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Benitez v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

May 18, 2018

RAYMOND BENITEZ, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CHARLOTTE MECKLENBURG HOSPITAL AUTHORITY, d/b/a CAROLINAS HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, d/b/a ATRIUM HEALTH, Defendant.

          ORDER

          David C. Keesler United States Magistrate Judge.

         THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE COURT on the "Defendant's Motion To Seal Exhibits 1 And 5 To Its Answer" (Document No. 18) filed April 30, 2018. This motion has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), and immediate review is appropriate. Having carefully considered the motion and the record, the undersigned will grant the motion.

         By the pending motion, Defendant seeks to seal two exhibits to its Answer..." (Document No. 16) filed on April 30, 2018. See (Document Nos. 18 and 19). Exhibit 1 contains medical billing records for treatment Plaintiff received from Defendant and includes confidential medical information that is protected by statute under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPPA"). (Document No. 18, pp. 1-2). Exhibit 5 is the Network Participation Agreement between the Hospital Authority and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina from 2014 (the "BCBS-NC Agreement") and includes confidential, commercially sensitive terms regarding reimbursement rates for patients. Id. Defendant notes that Plaintiff does not object to the sealing of Exhibit 1, but was unable to take a position on Exhibit 5 at the time the instant motion was filed. (Document No. 18, pp. 2-3). To date, there has been no response filed to the pending motion to seal, by Plaintiff or any nonparty, and the time to do so has lapsed. See Local Rule 7.1(e).

         A party who seeks to seal any pleading must comply with Local Civil Rule 6.1. The Local Civil Rule provides in relevant part as follows:

         LCvR 6.1 SEALED FILINGS AND PUBLIC ACCESS.

(a) Scope of Rule.
To further openness in civil case proceedings, there is a presumption under applicable common law and the First Amendment that materials filed in this Court will be filed unsealed. This Rule governs any party's request to seal, or otherwise restrict public access to, any materials filed with the Court or used in connection with judicial decision- making. As used in this Rule, "materials" includes pleadings and documents of any nature and in any medium or format.
(b) Filing under Seal.
No materials may be filed under seal except by Court order, pursuant to a statute, or in accordance with a previously entered Rule 26(e) protective order.
(c) Motion to Seal or Otherwise Restrict Public
Access. A party's request to file materials under seal must be made by formal motion, separate from the motion or other pleading sought to be sealed, pursuant to LCvR 7.1. Such motion must be filed electronically under the designation "Motion to Seal." The motion must set forth:
(1) A non-confidential description of the material sought to be sealed;
(2) A statement indicating why sealing is necessary and why there are no alternatives to filing under seal;
(3) Unless permanent sealing is sought, a statement indicating how long the party seeks to have the material maintained under seal and how the matter is ...

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