IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
E. R., a minor, by and through
her next friend, D.R.,
REPUBLIC R-III SCHOOL DISTRICT, )
and ROBERT DUNCAN,
Case No. 11-03228
SUGGESTIONS IN SUPPORT OF
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL
THE PETITION FOR APPOINTMENT OF NEXT FRIEND AND
CONSENT OF NEXT FRIEND
COME NOW, Petitioner E.R., a minor, by and through her next friend, D.R., by and
through their attorneys of record, Baird, Lightner, Millsap & Harpool, P.C., and pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.2(d) and Rule 7(b)(1) and in support of the Motion for Leave
to File Documents Under Seal the Petition for Appointment of Next Friend and Consent of Next
Friend state as follows:
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.2(a) states that
[u]nless the court orders otherwise, in an electronic or paper filing with the court
that contains an individual’s social security number, taxpayer-identification
number, or birth date, the name of an individual known to be a minor, or a
financial account number, a party or nonparty making the filing may include only:
(1) the last four digits of the social-security number and taxpayer-identification
number; (2) the year of the individual’s birth; (3) the minor’s initials; and (4) the
last four digits of the financial-account number.
Case 6:11-cv-03228-ODS Document 4 Filed 07/08/11 Page 1 of 3
Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2(a) (WL 2011). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.2(d) further states that
“[t]he court may order that a filing be made under seal without redaction.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2(d)
Both the United States Supreme Court and the Eastern District of Missouri (quoting the
Eighth Circuit) have addressed additional reasons for filing documents under seal. In Globe
Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court, 457 U.S. 596 (1982), the United States Supreme Court
acknowledged that “safeguarding the physical and psychological well-being of a minor” is a
compelling state interest. Id. at 607. The Court also adopted a standard for determining whether
records should be closed where a minor is the victim of a sex crime, stating that the court must
determine “whether closure is necessary to protect the welfare of a minor victim.” Id. at 608. In
Boyce v. Moberly Public School Dist., 2007 WL 1378427, 1 (E.D. Mo. 2007), the court stated
“[b]ecause the operations of the courts and the judicial conduct of judges
are matters of utmost public concern, courts have long recognized the
public's right to inspect and copy judicial records. See Webster Groves
School Dist. v. Pulitzer Pub. Co., 898 F.2d 1371, 1376 (8th Cir.1990)
(quoting Nixon v. Warner Communications, 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978).
That right, however, is not absolute. Id. Rather, the decision of whether
court records should be sealed is one committed to the sound discretion of
the trial court. Id. The trial court is to balance the public's interest in
access against the interest in protecting minors from the public
dissemination of hurtful information. Id. at 1377.
Boyce v. Moberly Public School Dist., 2007 WL 1378427, 1 (E.D. Mo. 2007).
Here, the Petition for Appointment of Next Friend and Consent to Next Friend should be
sealed to ensure the well-being of the minor. Both the Petition for Appointment of Next Friend
and Consent of Next Friend contain the name of the minor’s guardian, from which the identity of
the minor can be easily inferred. The disclosure of the identity of the minor could result in
certain stigmas that often attach to the factual scenario that gave rise to the allegations made in
Case 6:11-cv-03228-ODS Document 4 Filed 07/08/11 Page 2 of 3
this case, which would be hurtful to the minor. In addition, the interest of protecting the minor’s
identity outweighs any public interest in disclosure. Public knowledge of the identity of the
minor serves no public purpose, but could result in and psychological harm to the minor.
Accordingly, the Court should grant the Motion for Leave to File Documents Under Seal the
Petition for Appointment of Next Friend and Consent of Next Friend.
BAIRD, LIGHTNER, MILLSAP & HARPOOL, P.C.
By ___s/ Matt Cologna_________________________
M. DOUGLAS HARPOOL #28702
1901-C South Ventura Avenue
Springfield, MO 65804
Telephone: (417) 887-0133
Facsimile: (417) 887-8740
Attorneys for E.R.
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