir. 1984)).
Local Civil Rule 5.3(c)(3) requires that a motion to seal
describe "with particularity": (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; (d) why a less
restrictive alternative to the relief sought is not
available; (e) any prior order sealing the same materials in
the pending action; and (f) the identity of any party or
nonparty known to be objecting to the sealing request.
party seeking the order, here, Mr. Ragbir, has the burden of
demonstrating that there is good cause to seal the document.
Pansy, 23 F.3d at 786-87.
Ragbir asserts that he has a legitimate private interest in
keeping his medical and psychological evaluation out of the
public record. (Thompson Cert. ¶ 3). He emphasizes that
he is a nationally-recognized immigrant-rights activist who
will suffer "serious injury, including continuing
trauma," if his personal medical and psychological
history is released into the public record. (Id.)
Mr. Ragbir further points out that, ...