United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
Terence P. Kemp Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER
M. SARGUS, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on defendants Nationwide
Children's Hospital, Inc., the Center for Family Safety
and Healing, the Center for Child and Family Advocacy, Dr.
Farah Wadia Brink, Dr. Jonathan Thackeray, and Dr. Corey J.
Rood's ("Defendants") Motion to Seal
Permanently Depositions and Portions of Plaintiffs' Brief
in Opposition to Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment
(Def. Mot. to Seal, ECF No. 182.) Plaintiffs have
filed a Memorandum in Opposition (PI. Mem. Opp., ECF
No. 185), and in turn, Defendants have filed a Reply
(Reply, ECF No. 186). On May 19, 2017 this Court
issued an Order granting summary judgment to Defendants.
(Op. & Order, ECF No. 187.) Plaintiffs filed an
appeal, the Sixth Circuit entered a judgment of affirmance
(ECF No. 192), and on March 8, 2018, the Sixth Circuit issued
its mandate (ECF No. 193). The motions are ripe for
March 27, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiffs' Motion to
File Summary Judgment Opposition and Supporting Materials
Temporarily Under Seal. (Op. & Order,
ECF No. 173.) The Court further ordered that:
Any party that wishes all or any portion of the opposition
and supporting materials to remain under seal shall file a
motion to seal on or before April 6, 2017, supported as
required by Shane Group, Inc. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield
of Michigan, 825 F.3d 299 (6th Cir. 2016).
timely moved the Court to seal permanently five depositions,
and to redact portions of Plaintiffs' brief. (Def.
Mot. to Seal, ECF No. 182, at p. 1.) Specifically,
Defendants seek to file a redacted version of Plaintiffs'
brief filed in opposition to summary judgment (ECF No. 181),
and to retain under seal five deposition transcripts:
ECF No. 174, Deposition of Children's social worker
Tishia Richardson and exhibits thereto;
ECF No. 176, Deposition of Children's physician, Dr.
Corey Rood and two exhibits thereto;
ECF No. 178, Deposition of Cheryl Hiatt, Volume II and four
ECF No. 179, Deposition of Shawn Chambers and four exhibits
ECF No. 180, Deposition of Children's physician Dr.
Elizabeth Claxton and exhibits thereto.
(Id.) Defendants assert that "[t]hese
depositions contain confidential information related to the
minor-Plaintiffs' medical records, and protected health
information of non-party patients of Children's."
(Id.) Defendants address in detail each filing, and
the supporting rationale for maintaining them under seal. In
a somewhat unusual posture, Plaintiffs, who originally moved
to file under seal (ECF No. 172), oppose maintaining these
records under seal, and assert that "NCH cannot prevent
Plaintiffs from filing their own information in the public
record." (PL Mem. Opp., ECF No. 185,
at p. 1.) However, as the Sixth Circuit explained in
Shane Group, the parties' positions are not
controlling in the Court's determination of whether
records should be sealed.
MOTION TO SEAL STANDARD
Shane Group, the Sixth Circuit decided a case where
the district court had sealed records in a class action
lawsuit, including filings and 194 exhibits, such that,
"at the parties' behest, it sealed from public view
most of the court filings and exhibits that underlay the
proposed settlement in this case." 825 F.3d, at 304. The
Court noted the strong public interest in the court records
in a class action case, and that "[c]lass members cannot
participate meaningfully in the process contemplated by
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) unless they can review
the bases of the proposed settlement and the other documents
in the court record." Id., at p. 309. The
Shane Group Court further explained the difference
between blanket "protective orders" used during
discovery, and orders to seal court records:
By way of background, there is a stark difference between
so-called "protective orders" entered pursuant to
the discovery provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
26, on the one hand, and orders to seal court records, on the
other. Discovery concerns the parties' exchange of
information that might or might not be relevant to their
case. "Secrecy is fine at the discovery stage, before
the material enters the judicial record." Baxter
Int'l, Inc. v. Abbott Labs.,297 F.3d 544, 545 (7th
Cir. 2002). Thus, a district court may enter a protective
order limiting the use or disclosure of discovery materials
upon a mere showing of "good cause[.]" Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(c)(1). These orders are often blanket in nature, and allow