Jordan Elias Outlines Law of Public Access to Court Documents
The Journal of Law and Policy has published an article by Jordan Elias of Girard Sharp clarifying the legal principles that govern access to court records.
The article, entitled “More Than Tangential”: When Does the Public Have a Right to Access Judicial Records?, considers a 2016 holding that, absent compelling reasons, courts must unseal evidence submitted with a motion “more than tangentially related” to the merits of the case. Elias describes this as a low standard that applies to many types of motions, including evidentiary exclusion, preliminary injunction, class certification, and, in patent cases, Markman proceedings.
After analyzing the strong policy favoring open records and its history and application, Elias argues that too much litigation is occurring in secret and judges can use the “more than tangential” rule to keep electronic dockets available to citizens.
The Law and Policy article is available for download here.