United States District Court, District of Columbia
ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Markets, Inc. filed a motion to intervene and a contingent
application for an order to show cause why the record in this
case should not be entirely unsealed. The underlying lawsuit
was brought by MetLife to challenge to its designation by the
Financial Security Oversight Council (FSOC) as a nonbank
systemically important financial institution under the
Dodd-Frank Act. That challenge was sustained and the
designation rescinded. Yet as Better Markets points out, much
of the substantive record concerning FSOC’s Final
Determination, and MetLife’s opposition to it, remains
sealed or redacted from the public record.
motion to intervene by permission will be granted and the
application for an order to show cause will be denied. The
motion assumes that this Court has not reviewed the record in
this case or the extensive briefs filed in it, and that the
Court instead has allowed the parties alone to determine what
should be redacted. That assumption is in error. Just as
importantly, the law protects MetLife’s submissions to
FSOC and FSOC’s discussion of them. Finally, the need
to unseal the record is lessened because the Court’s
prior Opinion and Order contain no redactions and can be
December 18, 2014, FSOC voted 9-1 to designate MetLife under
Section 113 of the Dodd-Frank Act, 12 U.S.C. § 5323. On
the same day, FSOC issued its Explanation of the Basis of
Final Determination (Final Determination). FSOC
concluded that “material financial distress” at
MetLife “could pose a threat to the financial stability
of the United States.” See 12 U.S.C. §
public version of FSOC’s Final Determination has been
available since the day it was issued. See
That 30-page analysis lays bare each of FSOC’s
conclusions vis-à-vis MetLife and its potential to
threaten the financial stability of the United States. An
appendix summarizes MetLife’s Consolidated Balance
Sheet. See id.
January 13, 2015, MetLife filed suit in this Court seeking
rescission of FSOC’s Final Determination. See
Compl. [Dkt. 1]. The parties filed cross motions for summary
judgment. On August 24, 2015, MetLife filed an unopposed
motion to file unredacted final briefs under seal.
See Mot. [Dkt. 67]. The motion was granted by Minute
Order, and MetLife filed its final briefs under seal on
September 18, 2015. See Mem. [Dkt. 72-1]; Reply
[Dkt. 73-1]. MetLife also moved to file the Joint Appendix
under seal. See Mot. [Dkt. 68]. That motion was
granted by Minute Order, and the Joint Appendix was filed
under Seal on September 4, 2016. See Joint.
App’x [Dkt. 69].
September 30, 2015, the parties again filed publicly their
final, redacted briefs. The parties had conferred and decided
that even more information could be released publicly.
See Notice of Filing [Dkt. 84] at 1. These were the
briefs relied on by the Court. See Op. [Dkt. 105] at
2 (citing Def. Mot. for Summ. J. [Dkt. 84-1] (FSOC Mot.); Pl.
Opp’n & Mot. for Summ. J. [Dkt. 86-1] (MetLife
Mot.); Def. Opp’n & Reply [Dkt. 84-2] (FSOC Reply);
and Pl. Reply [Dkt. 86-2] (MetLife Reply)).
November 19, 2015, Better Markets moved to intervene in this
case. See Mot. [Dkt. 89]. Better Markets sought
permissive intervention under Fed.R.Civ.P. 24(b) “for
the limited purpose of seeking to unseal the record in this
case.” Id. at 1. After a brief extension of
time, MetLife and FSOC filed their opposition and response,
respectively, to Better Markets’ motion. See
Opp’n [Dkt. 95] (Opp’n); Resp. [Dkt. 96] (Resp.).
Better Markets filed a reply. See [Dkt. 98] (Reply).
December 8, 2015, the Court granted a Motion to Compel [Dkt.
50] by MetLife. See Order [Dkt. 93]. The Court
ordered 32 additional documents to be turned over and
directed the parties to propose a supplemental briefing
schedule. Pursuant to that schedule, MetLife filed under seal
a supplemental brief on January 5, 2016 [Dkt. 97] and FSOC
filed an opposition on January 26, 2016 [Dkt. 99]. MetLife
filed publicly a redacted version of its Supplemental
Memorandum on February 5, 2016 [Dkt. 103], as did FSOC [Dkt.
102]. Neither brief was relied on-explicitly or implicitly-in
the Court’s ultimate disposition of this case. See
generally Op. [Dkt. 105].
January 27, 2016, MetLife (of its own volition) suggested
that “some of the information that had been redacted
from the public versions of its briefs and the joint appendix
can now be made public without compromising the
Company’s proprietary commercial or financial
information.” Notice of Filing [Dkt. 100] at 1. MetLife
filed new, less-redacted versions its final Motion for
Summary Judgment [Dkt. 100-1]; its final Reply [Dkt. 100-2];
Volume 5 of the Joint Appendix [Dkt. 100-3]; and Volume 13 of
the Joint Appendix [Dkt. 100-4]. To appreciate how minimally
redacted these filings are, consider that MetLife’s
final Motion had only two redactions in 71 pages of facts and
argument. See Mot. [Dkt. 100-1] at 29, 64-65.
FSOC’s final Motion contained two redactions in 62
pages. See Mot. [Dkt. 84-1] at 47, 51 n.35. In
short, the parties’ filings are almost entirely open to
February 10, 2016, the Court held a hearing on the
parties’ cross motions for summary judgment. The
hearing was open to the public-complete with a live video
feed into a second courtroom so that even more people could
attend-and the Transcript of Proceedings [Dkt. 108] is
available to the public.
March 30, 2016, the Court entered an Opinion [Dkt. 105] under
seal and an Order [Dkt. 106] granting in part MetLife’s
motion for summary judgment and denying FSOC’s motion
for summary judgment. The Court gave the parties one week to
suggest any redactions to the Court’s Opinion. Both
parties agreed that the Opinion should be unsealed entirely.
See Notice [Dkt. 109]. The Court agreed and entered
a Minute ...