District Court Reverses Own Right-to-Be-Forgotten-Like Decision
From Monday’s order in Allen v. Chanel, Inc., by Judge Loretta A. Preska:
Before the Court are submissions … regarding the Court’s Order, dated August 21, 2020, that directed search engines and websites to remove materials discussing the above-captioned action following the Court’s sealing of the docket in this case. Also before the Court is a motion to intervene filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Inc. and Professor Eugene Volokh of UCLA School of Law.
Having reviewed these comments from non-parties and from Ms. Allen, the Court has reconsidered the August 21, 2020 Order as well as the March 10, 2020 Order that originally sealed this case’s docket….
In 2012, following termination of her employment, Plaintiff Anu Allen filed suit against her former employer, Chanel, Inc. (“Chanel”), asserting claims for, inter alia, employment discrimination. The Court later granted Chanel’s motion for summary judgment as to each of Ms. Allen’s claims and ruled in favor of Chanel on its counterclaim for unjust enrichment.
As the Court recounted in its summary judgment opinion, in anticipation of making a severance payment to Ms. Allen, Chanel sent Ms. Allen an agreement that contained a provision by which Ms. Allen would waive her right to bring certain lawsuits against Chanel, “including” employment discrimination and harassment claims, in exchange for that payment. When Ms. Allen returned the signed agreement to Chanel, the word “including” was revised to “excluding.” With respect to Chanel’s counterclaim, the Court found that, because a material term was modified, the parties never achieved a meeting of the minds, and Ms. Allen was thus required to return her severance payment to Chanel. The Parties ultimately stipulated to dismissal of the case’s remaining claims.
On January 10, 2020, Ms. Allen filed a motion to seal her case. Ms. Allen explained that at the time of her separation from Chanel, having no legal background, she had relied on her attorney’s advice when she returned the revised separation agreement to Chanel with a Post-It note on the revised page. She also stated that her attorney had insisted that she submit an affidavit stating that she, rather than her attorney, had modified the agreement. She also stated that the public availability of her case’s docket through online search engines, and commentary on her case in online media, rendered difficult her attempts to gain new employment.
After considering Ms. Allen’s submission, the Court granted Ms. Allen’s request to seal the docket in light of her difficulty finding employment. On August 21, 2020, the Court also directed websites hosting filings from the no
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