New York Law Journal by Edward M. Spiro and Judith L. Mogul
October 15, 2018
Southern District Judge Robert W. Sweet’s recent decision in Giuffre v. Maxwell, 2018 WL 4062649 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 27, 2018) addresses the press’s application to unseal potentially salacious documents covered by a protective order in an action concerning allegations of sexual abuse. In Judge Sweet’s words, the motion involved “vital societal concepts, the privacy rights of individuals, the judicial process to establish truth or falsity, the transparency of that process, and freedom of information and of the press.” In ultimately deciding against unsealing, Judge Sweet engaged in a concise but thorough review of the law in the Second Circuit on protective orders and the sealing of “judicial documents,” and the tension between the public’s right of access and interest in transparency in the legal system and the individual’s right to privacy.