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Media coalition urges SDNY to require public filing of complaint against Google

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  1. Court Access

Update: On Oct. 15, 2021, a federal judge partially denied and partially granted Google’s motion to seal portions of the state plaintiffs’ second amended complaint. For most of the redactions Google sought, the court found that the company had not adequately demonstrated that its asserted privacy interests outweighed the presumption of public access. The court ordered the state plaintiffs to file a less-redacted version of their second amended complaint by Oct. 22. 

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by 23 media organizations, is urging a federal district court in New York to require states challenging Google’s digital advertising practices to file their amended complaint publicly in unredacted form.

The media coalition filed a letter with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Sept. 17, 2021, after the court issued an order directing the parties to submit briefing addressing why certain information in a second amended complaint filed by the plaintiffs in Texas, et al. v. Google LLC should remain under seal.

The letter argues that sealing is inappropriate, given the First Amendment and common law presumptions in favor of the public’s right of access to judicial records in civil cases, including complaints.

“Without access to the unredacted pleading,” the Reporters Committee’s letter states, “members of the press and the public — including amici who are covering this litigation — will be unable to fully understand the issues presented in this matter and any subsequent, substantive rulings made by the Court in this case, which is of significant public concern.”