Motion to Seal: VERSION A
Motions to seal are used to shield certain filings associated with a lawsuit from public view; while judges and jurors can access sealed records, a third party, like a journalist, cannot. Motions to seal are favored by litigators who seek to protect trade secrets or potentially embarrassing litigation details from public view.
According to a sample of over 47,000 motions to seal in federal court, such motions are granted outright 88% of the time, and at least partially granted another 4% of the time.
Standards for sealing cases are governed by local rules, rather than a nationwide standard; whether requests to seal are granted or not can vary from court to court or even judge to judge. However, data indicates that even judges who are the least likely to seal grant these motions over 50% of the time. Docket Alarm’s sample shows a mix between judges that almost universally grant these requests, and those who only grant them about 75% of the time.