UPDATE #2 (11/30): Mag. Judge Franklin L. Noel’s recent order on the matter described below: “Before the Court is the parties’ Stipulation To Strike Certain Docket Entries, including two orders of the Court. Documents filed in the case, and in particular orders of the Court, are official records of what happened in the case. As the parties are asking the Court to alter the record, by striking documents that were previously filed, including Court Orders, the request is DENIED. ”
UPDATE (11/24): (And what is a Court to do when parties, as part of a settlement, enter into a stipulation to remove publicly filed documents from public view? Is the public interest relevant? How is one to weigh the public interest?) A 1995 Second Circuit case analyzed the competing issues (citations omitted):
Courts have given various descriptions of the weight to be given to the presumption of access, ranging from an “especially strong” presumption requiring “extraordinary circumstances to justify restrictions,” to merely “one of the interests” that may bow before “good reasons” to deny the requested access.
[Original 11/21/2010 Post:] “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”
Louis Brandeis, Other People’s Money and How Bankers Use It (originally published in 1914).
U.S. District Court Patrick J. Schiltz seems to adhere to this view, or, at a minimum, recognizes that the public bankrolls his workplace and therefore has a claim to know what goes on there, absent truly compelling need to preserve trade secrets and the like…