Utica Mut. Ins. Co. v. Munich Reins. Am., Inc., No. 6:12-CV-00196 and 6:13-CV-00743 (BKS/ATB) (N.D.N.Y. Apr. 26, 2017).

Whether documents concerning reinsurance disputes should be sealed has been a vexing question. The courts have been trending toward denying motions to seal. In this reinsurance dispute, the cedent sought to seal summary judgment exhibits. The motion came on renewal of a prior motion by both parties to seal, which the court had denied with permission to renew.

On renewal, only the cedent sought to seal the documents and the court denied the motion to maintain the documents under seal, except as to a redacted version of briefs in a similar case. While the cedent had reduced the number of documents it wished to seal from 285 to 100, the court denied the motion for most of the documents because of the court's perceived deficiencies in the cedent's inability to provide a factual basis that would allow the court to make specific findings that sealing was essential to preserve the confidentiality of the documents.

Essentially, most of the documents implicated the attorney-client or attorney work product privileges, but the court found that the cedent offered no basis for the court to make the specific findings required to seal the documents. These documents included arbitration documents from a related arbitration between the cedent and another reinsurer. The court found that the cedent provided no evidence in non-conclusory terms to demonstrate the privacy interest that needed to be protected.