After Rocky Mountain Bank mistakenly sent an email with attached records about more than one thousand customers to a Gmail address, it sued Google to identify the owner of the account and to shut down the Gmail account, but gave no notice to the Gmail account owner of the pending motion. The trial judge issued a Temporary Restraining Order granting the bank full relief, and Google promptly complied, furnishing the judge with a report on its compliance but not filing a copy of the compliance report publicly. Arguing that Google’s report to the court is a judicial record that the law requires be open for public inspection, Public Citizen filed a motion on behalf of MediaPost Communications to unseal the report, subject only to redaction of any information actually identifying the owner of the Gmail account. The district judge rejected this motion, but MediaPost appealed.
The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the compliance report is a “quintessential judicial document,” and remanding to allow the district court to decide whether and how to redact the document before disclosure.