United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
E & G, INC., individually and as the representative of a class of similarly-situated persons, Plaintiff,
MOUNT VERNON MILLS, INC. and JOHN DOES 1-5, Defendants.
ORDER FOR FILING SUPPORTING EXHIBIT UNDER
C. Coggins, Jr. United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant Mount Vernon Mills,
Inc.'s (“Defendant”) Consent Motion to File
Supporting Exhibit under Seal (ECF No. 48). For the reasons
set forth in this Order, Defendant's Consent Motion is
granted and Defendant is permitted to file the Supporting
Exhibit under Seal.
E&G, Inc. filed a Complaint against Defendant on February
2, 2017. ECF No. 1. Thereafter, the Court entered its Joint
Amended Scheduling Order on June 1, 2017 (ECF 38), thereby
bifurcating discovery, and setting a deadline for Defendant
to file a Motion for Summary Judgment. Due to the
parties' concerns about the confidential nature of
certain documents at issue, the parties requested, and the
Court entered, a Confidentiality Order filed June 1, 2017
(ECF 37, the “Confidentiality Order”). The
Confidentiality Order directs the parties to file a Motion,
such as this Motion, pursuant to Local Civil Rule 5.03
(D.S.C.) if a confidential document must be filed.
has now filed a Consent Motion to File Supporting Exhibit
under Seal and has submitted the exhibit for the Court's
in camera review. The exhibit is a Worldwide
Sourcing Agreement dated March 1, 2014 (the “Sourcing
Agreement”) by and between Worldwide Sourcing
Solutions, Inc. (“WSSI”) and Mount Vernon Mills,
Sourcing Agreement contains sensitive commercial information
pertaining to Wyndham Hotel Group's franchising system
and sourcing program.
Ashcraft v. Conoco, Inc., 218 F.3d 288, 302
(4th Cir. 2000), the Fourth Circuit recognized
that a U.S. District Court has “supervisory power over
its own records and may, in its discretion, seal documents if
the public's right or access is outweighed by competing
interests.” See also In re Knight Publishing,
743 F.2d 231, 234 (4th Cir. 1984). There is a
presumption in favor of public access to court records.
Ashcraft, 218 F.3d at 302. A U.S. District Court,
however, has discretion to seal court records if: (1) it
gives public notice of the request to seal so as to allow
interested parties a reasonable opportunity to object; (2) it
considers less drastic alternatives to sealing the documents;
and (3) it provides specific reasons and factual findings
supporting its decision to seal the documents and for
rejecting alternatives. Id.
to the instant action, the Court finds that it is appropriate
to seal the documents at issue based on these three criteria.
the first criteria, Local Civil Rule 5.03(D) (D.S.C.)
provides that the docketing of a motion to seal in a manner
that discloses its nature constitutes public notice of the
the second criteria, due to the intertwining nature of the
provisions of the Sourcing Agreement, it would be difficult
to adequately redact all the potentially sensitive
information while retaining the necessary context of the
provisions. The Sourcing Agreement contains sensitive
commercial information regarding Wyndham's franchising
system and sourcing program. Therefore, there are no less
drastic alternatives other than sealing the document.
the third criteria, the Sourcing Agreement concerns matters
that might give an advantage to Wyndham's competitors if
made to be publically available knowledge. Therefore, the
public's right to obtain this information is outweighed
by the competing interest of Wyndham in keeping its
commercial secrets safe.
in accordance with Local Civil Rule 5.03 (D.S.C.), the Court
orders that the Memorandum and Exhibits may ...