United States District Court, D. Maryland
February 24, 2014
FIRST MARINER BANK, Plaintiff,
THE RESOLUTION LAW GROUP, P.C., et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
SUSAN K. GAUVEY, Magistrate Judge.
Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Seal (i) Opposition to Motion for Entry of Civil Contempt Order, and (ii) Affidavit in Support (ECF No. 214) and Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to Motion to Seal (ECF No. 223) to which Defendants filed no reply. The Court finds a hearing unnecessary. Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011).
Defendants seek sealing of the opposition and affidavit, in their entirety. However, there is a common-law right of public access to judicial records. Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc. , 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978). "Under common law, there is a presumption of access to judicial records, " so a party seeking to seal records must rebut that presumption by demonstrating that the "countervailing interests heavily outweigh the public interests in access." Rushford v. New Yorker Magazine, Inc. , 846 F.2d 246, 253 (4th Cir. 1988). Here, Defendants have presented bare assertions, without reference to legal authority, that the documents in question contain "very personal and confidential" information, including information relating to assets owned jointly by the individual Defendant and his wife and that there is a concern about "identity theft.'" (ECF No. 214 at 1-2). However, a party must "offer reasons supported by specific factual representations justifying the sealing." Minter v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. , 258 F.R.D. 118, 121 (D. Md. 2009); Local Rule 105.11 (D. Md.). The defendants have not done so.
The Court, having reviewed the documents in question, finds no basis for the sealing of the documents. The documents provide general information; they do not include any personal identifiers or any account numbers, or other similarly sensitive information. Accordingly, the motion is DENIED.