Motions to Seal Should Themselves Generally Not Be Sealed
So holds Judge Gregory H. Woods (S.D.N.Y.), I think correctly, in Zabolotsky v. Experian (decided Tuesday):
On December 4, 2020, Plaintiff emailed the Court requesting that this case be sealed. The email was not styled as a motion, but the Court construes the submission as a motion to seal because “[t]he submissions of a pro se litigant must be construed liberally and interpreted ‘to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.'” Plaintiff also complained of a press article about her case that she asserts is misleading and improperly paints her as having mental health issues.
On December 9, 2020, the Court informed Plaintiff that “the Court anticipate[d] posting Plaintiff’s email to the docket in this case, unless the Court grants a motion to seal that communication.” On December 30, 2020, Plaintiff filed a motion to seal her email correspondence. While the Court understands Plaintiff’s privacy concerns, Plaintiff has not overcome the strong presumption of public access to judicial documents. As a result, Plaintiff’s motions to seal this case and her email correspondence are DENIED and Plaintiff’s email will be docketed.
There is a long-established “general presumption in favor of public access to judicial documents.” The Second Circuit has defined “judicial documents” as documents filed with a court that are “relevant to the performance of the judicial function and useful in the judicial process[.]” The presumption of access is “based on the need for federal courts … to have a measure of accountability and for the public to have confidence in the administration of justice.”
Applications to seal documents must therefor
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