Richards Layton & Finger
 

Chief Judge Stark, Judge Andrews, and Magistrate Judge Burke Deny Redaction Requests

May 3, 2017

In Noven Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Actavis Laboratories UT Inc., C.A. No. 15-249-LPS (D. Del. Mar. 24, 2017), Chief Judge Stark denied the parties’ joint motion to redact portions of the trial transcripts, deposition testimony, trial demonstratives, and trial exhibits. According to the Court, the request to redact certain witness testimony, deposition designations, and the entirety of the trial transcript indices appeared overbroad and without sufficient explanation. The Court emphasized the public’s right of access to judicial proceedings and that parties must show good cause to prevent disclosure of court documents.

In Amgen, Inc. v. Charles River Laboratories, Inc., Misc. No. 16-325-RGA (D. Del. Mar. 22, 2017), Judge Andrews denied an unopposed motion to redact portions of the transcript of a discovery dispute, finding that the proposed redactions were too extensive. In so holding, Judge Andrews noted that redaction requests are not unusual but “in almost all cases, the proposed redactions exceed the minimum necessary.”

In two orders issued in Orthophoenix LLC v. Stryker Corp., C.A. No. 13-1628-LPS (D. Del. Mar. 30, 2017, and Mar. 31, 2017), Chief Judge Stark denied requests to redact court documents. In the first order, the Court unsealed a memorandum opinion in full after finding that the proposed redactions were not warranted given that "the sole contention for why redactions are necessary is that the parties’ settlement agreement includes a confidentiality provision” and that “[a]bsent any clearly-articulated reasoning about the harm that will come from disclosure, the parties’ private settlement agreement does not outweigh the public’s interest.” In the second order, Chief Judge Stark unsealed the transcript from the hearing underlying the memorandum decision for the same reasons.

In Lambda Optical Solutions LLC v. Alcatel Lucent SA, C.A. No. 10-487-RGA-CJB (D. Del. Apr. 7, 2017), Magistrate Judge Burke denied the parties’ joint motion to redact the Court’s report and recommendation and ordered that the decision be unsealed after concluding that the parties failed to show how disclosure would cause them injury.

Key Points: Requests to redact transcripts or documents filed with the Court in this District will be scrutinized for both breadth and justification. Parties should propose redactions to court filings only when disclosure of information will work a clearly defined and serious injury, but also take care to explain in the first instance why such an injury would take place.