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City of Greenville, Illinois, et al v. Syngenta Crop Protection

July 21, 2011

CITY OF GREENVILLE, ILLINOIS, ET AL., INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SYNGENTA CROP PROTECTION, INC., AND SYNGENTA AG, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge J. Phil Gilbert

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on the defendants' response (Doc. 182) to the Court's April 19, 2011, order to show cause (Doc. 170) why the Court should not unseal every document in this case that has been filed under seal (Docs. 112, 114, 115, 116, 121, 127, 128 & 134). The Court also considers the plaintiffs' reply to the defendants' response (Doc. 183) and the briefing on the motion of Environmental Law and Policy Center ("ELPC") and Prairie Rivers Network ("Prairie Rivers") to intervene in this case for the purpose of gaining access to the sealed documents (Docs. 159, 160, 172 & 173).

I. Sealed Documents

In a prior order, the Court set forth the general legal principles governing the decision to seal documents from public view; it need not reiterate them here. In light of those principles, the defendants offer a variety of reasons for determining the proper sealed status of documents currently under seal:

 Documents not designated or improperly designated as "Confidential" may be unsealed;

 Documents not cited in the briefs should not have been filed at all and should be stricken; and

 Valid reasons exist for maintaining the sealed status of some documents such as, for example, that they contain confidential business information such as trade secrets, nonpublic financial information, personal information regarding non-parties.

The plaintiffs argue that the defendants' response is insufficient and urges the Court to unseal the entire file. Alternatively, it argues that under established case law, there is no justification for sealing

1. Non-Confidential Documents

The defendants agree that the following documents should be unsealed because they are not confidential: Exs. 4-5, 10, 12, 17, 29, 37, 47, 54, 68, 71, 117, 119, 165, 169, 193, 196, 219, 224, 228, 232, 288-293, 318, 325, 330, 332, 334, 338, 345, 364 to Doc. 112; Doc. 114; Doc. 116; Doc. 121; Doc. 127; Doc. 128; and Doc. 134. The Court will not keep those documents from public view.

2. Extraneous Documents

The following documents were not cited in the briefs which with they were submitted:

Exs. 14-16, 18, 20-22, 24, 26-27, 30, 33-35, 38-39, 41-46, 48,50-53, 55, 56, 61-67, 70, 72-78, 80-94, 96-101, 103-106, 108-115, 118, 120-122, 124-133, 135-137, 139-143, 145, 147-151, 153-156, 160-164, 166, 168, 171-174, 177-180, 183-184, 186, 188-191, 200-201, 203-206, 208, 210-216, 220-221, 227, 230, 233-237, 239-240, 242-248, 250-254, 256-271, 276-277, 279-287, 297, 299, 305, 307-317, 319-321, 323-324, 326-327, 331, 335-337, 340-344, 347, 349-356, 362 to Doc. 112; and Exs. 338-348 to Doc. 115.

Because these documents were not cited in the parties' briefs, the Court will not consult them in making its rulings in this case. It is the parties' burden to point the Court to relevant evidence, and the Court will not look for it in the exhibits on its own. "District judges are not archaeologists. They need not excavate masses of papers in search of revealing tidbits -- not only because the rules of procedure place the burden on the litigants, but also because their time is scarce." Northwestern Nat. Ins. Co. v. Baltes, 15 F.3d 660, 662-63 (7th Cir. 1994). As a consequence, these documents can shed no light on the functioning of the Court ...


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