From the Spring 2007 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 5.
Super-sealed or off-the-docket cases are essentially invisible to the public because they do not show up on the public dockets. Usually, when a member of the public searches for these cases on computerized filing systems, they will not acknowledge the cases’ existence. Therefore, it is practically impossible for the public to know they exist and to challenge their secrecy. The media also must do a fair amount of digging to uncover how pervasive off-the-docket cases are.
Sealed cases have case numbers that appear on the public docket. Typically, some information, such as the litigants’ names or sealing orders, are available for public inspection. However, as The Seattle Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal and other media outlets have reported, pervasive sealing flouts the presumption that court cases are open to the public and makes it difficult to spot wrongdoing and patterns of misconduct. –RG