United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Eastern Division
KIMBERLY D. HOGAN, Administrator of the Estate of Amanda Yvonne Hogan, Plaintiff,
SHERIFF ASA B. BUCK, III, and CAPTAIN DANIEL KING, in their individual and official capacities, CARTERET COUNTY, CARTERET COUNTY DETENTION OFFICERS WILLIE JOHNSON, MELISSA BRAZIE, TAMIRYA FARRAR, TAYTIANA TAYLOR aka TAYTIANNA TAYLOR, MARY GEORGE, CATHY JONES, MELISSA KING, CAROL LOCKETT, in their individual and official capacities, SARAH H. PARDUE and JESSICA L. SAUCIER, in their official and individual capacities, SOUTHERN HEALTH PARTNERS, INC., and TRAVELERS CASUALTY AND SURETY COMPANY OF AMERICA, Defendants.
W. FLANAGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the court upon the Parties' Joint
Motion to Seal the proposed Settlement Agreement and
Disbursement ledger in this action. [DE-67]
case arises out of the suicide of Amanda Hogan on December 7,
2015 from an attempt she made when she was incarcerated at
the Carteret County Detention Center.
Amanda Hogan was married to Kerry Rey at the time of her
death and had two minor children, who are still minors.
action commenced on December 6, 2017 with the filing of the
Complaint. The minor children are not parties to the action
and have not been named in any court filing in this action.
proposed sealed documents refer to the minor children by
their initials only.
use of initials alone does not adequately protect the minor
children's identify because the full name of their late
mother is in the caption of this action and the full name of
their father is in the proposed sealed documents.
proposed sealed documents are the proposed settlement
agreement and proposed disbursement ledger, which contain the
details of the total settlement amount and how all the
proceeds are be disbursed.
instant Motion to Seal is made jointly by all the parties to
considering a Motion to Seal, district courts must give the
public notice of the request to seal and a reasonable
opportunity to challenge the request. See In re Knight
Publ'g, 743 F.2d 231, 235 (4th Cir. 1984). The
filing of a litigant's Motion to Seal, such as the
parties' Joint Motion to Seal [DE-___], is sufficient to
provide public notice and opportunity to challenge the
request to seal. See id. The court must also
consider less drastic alternatives to sealing, if any.
See id. Finally, the court must identify whether the
First Amendment or common law rights of access apply and, if
so, whether applicable counterbalancing privacy interests may
overcome such public rights of access. See id.
Minors' Privacy Interests Overcome the Common Law Right
the common law right of access, there is a presumptive right
for the public to inspect and copy all "judicial
records." See Stone v. Univ. of Md., 855 F.2d
178, 180 (4th Cir. 1988). Courts have held that documents
reviewed in connection with a motion for court approval of a
settlement constitute "judicial records" and are
subject to the common law right of access. See White v.
Bonner, No. 4:10-CV-105-F, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118038,
2010 WL 4625770, at *1 (E.D. N.C. Nov. 4, 2010) (applying the
common law right of access to the parties' Motion to Seal
their settlement agreement in a wrongful death action). The
common law right of access can be overcome if the
parties' privacy interests outweigh the public interest
in access. See Stone, 855 F.2d at 180. Here, the
parties' settlement agreement contains specific dollar
amounts of settlement funds allotted to each ...