United States District Court, S.D. New York
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; and THE STATES OF CALIFORNIA, COLORADO, CONNECTICUT, DELAWARE, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, HAWAII, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, IOWA, LOUISIANA, MARYLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, MICHIGAN, MINNESOTA, MONTANA, NEVADA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, NEW JERSEY, NEW MEXICO, NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, OKLAHOMA, RHODE ISLAND, TENNESSEE, TEXAS, VIRGINIA, WASHINGTON, WISCONSIN, and THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; ex rel. WILLIAM NASH, JR., Plaintiff,
UCB, INC., Defendant.
P. Griesa United States District Judge
Nash, Jr., as relator and plaintiff in the above-captioned
matter, moves to indefinitely maintain the seal on all
documents filed in this case. Alternatively, Nash moves for
leave to file a superseding complaint under the pseudonym
"John Doe" and to redact any information that could
reveal his identity to the public. In the event that the
Court denies both of those requests, Nash further moves for
leave to file partially redacted copies of the instant motion
and supporting memoranda. Nash's requests are unopposed.
following reasons, Nash's motions to maintain the seal
and to file a superseding complaint under a pseudonym are
denied. The Court, however, grants Nash's motion to file
partially redacted copies of the instant motions.
filed this action on March 28, 2014 under the qui
tarn provisions of the False Claims Act
("FCA"), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 et
seq., and the relevant parallel state false claims
statutes against defendant UCB, Inc. The basic thrust of
Nash's allegations is that UCB, Inc. defrauded the
federal government out of millions of dollars in Medicaid
FCA action, however, has remained dormant since its filing
largely because of the procedural idiosyncrasies found under
the FCA. Pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(2), this case
was filed under seal, in camera, and has not been served on
defendant. The United States of America (the
"Government") then moved repeatedly under 31 U.S.C.
§ 3730(b)(3) to extend the time during which the
complaint remains under seal so that the Government could
investigate further into whether it would intervene in this
action. The Court granted each of the Government's
requests, which effectively stayed this action.
December 16, 2016, however, the Government filed a Notice of
Decision to Decline to Intervene. Shortly thereafter, the
States of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware,
Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts,
Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey,
New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee,
Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, the Commonwealth of Virginia,
and the District of Columbia filed notices indicating that
they, too, were declining to intervene in this action.
Court issued two orders on December 20, 2016, which required,
among other things, that the Amended Complaint be unsealed in
sixty days and authorized Nash to proceed with service on
January 6, 2017, Nash filed a motion with the Court: (1) to
permanently maintain the seal on all documents filed in this
action in their entirety; or (2) in the alternative, to allow
Nash to file a superseding complaint under the pseudonym
"John Doe" and to remove all information that could
reveal his identity. In the event the Court denies both
requests, Nash further requests to file a redacted version of
the instant motion, which would remove any reference to his
current employer. The Court addresses each of these requests
in turn below.
Motion to Maintain the Seal Indefinitely
circuit, there is a "firmly rooted" presumption of
public access to judicial documents. Lugosch v. Pyramid
Co. of Onondaga, 435 F.3d 110, 119 (2d Cir. 2006). But
before this presumption attaches to any particular document,
the Court must "first conclude that the documents at
issue are indeed judicial documents."' Id.
If the court determines that a "document is a judicial
document and therefore that at least a common law presumption
of access applies, we must 'determine the weight' of
the presumption of access. United States v. Erie
County, 763 F.3d 235, 239 (2d Cir. 2014) (citing
Lugosch, 435F.3dat 119).
weight of the presumption of access, in turn, is
"governed by the role of the material at issue in the
exercise of Article III judicial power and the resultant
value of such information to those monitoring the federal
courts." Lugosch, 435 F.3d at 119.
"Generally, the information will fall somewhere on a
continuum from matters that directly affect an adjudication
to matters that come within a court's purview solely to
insure their irrelevance." Id. (citing
United States v. Amodeo, 71 F.3d 1044, 1048 (2d Cir.
1995)). Under these circumstances, the court simply balances
any competing interests against disclosure against the
presumption of public access to determine whether a judicial
document should be sealed from the public. Erie
County, 763 F.3d at 239.
where the documents at issue "have historically been
open to the press and general public" and public access
to those documents "plays a significant positive role in
the functioning of the particular process in question, "
the presumption of access to judicial documents must be
analyzed in light of the First Amendment of our Constitution.
Id. In that case, the documents may be sealed [only]
if specific, on the record findings are made demonstrating
that closure is essential ...