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King & Spalding, LLP v. HHS, No. 16-01616, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60949 (D.D.C. Apr. 7, 2020) (Mehta, J.)


King & Spalding, LLP v. HHS, No. 16-01616, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60949 (D.D.C. Apr. 7, 2020) (Mehta, J.)

Re:  Request for records provided to the government by any person or entity concerning medical device company represented by plaintiff

Disposition:  Granting defendant's motion to reconsider; denying plaintiff's motion to file documents under seal

  • Litigation Considerations:   "Because the court erred in assuming Defendants' non-opposition, the court will reconsider its sealing order and evaluate the merits of Plaintiff's Sealed Motion de novo, as if . . . the court had not ruled on it previously."  The court relates that "Plaintiff argued that sealing the firm's billing records will not hinder public access to the proceedings; the information has not been disclosed to the public."  "Defendants counter that potential competitive harm is not a 'sound legal basis' for sealing the exhibits and that [plaintiff] has publicly filed billing rates in other cases."  "[T]he court finds that Plaintiff has not overcome the 'strong presumption' in favor of public access to judicial records."  The court finds that "there is something untoward about Plaintiff asking to conceal their hourly rates and the work done from public view, while demanding hundreds of thousands of dollars from the public treasury as compensation."  Additionally, the court notes that "as Defendants point out, [plaintiff's] attorney billing rates have been disclosed in other court cases."  Also, the court finds that "the fact that Plaintiff is both the party requesting attorneys' fees and the party objecting to the disclosure cuts against its demand for secrecy."  Moreover, the court finds that "Plaintiff's claimed competitive interest in maintaining the confidentiality of its billing rates lacks evidentiary support."  "Finally, [the court finds that] the records that Plaintiff asks to keep under seal go the very heart of what is before the court:  questions concerning the reasonableness of Plaintiff's counsel's hourly rates and the reasonableness of the time they expended on this matter."
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District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Supplemental to Main Categories
Updated May 12, 2020