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Techfields Pharma Co., Ltd. v. Covance, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 13, 2019

TECHFIELDS PHARMA CO., LTD., Plaintiff,
v.
COVANCE INC. and FISHER CLINICAL SERVICES, INC., Defendants.

          FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF JOINT UNOPPOSED MOTION TO SEAL PORTIONS OF APRIL 9, 2018 MOTION HEARING TRANSCRIPT

          HON. LOIS H. GOODMAN U.S.M.J.

         Defendant Covance Inc. ("Covance") and Defendant Fisher Clinical Services Inc. ("FCS") (collectively, "Defendants"), respectfully submit the following findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of their Joint Unopposed Motion to Seal the April 9, 2018 Motion Hearing Transcript which is unopposed by Plaintiff Techfields Pharma Co., Ltd. ("Plaintiff).

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. This action was commenced by Plaintiff on February 29, 2016 against Defendants.

         2. On December 22, 2017, Defendants filed an Omnibus Motion to Seal regarding all documents that they sought to have sealed in this action. ECF No. 102.

         3. On July 31, 2018, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order denying Defendants' Omnibus Motion to Seal without prejudice. The Court directed Defendants to submit a more streamlined request to seal, consistent with District of New Jersey Local Civil Rule ("Local Rule") 5.3(c), and directed Defendants to e-file correspondence attaching a revised Index U and any other relevant documents by August 31, 2018, at which time the Court would reopen the Omnibus Motion to Seal. ECF No. 132.

         4. On August 31, 2018, Defendants submitted a revised Index U reflecting a more narrowed scope of documents to be sealed, which was unopposed by Plaintiff. ECF No. 135.

         5. On September 24, 2018, the Court granted the Omnibus Motion to Seal, finding that Defendants had satisfied the requirements of Local Rule 5.3(c) and ordering sealed the material referenced in the Omnibus Motion to Seal. ECF No. 137

         6. On April 16, 2019, the Court directed the parties to review the transcript of the April 9, 2018 hearing on Defendants' motions to dismiss and Plaintiffs motion to strike (the "April 9, 2018 Transcript") to determine whether any material should be sealed pursuant to Local Rule 5.3(c).

         7. The April 9, 2018 Transcript contains references to confidential and commercially sensitive material that the Court sealed pursuant to its September 24, 2018 Order granting the Omnibus Motion to Seal. Defendants seek to seal the following statements in the April 9, 2018 Transcript referencing information about limitation of liability clauses in the parties' contracts that this Court ordered sealed on September 24, 2018:

a. Statements in the April 9, 2018 Transcript that reference highly commercially sensitive terms of the Clinical Services Agreement between Covance and Techfields ("CSA") addressing limitations of liability that are the product of extensive negotiations, the disclosure of which would put Covance at a significant disadvantage in future negotiations. Tr. 5:10 - 5:14 ("provides that - ... I would also"); 11:11-11:15 ("provisions of the CSA.... Techfields and Covance are"); 11:18 - 11:2l ("unambiguous provision. ... So there is no"); 11:23 - 11:25 ("Section 10.1 applies ... would be rendered").
b. Statements in the April 9 Transcript that reference highly commercially sensitive terms of the Master Clinical Services Agreement between Covance and FCS ("MCSA") addressing limitations of liability that are the product of extensive negotiations, the disclosure of which would put Defendants at a significant disadvantage in future negotiations. See Id. 15:1-15:4 ("And that clause ... That's another reason").

         8. The statements to be sealed disclose the contents of specific contract provisions containing commercially sensitive business information that, if made public, would affect Defendants' ability to compete for and negotiate competitive contracts of similar kind. The parties' contracts contain an express confidentiality provision and the contracts themselves are marked as confidential.

         9. It is in Defendants' interest to maintain the confidentiality of these underlying contractual provisions because they would be at a competitive disadvantage when negotiating future contracts and business relationships with manufacturers, vendors and suppliers if these contractual provisions were publicly disclosed. Such information is confidential commercially sensitive business information that Defendants have a legitimate interest in protecting because if a competitor or potential vendor gains access to such information, ...


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