June 5, 2014
Al Jazeera America, LLC
AT&T Services, Inc.
Submitted: June 5, 2014
John L. Reed Scott B. Czerwonka Andrew H. Sauder DLA Piper LLP
Kenneth J. Nachbar Shannon E. German Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP
David L. Finger Finger & Slanina, LLC
Joel Friedlander Friedlander & Gorris, P.A.
SAM GLASSCOCK III, VICE CHANCELLOR
On October 14, 2013, I directed the Plaintiff to file a largely unredacted version of its August 20, 2013 Verified Complaint in this matter. That Order was stayed pending the Plaintiff's interlocutory appeal. On May 30, 2014, our Supreme Court dismissed that appeal as improvidently granted. I then directed the parties to state the reason, should any exist, why the Plaintiff should not comply with my October 14, 2013 Order forthwith. On June 4, 2014, the Plaintiff filed a Motion to Stay the October 14, 2013 Letter Opinion and Order Requiring the Filing of a Largely Unredacted Verified Complaint.
I have reviewed the Plaintiff's submission of June 4, along with the Objectors' answering letters. The Plaintiff seeks a 10-day stay in order for the litigating parties to finalize a settlement and to seek an expungement of the record. I am not at this stage convinced that judicial documents may be expunged, without disclosure to the public, as the Plaintiff proposes. However, I am also mindful that the Complaint in this matter has been withheld from the public for ten months, and that the harm to the public interest of the stay proposed is incremental and comparatively light, even if the motion to expunge is denied. Moreover, although I found that the potential business ramifications of an unredacted Complaint were outweighed by the public interest in this matter, I am mindful that the Plaintiff's interest in maintaining the confidentiality of its court filings through appropriate judicial channels will be forfeited upon unsealing.
For those reasons, the Plaintiff's Motion to Stay my October 14, 2013 Order for a 10-day period is granted. If a settlement is reached and a motion to expunge is filed within that time, this stay shall automatically be extended pending resolution of that motion. The parties, including the Objectors, should confer and submit a schedule for briefing the motion, which I intend to resolve promptly.
To the extent the foregoing requires an Order to take effect, IT IS SO ORDERED.