The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge
On August 24, 2009, a hearing was convened on an OSC concerning why Plaintiff and/or her counsel should not be sanctioned for failure to file a pretrial statement. Plaintiff's counsel responded with documents he requested be filed under seal.
Those documents were submitted to chambers under Local Rule 39-141(d), for in camera consideration of the sealing request.
Defendants objected to Plaintiff's counsel's sealing request, questioning whether Plaintiff's counsel satisfied the applicable sealing standard, and whether the content of what Plaintiff's counsel seeks to seal indicates "that Plaintiff's case lacks merit or is being brought for an improper purpose . . . ."
At the August 24 hearing, the undersigned judge returned to Plaintiff's counsel the documents he requested be sealed, since Plaintiff included in those documents an attorney withdraw argument that should be made in a motion filed on the public docket, and it was unclear whether the issues involved with the OSC hearing concerned everything Plaintiff's counsel desired to have sealed.
Although the OSC was discussed at the hearing, and Plaintiff's counsel made arguments against being sanctioned, the matter was not decided because Plaintiff's counsel sought to use information he desired to have sealed in his argument against being sanctioned. Under the circumstances, and since Defendants objected to Plaintiff's counsel's sealing request, the court did not decide the sanction issue.
However, the final pretrial conference was continued to October 26, 2009, commencing at 1:30 p.m., so that Defendants could delay submitting another pretrial statement until after Plaintiff and her counsel decided whether they could mend the attorney-client issue alluded to during the hearing. Plaintiff's counsel also said he was going to file a motion for leave to withdraw as counsel, but he failed to provide a sufficient explanation why he has not already filed a timely motion to withdraw. A Joint Pretrial Statement shall be filed seven days before the final pretrial conference, along with proposed jury instructions on the substantive issues to be tried, proposed voir dire, and a proposed verdict form. If the judge is to decide an issue, proposed findings and conclusions of law shall also be filed.
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