Civil judges clarify sealed case rule

Madison County civil circuit judges have clarified a previous policy regarding protective orders, adding certain requirements before attorneys can file documents under seal.

Circuit Judge Don Weber wrote the amendment which states, "Whenever a party intends to file documents with the court under seal, cover documents must be attached to the sealed envelope."

These cover documents must include the following:

  • A copy of the order allowing the documents to be filed under seal;

  • A list of all documents filed under seal stating in general terms the nature of the document and the reason the document is being filed under seal, for example: Exhibit 1: Confidential patient medical records, or Exhibit 2: Sales brochure describing trade secrets.

    The judges agreed on the order to ensure the public's right to monitor the functioning of the court and to preserve the integrity of the judicial system, according to Chief Judge Ann Callis.

    The new rule does not apply to matters in Juvenile Court.

    "The Circuit Judges of Madison County have met and determined this to be the appropriate step to insure and preserve the integrity of our judicial system," Callis stated in a press release.

    The new administrative order is 2006-C-13.

    The judges currently presiding over civil cases are Callis, Weber, chief of the Civil Division, Dan Stack, and Circuit Judges Lola Maddox, Andy Matoesian and Nick Byron.
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