Presumption of Public Access to Court Records
There is a presumption that the public will have access to all court filings. In light of this presumption, the court will not sign a protective order which allows counsel, in their absolute discretion, to decide which matters are to be deemed confidential and filed under seal. Rather, the parties should file a proposed order which specifies the categories of documents or other matters which may be subject to the order (e.g. trade secrets, medical records, personnel files) and the motion should set forth why a protective order is necessary as to each category. The court will then independently review the motion and determine if the order should be signed. The issuance of a protective order in light of this Standing Order will constitute the court's determination, as required by Rule 26(c), that good cause existed for such issuance. Issuance of any protective order will not, however, be given binding effect as a determination of good cause for Rule 26(c) purposes if at any future time either party moves for relief from the limitations of the protective order. At that time, this court will engage in an appropriate balancing of the interests between privacy and public access in order to make a new determination of good cause in light of the facts then before this court Jepson, Inc. v. Makita Elec. Works, Ltd., 30 F.3d 854, 858-59 (7th Cir. 1994).