A. In general

Overview

“The courts of this country recognize a general right to inspect and copy public records and documents, including judicial records and documents.”Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978) (footnote omitted). Indeed, the Third Circuit found that in both civil and criminal cases “the existence of a common law right of access to … inspect judicial records is beyond dispute.” Publicker Indus., Inc. v. Cohen, 733 F.2d 1059, 1066 (3rd Cir. 1984); see also Newman v. Graddick, 696 F.2d 796, 801‑03 (11th Cir. 1983) (constitutional right of access to proceedings and common-law right of access to documents in civil case involving prison conditions). Some lower courts also have recognized a constitutional right of access to proceedings and documents in civil cases. The Sixth Circuit, for example, found that the First Amendment and common law limit judicial discretion to seal documents in civil litigation.Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. v. FTC, 710 F.2d 1165, 1177 (6th Cir. 1983).

6th Cir.