United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
MARIA S. REMINGTON, Plaintiff,
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL, Defendant.
B. Jones, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the court on the pro se Plaintiffs
combined motion for extension of time and motion to file her
in forma pauperis application under seal. [DE-11].
Plaintiff initially filed a motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis and complaint on July 24, 2017.
[DE-1]. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on September 12,
2017. [DE-5]. Plaintiff was ordered to file her in forma
pauperis application on the correct form and to correct
other procedural deficiencies by no later than October 5,
2017. [DE-6]. Plaintiff subsequently addressed the
deficiencies [DE-7 through -10], but filed her in forma
pauperis application as a proposed sealed document and
now asks the court to seal it permanently, [DE-11] at 2.
Plaintiff also seeks an extension of time to comply with the
deadlines in the court's September 6, 2017 order.
Id. at 1.
respect to Plaintiffs motion for extension of time, it
appears Plaintiff has confused the September 6, 2017 deadline
set by the court in another case with the deadlines in this
case. See Remington v. Dipierro, No. 5:17-CV-374-BR,
Order [DE-3] (E.D. N.C. Aug. 7, 2017) (ordering plaintiff to
particularize her complaint and pay the filing fee or file an
in forma pauperis application by no later than
September 6, 2017). In this case, Plaintiff has already
complied with the deadlines set by the court by filing her
civil cover sheet [DE-4], notice of self-representation
[DE-7], financial disclosure statement [DE-8], proposed
summons [DE-9], and in forma pauperis application on
the correct form [DE-10]. Plaintiff has also filed an amended
complaint. [DE-5]. Accordingly, there is no clear purpose the
extension of time would serve and the motion in that respect
also moves the court to seal her in forma pauperis
application because it contains "very sensitive
information" that can be used against her if disclosed
to the public and will affect Plaintiff and her children.
[DE-11] at 2. "[T]he courts of this country recognize a
general right to inspect and copy public records and
documents, including judicial records and documents."
Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589,
597 (1978) (internal footnote omitted). "The right of
public access springs from the First Amendment and the
common-law tradition that court proceedings are presumptively
open to public scrutiny." Va. Dep 't of State
Police v. Wash. Post, 386 F.3d 567, 575 (4th Cir. 2004).
However, this presumption '"can be rebutted if
countervailing interests heavily outweigh the public
interests in access, ' and '[t]he party seeking to
overcome the presumption bears the burden of showing some
significant interest that outweighs the presumption."
Id. (quoting Rushford v. New Yorker Magazine,
Inc., 846 F.2d 249, 253 (4th Cir. 1988)). Applications
to proceed in forma pauperis are generally
accessible to the public, despite containing some financial
information regarding the applicant, and Plaintiff has not
provided any specific reason why her application should be
sealed. See SAI v. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 149
F.Supp.3d 99, 127 (D.D.C. 2015) ("Section 1915 requires
the submission of a detailed affidavit, and, under the
Court's practice these submissions, like other filings,
are a matter of public record.). Plaintiffs stated reason for
requesting to seal the application-that the information
contained in the application can be used against her and will
affect her and her children-is conclusory and fails to
demonstrate any interest that outweighs the public interests
in access. See Id. at 128 (concluding that a
litigant must demonstrate a particularized need for filing an
in forma pauperis application under seal because
otherwise "the public would be denied important
transparency in the working of the judiciary, opposing
parties would be deprived of the opportunity to raise
objections, and the courts would lose a corresponding check
on potential misstatements or omissions in IFP
affidavits."); see also Sai v. U.S. Postal
Serv., 135 S.Ct. 1915, 191 L.Ed.2d 762 (2015) (denying
petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of the denial
of a motion to file in forma pauperis application
under seal and ex parte). Accordingly, Plaintiffs
motion to seal her in forma pauperis application is
Civil Rule 79.2(b)(3) governs the handling of proposed sealed
documents when a motion to seal is denied and provides as
If the motion to seal is denied, the document will remain
sealed and the word "proposed" will remain in the
docket entry for the document in order to preserve the
record. The document will not be considered by the court,
except as provided herein or as otherwise ordered by the
court. A party desiring to remove a proposed sealed document
or docket entry therefor from the docket sheet must file a
motion to strike in accordance with Local Civil Rule 7.1. A
party whose motion to seal is denied but that desires the
court to consider a proposed sealed document as a publicly
filed document shall file the document as a public document
within 3 days after entry of the order denying the motion to
seal or within such other period as the court directs.
Plaintiff wants the court to consider her in forma
pauperis application, she must refile it as a public
document in conformity with Local Civil Rule 79.2(b)(3), or
alternatively Plaintiff can pay the $400.00 filing ...