Sie sind auf Seite 1von 11
LATIN AMERICAN erald Tribune 3 August 2018 The Honorable Leonard P. Stark Chief Judge United States District Court 844 North King Street Wilmington, DE 19801-3570 Re: Crystallex International Corporation v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela C.A. No. 1:17-me-00151-LPS Dear Chief Judge Stark: I write again on behalf of the journalists who regularly cover the multitude of Crystallex lawsuits before your court to point out the ongoing abuse of the sealing process in this case. We previously wrote in December about this issue, and in response to our letter, you entered it into the record (DKT #48), ordered counsel to file the sealed documents “making only those redactions (if any) that are consistent with the governing law and the Court’s rules” (DKT #44) and orally admonished them at the hearing on December 21 to correctly follow the Court's sealing rules (DKT #49, p.96). Despite your instructions, counsel continue to abuse the process and seal documents even though there is no protective order or court order allowing them to do so. As a result, we ask that the Court — for the reasons elicited below and in the clear absence of any protective order or order permitting sealed documents in this case — immediately unseal all improperly sealed documents in this case. Local Rules Prevent Sealing in This Case Local Rule 5.1.3 simply requires that “Documents placed under seal must be filed in accordance with CM/ECF Procedures, unless otherwise ordered by the Court.” RULE 5.1.3. Filing Documents under Seal. Documents placed under seal must be filed in accordance with CM/ECF Procedures, unless otherwise ordered by the Court. RITES) Serview Those CM/ECF Procedures specifically require that “the authority for filing a document under seal must be provided by a protective order or other order of the Court.” Filing Sealed Civil Documents in CWECE Registered users of CM/ECE are required to file sealed civil and miscellaneous documents electronically, directly into CM/ECF. The authority for filing a document under seal must be provided by a protective order or other order of the Court No such protective order nor other order of this Court has been made to allow sealing in this case (aside from your Order at DKT #67 in response to a stipulation by PDVSA to seal a single document at DKT #65, which we believe was made in error), In fact PDVSA did not originally seal the document and was reluctant to subsequently ask to seal it, doing so only at the request of Crystallex. (DKT #67) WHEREAS. Plaintiff Ceystallex International Corp. (“Plain”) subsequently requested that DA. 65 be pled under seal: In the next paragraph, PDVSA even suggests that it was a violation of the Court’s rules, noting that no protective order has been entered in this action but that they have been abusing the process and filing documents under seal anyway. WHEREAS, a protective order has not been entered in this action, yet both parties have previously filed documents under seal with the Court (D.1. 1-54); and. ca ne 7S Because there is no protective order in this case, all sealing of documents has been improper under the Court’s rules. We ask for all sealed documents to be unsealed. The Public Has a Common Law Right to Access to These Documents It is well established in this Circuit that there exists a “pervasive common law right to inspect and copy public records and documents, including judicial records and documents.” In re. Cendant Corp., 260 F.3d 183, 192 (3rd Cir. 2001). This right applies to both civil and criminal proceedings, id., and creates a “strong presumption” in favor of the public’s right to access and inspect judicial records. Id, at 193. As this Circuit has repeatedly affirmed, the common law right of access serves as a means of enabling the public to understand the judicial process and, ideally, to judge the faimess of the system: The public’s exercise of its common law access right in civil cases promotes public confidence in the judicial system by enhancing testimonial trustworthiness and the quality of justice dispensed by the court. As with other branches of government, the bright light cast upon the judicial process by public observation diminishes possibilities for injustice, incompetence, perjury, and fraud. Furthermore, the very openness of the process should provide the public with a more complete understanding of the judicial system and a better perception of its fairness. In re. Cendant Corp., 260 F.3d at 192 (quoting Littlejohn v. BIC Corp., 851 F.2d 673, 678 (3d Cir.1988)). Court filings are a principal means for parties to convey their positions to the court and, by extension, the public. Limiting access to such filings deprives the public of an important measure of the case itself, as well as a means of understanding how the parties are litigating the case. This Circuit’s prior decisions reflect this understanding. For example, in Bank of America, the Court of Appeal declined to “countenance what are essentially secret judicial proceedings” by allowing the continued sealing of motions and orders related to a settlement agreement. Bank of America Nat'l Trust and Savings Association v. Hotel Rittenhouse Associates, 800 F.2d 339, 345. WHT CA. No.17-251-L5 ER