United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER TO SEAL
LEDA DUNN WETTRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court by way of
defendants' motion to seal pursuant to L. Civ. R. 5.3(c).
ECF No. 131. Plaintiff opposes the motion in part.
Id. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is
GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN
an action arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Monell
v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978), in
which plaintiff alleges that the City of Newark's failure
to provide adequate training and supervision to its police
officers caused a willful violation of plaintiff s
constitutional rights. See ECF No. 1. Throughout
discovery, defendants have produced Internal Affairs
("IA") files and its officers have discussed those
files in a number of depositions. Defendants now seek to seal
the IA files and depositions discussing their contents,
attached as exhibits to the parties' summary judgment
Third Circuit holds that "there is a presumptive right
of public access to pretrial motions of a nondiscovery
nature, whether preliminary or dispositive, and the material
filed in connection therewith." Leucadia, Inc. v.
Applied Extrusion Techs., Inc., 998 F.2d 157, 164 (3d
Cir. 1993). Local Civil Rule 5.3 provides that the Court may
otherwise restrict public access to materials filed with the
Court and judicial proceedings upon a motion to seal
describe[ing] with particularly: (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.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
seek to seal three categories of documents, which the Court
will address in turn:
files at ECF Nos. 117-11, Ex. 1, 127-3, 127-4, and 127-5.
a. The IA files and their contents contain information
maintained by the Newark Police Department as confidential,
the disclosure of which could result in danger to the
officers involved, the chilling of witness participation in
the internal affairs process, and the disclosure of
confidential investigative techniques. The Attorney General
of New Jersey has determined that the nature and source of
internal allegations and their resulting materials should be
treated as confidential information. See Internal
Affairs Policy and Procedures,
visited April 23, 2019).
b. Defendants have a legitimate interest in protecting the
files from public disclosure and would suffer a clearly
defined injury if the information were to be made public.
c. There is no less restrictive alternative available other
than to seal the contents of the files. The Court will only
seal only that ...