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Bobolas v. Doe

Topic(s): Open Court Proceedings and Challenges to Protective Orders

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Description:

A Greek construction and media magnate filed a defamation action in federal court in Arizona against several John Doe defendants, complaining about their Greek-language blog about him at http://bobolasgate.info/ . In addition to asking for a temporary restraining order ("TRO") taking the blog down, the magnate asked that the affidavits and exhibits filed with the motion be maintained under seal, explaining that the sealed material could hurt his reputation. The district court denied the TRO but granted the motion to seal, albeit without any explanation. The plaintiff then dismissed the action. Public Citizen moved for leave to intervene and to unseal the papers filed in support of the TRO motion, arguing that the public has a presumptive right of access to judicial records and that a plaintiff cannot both ask a court to suppress public criticism and demand that the reasons for the requested suppression be kept confidential.