The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined redacted documents filed in connection with one lawsuit, and the entirely sealed record of a second lawsuit should be fully disclosed and available to the media (the intervenors here):
This Court has previously held that there is a “broad presumption that the public is entitled to access to judicial proceedings and court records” … . The right of public access includes the right of the press to read and review court documents, unless those documents have been sealed pursuant to a statutory provision or by a properly issued sealing order. To allow them to assert their interests here, the proposed intervenors should be allowed to intervene in both actions for the limited purpose of obtaining access to court records … .
Furthermore, because confidentiality is the exception and not the rule … , “the party seeking to seal court records has the burden to demonstrate compelling circumstances to justify restricting public access” … . Having reviewed the record, we see no basis to seal the entire court record in the second action; therefore, we vacate the sealing order. It appears that the motion court sealed the second action because the parties stipulated to it. Before sealing, the motion court should have made its own written finding of good cause, as is required by the provisions of the Uniform Rules for Trial Courts (22 NYCRR) § 216.1(a) … . Maxim Inc. v Feifer, 2016 NY Slip Op 08319, 1st Dept 12-13-16
CIVIL PROCEDURE (REDACTED DOCUMENTS AND A SEALED RECORD MUST BE UNREDACTED AND UNSEALED, CRITERIA AND PROCEDURE FOR REDACTION AND SEALING EXPLAINED)/SEALING-REDACTION OF COURT RECORDS (CIVIL, REDACTED DOCUMENTS AND A SEALED RECORD MUST BE UNREDACTED AND UNSEALED, CRITERIA AND PROCEDURE FOR REDACTION AND SEALING EXPLAINED)