The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri is issuing a proposed local rule for public comment, after input from several sources and review by the Court’s Federal Practice Committee and the Court. The proposal is a substantial revision of Local Rule 13.05 relating to the sealing of materials filed in civil and criminal cases. The intent of these revisions is to comply substantially with the following seven principles for sealing documents as suggested by the Judicial Conference of the United States:
- The decisions to seal materials filed in federal court cases are made by judges and not by non-judicial administrative personnel;
- Motions to seal materials are filed in the public record;
- Non-parties are allowed to intervene in civil and criminal cases to challenge the sealing of materials;
- Court orders sealing materials are public and, without disclosing what is sought to be kept confidential, state generally what is being sealed and why;
- Judges seal no more than is necessary to comply with the law;
- A complete record of the decision-making on the issue of whether or not to seal material is available for appellate review; and
- Materials are unsealed when the reason for sealing no longer exists.
A full copy of the rule can be found here. The proposed effective date for these changes is March 1, 2021, and the rule is posted for public comment through Sunday, January 10, 2021. Comments should be provided in writing to the Clerk of Court via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or regular mail to U.S. District Court, Clerk of Court, 111 South 10th Street, St. Louis, MO 63102. They will be considered by the Court after the public comment deadline.