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Giuffre v. Maxwell

United States District Court, S.D. New York

May 2, 2017

VIRGINIA GIUFFRE, Plaintiff,
v.
GHISLAINE MAXWELL, Defendant.

          Counsel for Virginia Giuffre BOIES, SCHILLER & FLEXNER LLP By: Sigrid S. McCawley, Esq. Meredith L. Schultz, Esq.

          Counsel for Ghislaine Maxwell HADDON, MORGAN AND FOREMAN, P.C. By: Laura A. Menninger, Esq. Jeffrey S. Pagliuca, Esq.

          Counsel for Michael Cernovich RANDAZZA LEGAL GROUP PLLC By: Jay M. Wolman, Esq.

          OPINION

          Robert W. Sweet, U.S.D.J.

         Michael Cernovich ("Cernovich" or the "Intervenor") has moved under Rule 2 4(b) to intervene in this action and to modify the protective order entered in this action in order to unseal particular documents submitted in connection with the motion of defendant Ghislaine Maxwell ("Maxwell" or the "Defendant") for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint of plaintiff Virginia L. Giuffre ("Giuffre" or the "Plaintiff"). Based upon the conclusions set forth below, the motion to intervene is granted, and the motion to modify the protective order is denied.

         I. Prior Proceedings

         This defamation action was commenced on September 21, 2015 and has been intensely litigated as reflected by over 880 docket entries as of this date. Familiarity with the prior opinions is assumed. See Giuffre v. Maxwell, No. 15 Civ. 7433 (RWS), 2016 WL 831949 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 29, 2016); Giuffre v. Maxwell, No. 15 CIV. 7433 (RWS), 2016 WL 254932 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 20, 2016); Giuffre v. Maxwell, No. 15 Civ. 7433 (RWS) (S.D.N.Y. May 2, 2016); see also March 22, 2017 Redacted Opinion on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 872.

         At issue is the truth or falsity of statements made by the Plaintiff which have been characterized as lies by the Defendant, giving rise to this defamation action. Among the statements at issue are allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Discovery has proceeded involving these issues and those persons allegedly involved.

         II. The Protective Order

         The Protective Order was entered on March 17, 2016 and provided confidentiality for documents, materials and/or information so designated by the parties, together with procedures relating to the designations and any challenges to the designations among other provisions. It also provided that the Protective Order would not affect the use of confidential information at trial.

         III. The Motion to Intervene is Granted

         Based upon the conclusions reached in the November 2, 2016 order granting intervention to Alan Dershowitz, the motion of Cernovich to intervene to modify the Protective Order is granted.[1]

         IV. The Motion to Modify the Protective Order is Denied

         The Protective Order provided confidentiality for information the parties determine would "improperly annoy, embarrass or oppress any party, witness or person providing discovery in this case." Protective Order, ECF No. 62, p. 1. Intensive discovery has proceeded without challenge to a significant number of designations, principally by the Plaintiff. The Intervenor seeks to unseal the materials submitted in connection with the Defendant's motion for summary judgment. The opinion denying that motion for summary judgment has been filed under seal, and includes a direction, in accordance with the agreed-upon procedure, that the parties submit an opinion that redacts any information that is subject to the Protective Order. That opinion, ...


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