Media Allowed to Intervene to Oppose Pseudonymity in Maine Healthcare Facility Vaccination Mandate Challenge

Because the rights to see court records belong to the entire public and are not subject to waiver by any party, such intervention is allowed. Although I don’t know enough about the topic to confirm this logic, it applies to pseudonymity. The Chief Judge Jon Levy’s (D.) decision today is a. Me.) Me.) Does 1-6 v. Mills:

I granted Plaintiffs’ request to proceed pseudonymously on September 2, 2021. The order also gave me permission to review the issue if necessary. More recently, two media companies—MTM Acquisition, Inc., d/b/a Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec JournalPlease see the following: Morning SentinelSJ Acquisition, Inc., d/b/a Sun Journal (the “Media Intervenors”)—have moved to intervene … for the limited purpose of challenging the Plaintiffs’ ongoing use of pseudonyms….

Third-party rights to access information produced through judicial proceedings are made possible by intervention. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (24(b)) allows for permissive intervene if it is shown that the “putative interlocutor” has a common claim or defense and the main action, as long as the Court has the discretion. If the intervenor is not seeking to be a part of the litigation and the purpose for which he or she seeks to intervene is limited, then the requirement that the parties have a common question of law or fact can be relaxed.[s]pecificity, e.g.It is not necessary that intervenors’ claims involve the same legal theory as the main action. If a party wants to intervene in a case “for the limited purpose” of unsealing records of judicial proceedings, many circuits have concluded that such a strong connection of law or fact is not necessary. …

The Federal Court generally does not allow pseudoonymous proceedings.[t]There is an underlying common law presumption that public access to records and proceedings in judicial proceedings can be granted. Additionally, the Court recognized a First Amendment qualified right for public access to civil lawsuits. …

Media Intervenors motion comes in time. This proceeding’s preliminary injunction has ended. The Media Intervenors are seeking to intervene with the restricted purpose of challenging pseudonyms. If pseudonymity is not stopped, then measures would need to be taken to prevent the public from accessing information. These include closing testimonial proceedings and sealing or redacting records. Accordingly, the circumstances of the litigation have changed such that the motion has been timely brought…. Further, the Media Intervenors promptly brought their motion upon the conclusion of the preliminary injunction proceedings….

They also claim that the granting of intervention will cause undue delay to their case and unfairly disadvantage them. In fact, they have committed to filing an appeal to contest intervention in the event that the Media Intervenors motion is denied. This will further delay matters. An interlocutory appellation will undoubtedly prolong the duration of the litigation. However, this extension is neither unfairly or undue prejudicial to Plaintiffs’ rights. An interlocutory appeal will be decided by the Plaintiffs and not the Court.

Also, Plaintiffs claim that the motion should fail because Media Intervenors want to raise an issue that is not being litigated by either side. However, this argument ignores the additional fact that when considering a motion to permit intervention courts must consider “whether the putative intervenor’s interest is sufficiently represented by an existing person.” Because the Media Intervenors seek to vindicate their and the public’s common law and First Amendment rights of access to judicial proceedings, and that interest is not currently represented by any of the parties, this consideration weighs in favor of granting, not denying, intervention….