Saturday, February 17, 2018

LR 5.3: Civil Material Filed Under Seal

(a) Sealing Items Authorized by Statute or Rule. When a statute or rule authorizes filing a document or other item under seal in a civil case, the item may be filed without a court order.

(1) A separate notice of filing under seal must be filed before filing an item under seal.

(2) The notice must include:

(A) a citation to the statute or rule authorizing the seal;

(B) an identification and description of each item submitted under seal; and

(C) a statement establishing that the items are within the statute or rule authorizing the seal.

(b) Sealing Items Not Authorized by Statute or Rule.

(1) Except as provided by statute or rule, documents (including settlement agreements) or other items may be sealed in a civil case only by court order. A party or other person may not file or tender to the clerk an item proposed for sealing under this subrule unless the Court enters an order permitting sealing.

(2) A party or other person seeking to file an item under seal in a civil case under LR 5.3(b) must either file and serve a motion or submit a proposed stipulated order to authorize sealing.

(A) A motion or stipulated order to authorize sealing must:

(i) state the authority for sealing;

(ii) include an identification and description of each item proposed for sealing;

(iii) state the reason that sealing each item is necessary;

(iv) state the reason that a means other than sealing is not available or unsatisfactory to preserve the interest advanced by the movant in support of the seal; and

(v) have a supporting brief.

(B) When a motion to seal is filed, the movant must submit a proposed order with the motion. The proposed order submitted with the motion or a proposed stipulated order must state the reason the seal is required.

(c) Format Of Documents To Be Sealed.

(1) All documents must comply with LR 5.1(a).

(2) Only the germane portion of a filing may be sealed. For example, if the sealed item is an exhibit to a motion, response, or reply, only the exhibit may be sealed.

(d) Unsealing Documents. When the Court orders an item unsealed, the clerk will make it publicly available as any other public document.

(e) Disposition. Unless the Court directs otherwise, the Court will transfer sealed material to the Federal Records Center for maintenance under the judiciary's Records Disposition Schedule six months after expiration of the last applicable appeal period.

COMMENT: Attorneys are cautioned that attempts to circumvent (a) may result in the imposition of sanctions.

Sealed settlement agreements are covered by LR 5.3(b)(1). Generally, except in extraordinary circumstances, the sealing of settlement agreements is disfavored.

Protective orders are covered under LR 26.4.

The delivery of papers filed under seal to Federal Court facilities must be in accordance with LR 83.31(a)(3)(B). (7/1/08)

Other material provided by statute, e.g., Qui Tam cases, are not covered by this rule.

Documents filed electronically must comply with the Court's ECF Policies and Procedures (Appendix ECF to these rules).

April 1, 2008