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Sealing Motions

Let's say you want to file a motion for summary judgment that contains confidential information. Here's how you do that:

First, File a redacted version of the Motion removing the confidential information that you want to be under seal. DO NOT put "Under Seal" in the title because it is not yet under seal. Instead, the title of the document should clearly show that this is a redacted version of a motion you intend to file under seal. Use a regular ECF filing event like "Motion" or "Brief," etc.

Example document title:

ABC CORP.'s MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

(REDACTED VERSION)

(MOTION TO FILE UNREDACTED VERSION UNDER SEAL PENDING)

If the entire motion needs to be under seal, then just file a single page with the case caption and motion title indicating that you are seeking to file the entire document under seal.

Example document title:

ABC CORP.'s MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

MOTION TO FILE UNDER SEAL PENDING)

If you are filing an entire brief under seal, you should file the motion to seal at least two days prior to the deadline for the brief's filing so that the motion to file under seal can be ruled on in time. Then on the day the brief is due, you can just file the sealed brief.

Second, file a motion seeking leave of court to seal the document in question. Use ECF filing event "Motion." Indicate in the title of the motion the docket entry number of the document you are seeking to seal. (Or else use ECF to connect the Motion to Seal to the docket entry of the filing you are seeking to seal, so that ECF automatically puts in the docket entry number of the connected document.)

Example document title:

ABC CORP.'s MOTION TO SEAL DKT. ENTRY # ___

MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT)

Third, wait for the Court to grant the motion to deal.

Fourth, filed an unredacted version of the motion (or the entire document if it is all to be sealed). DO NOT use ECF filing event "Sealed Motion," as this creates a new motion. You have already filed the motion. Your intent at this point is to file a duplicate, sealed version of the previous, already filed motion. Instead, use ECF filing event "Sealed Document." By choosing "Sealed Document," you will create a text entry on the docket that is viewable by the general public, but the attached document will be sealed and only be accessibly by the Court and counsel for the parties to the case.

(You should only use the "Sealed Motion" filing event if you received court permission to file the motion under seal in advance, meaning this is the first time the motion in question is being filed, i.e.,  you did not file the redacted version of the motion first. If that is the case, and you still need to file a redacted version, then use "other filing" or similar ECF filing event for the redacted, second filing of the same motion, so that ECF does not show two pending motions when you really only have on motion to be ruled on.)

Here's what the docket should look like in the end:

#100   ABC Corp.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Redacted Version) (Motion to Seal Pending) [use ECF Filing Event "Motion"]

#101   ABC Corp.'s Motion to Seal Dkt. #100 [use ECF Filing Even "Motion"]

#102   Minute Order granting Dkt. #101, Motion to Seal Dkt. #100

#103   ABC Corp.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Unredacted Version) (Dkt. #100) (Filed Under Seal) [use ECF Filing Event "Sealed Document"]




Note: The court does not control nor can it guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this information. Neither is it intended to endorse any view expressed nor reflect its importance by inclusion in this site.
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