Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Eight Circuit: Trial Court has Discretion to Keep Records Seal

United States Court of Appeals, Eight Circuit vacated the trial court's denial of motion to unseal a complaint. Arkansas Public Law Center ("APLC") filed a motion to unseal IDT Corp. and Netzphone, Inc. ("the Company") civil suit against eBay, Inc., Skype, Inc., and Skype Technologies S.A. pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(b). The district court denied APLC's motion because the protection of the contained confidential information outweighed any general interest of public access. APLC appealed.

APLC alleged the district court abused its discretion because the Company sought protection under the confidentiality of sensitive business information was insufficient to justify order. The antitrust complaint over patent infringement involved exchange of sensitive financial and technological information. The Company proceeded under protective orders filed in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c).   

Though the antitrust complaint is a "judicial record" and subject to common-law right of access, the district court cited the protective order that uncovered trade secrets and other confidential research. Having presided several years over the patent litigation, the district court was familiar with the "contained confidential and competitively sensitive information."

The Eight Circuit agreed that APLC's general access interest appeal did not outweigh the nature of the protective order. However, the Eight Circuit questioned the sealing of all documents. Lacking sufficient explanation from the district court for not using redaction as an alternative means to unseal portions of the complaint for public access, the Eight Circuit vacated the lower court's order and remanded the case to see if redaction is practical to unseal the complaint.

See: IDT Corps, Net2phone, Inc. v. eBay, Eighth Circuit, No. 11-3009.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

IDT Corps, Net2phone, Inc. v. eBay