United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
AMENDED ORDER GRANTING CHEVRON U.S.A. INC.'S
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE EXHIBITS UNDER SEAL
Guirola, Jr. United States District Judge.
THE COURT is the  Motion for Leave to File
Certain Exhibits Under Seal filed by the defendant Chevron
U.S.A. Inc. pursuant to Local Rule 79. For the reasons set
forth below, the motion is well-taken and will be granted.
the [32, 104] Protective Orders entered by the Court parties
may designate as “Confidential” any materials
containing sensitive and proprietary information. Once a
document is so designated, it generally may not be disclosed
to parties outside of the litigation. Per the Protective
Orders, all “Confidential” all documents filed
with the Court must be filed under seal.
August 16, 2018, Chevron filed its  Motion for Summary
Judgment. In it, Chevron relied on a portion of a Maximo Work
Order (“Work Order”) and excerpts from the Master
Product and Services Agreement (“Contract”)
between Chevron and Mobley Industrial Services, Inc.
produced the Work Order and Contract through discovery well
over a year ago, designating both documents
“Confidential.” Chevron chose to designate the
materials as “Confidential” because, it claims,
the Work Order contains sensitive information regarding
Chevron's internal operations, while the Contract details
confidential business arrangements and pricing data between
Chevron and one of its vendors, Mobley. To date, no one has
contested Chevron's “Confidential”
designation of these documents.
have recognized a common-law right to inspect and access
certain court records. SEC v. Van Waeyenberghe, 990
F.2d 845, 848 (5th Cir. 1993). This common-law rule
establishes a presumption of public access to judicial
records. Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435
U.S. 589, 597 (1978). But it is well established that
“‘[e]very court has supervisory power over its
own records and files, and access has been denied where court
files might have become a vehicle for improper
purposes.'” Van Waeyenberghe, 990 F.2d at
849 (quoting Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598).
courts routinely limit the public's access to
commercially sensitive and proprietary information.
Citizens First Nat'l Bank v. Cincinnati Ins.
Co., 178 F.3d 943, 945-46 (7th Cir. 1999). Otherwise a
competitor could use such information for the improper
purpose of obtaining a business advantage over the disclosing
party. See Local Rule 79; PIC Group, Inc. v.
Landcoast Insulation, Inc., No. 1:09cv662-KS-MTP, 2010
WL 4791710 (S.D.Miss. Nov. 18, 2010) (“The Uniform
Local Rules allow parties to file sensitive documents under
seal.”); Westside-Marrero Jeep Eagle, Inc. v.
Chrysler Corp., No. 97-3012, 1998 WL 186728, *1 (E.D.
La. Apr. 17, 1998) (maintaining exhibit under seal because
the document contained sensitive and proprietary financial
information about individual dealerships that, if unsealed,
could cause commercial and competitive harm to such dealers);
Shell Expl. & Prod. Co. v. Robinson, No.
01-1417, 2001 WL 1490954, *1 (E.D. La. Nov. 21, 2001)
(granting motion to seal portion of trial transcript
containing confidential technological information).
Court finds that the documents at issue contain commercially
sensitive and proprietary information. Public disclosure of
this information would likely cause harm if competitors were
able to acquire and exploit it. Citizens First Nat'l
Bank v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 178 F.3d 943, 945-46 (7th
Cir. 1999). The Court's files should not be a vehicle for
this potentially improper purpose. Van Waeyenberghe,
990 F.2d at 849. The nature and prevalence of confidential
and proprietary information in the documents makes other
measures for preventing public disclosure impracticable, and
the documents should therefore be sealed from public access
in their entirety, with CM/ECF access permitted to the
litigants' counsel. Thus, the Court finds that
Chevron's motion to seal should be granted in its
IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Defendant Chevron U.S.A.
Inc.'s  Motion Seal, which this Court has construed
as a Motion to Restrict Access. The Clerk of the Court is
directed to restrict, until further order from this Court,
access to Exhibits “A” and “C” to
Chevron's  Motion for Summary Judgment so that such
documents are accessible only to the Court and the Parties.
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED.
 The Court construes Chevron's
Motion as a Motion to Restrict Access, because Chevron wishes
for the parties to this litigation to have access to the
 The documents at issue in the present
motion were identified as Exhibits “A” and
C” in Chevron's Motion for Summary Judgment, but
they were not conventionally filed with the Court, ...