By George Gasper, Ice Miller LLP
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has implemented new Local Rules, effective January 1, 2015. One significant change is a new, consistent process that governs how confidential documents may be filed under seal and how the parties are to brief such designations for the Court's consideration. Failure to comply with this new process could result in your client's confidential documents being made available to the public and media at large.
Attorneys practicing in the Southern District can review this new rule and all other amendments here. This post and the summary of new Local Rule 5-11 are provided by the IndyBar for convenience purposes only and should not be used without reviewing the new rule and other amendments in their entirety.
In short, a party who files material that has been designated confidential must also contemporaneously file a motion to maintain the material under seal. If the motion is filed by the party who designated the material as confidential, then the party must also simultaneously file a brief in support of sealing that addresses several issues enumerated in the new rule (such as why sealing is appropriate, why less restrictive means would be inadequate and whether any other party opposes the request). If the motion is filed by someone other than the party who produced and designated such material in discovery, then the producing/designating party must file within 14 days a brief in support of maintaining under seal or a statement authorizing the unsealing of document (or specific portions thereof). Failure to do so will result in the documents being unsealed. Parties who oppose the sealing of documents must file their own brief within 14 days of the brief in support. Then, if the court denies the motion, the clerk will unseal the material after 14 days, absent Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a) objection, motion to reconsider, appeal or further court order.
The comments to the Rule further remind counsel, in terms of substance, that "the parties should follow Seventh Circuit guidance on the legal parameters for maintaining documents under seal enunciated in cases such as City of Greenville, Illinois v. Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC, 764 F.3d 695 (7th Cir. 2014); Bond v. Utreas, 585 F.3d 1061 (7th Cir. 2009); and Baxter International, Inc. v. Abbott Laboratories, 297 F.3d 544 (7th Cir. 2002)."
Again, this new rule and all other amendments are available in their entirety here.
This article was written by George Gasper of Ice Miller LLP. If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Litigation Section page, please email Mary Kay Price at email@example.com.