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Cooper v. Meritor, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

April 17, 2018

BRENDA J. COOPER, et al. PLAINTIFFS
v.
MERITOR, INC., et al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          DEBRA M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         These consolidated actions[1] are before the Court for consideration of “Defendant Meritor Inc.'s Unopposed Motion to Seal Transcript Exhibit to Objections to Magistrate Judge's Ruling (DKT. #484) and Appeal to the District Court.” Doc. #496.

         I

         Procedural History

         On February 1, 2018, United States Magistrate Judge Jane M. Virden held oral arguments regarding the plaintiffs' motion to compel certain allegedly privileged documents disclosed by Meritor, Inc., during discovery which were subsequently sequestered by the plaintiffs' counsel. Doc. #482. At the outset of the hearing, Judge Virden sealed the proceedings and provided the parties ninety days to request continuance of the seal. Doc. #497-1 at 4.

         On February 7, 2018, Judge Virden issued an order granting the motion to compel as to all but one of the relevant documents. Doc. #484. On February 26, 2018, Meritor filed an objection to Judge Virden's order, Doc. #498, and a motion to seal the transcript from the February 1, 2018, hearing, Doc. #496. The motion represents that the plaintiffs and Textron, Inc., do not oppose the requested relief.

         II

         Standard

         Rule 79 of the Uniform Local Civil Rules provides that no document may be filed under seal without a court order. L.U. Civ. R. 79(b). In this regard, Local Rule 79(d) instructs that “[n]o document may be sealed merely by stipulation of the parties.” Though “[a] confidentiality order or protective order entered by the court to govern discovery will not qualify as an order to seal documents for purposes of this rule, ” “[a] statute mandating or permitting the non-disclosure of a class of documents provides sufficient authority to support an order sealing documents.” L.U. Civ. R. 79(b), (d).

         Rule 79 also directs:

Any motion to seal must be accompanied by a non-confidential supporting memorandum, a notice that identifies the motion as a sealing motion, and a proposed order. A party may also submit a confidential memorandum for in camera review. The non-confidential memorandum and the proposed order must include:
(A) A non-confidential description of what is to be sealed;
(B) A specific request that the document or case:
(1) Be sealed from any access by the public and the ...

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