Hi TCPAWorld! The Baroness here.
In a TCPA case Frantz Samson v. United HealthCare Services Inc., Defendant United HealthCare Services filed a motion to seal or redact three categories of documents.
The categories of documents were:
- confidential and identifying information, including names, phone numbers, addresses and medical information about United members and or class members;
- documents that discuss United’s internal policies and procedures; and
- information involving member demographics and United’s dialing campaigns.
The Court stated it may only seal records if it “base[s] its decision on a compelling reason and articulate[s] the factual basis for its ruling, without relying on hypothesis or conjecture.”
United was required to show: (1) “the legitimate private or public interests that warrant the relief sought”; (2) “the injury that will result if the relief sought is not granted”; and (3) “why a less restrictive alternative to the relief sought is not sufficient.”
The first category was confidential and identifying information, including names, phone numbers, addresses and medical information about United members and or class members. Should this be redacted?
The Court found that such personal identifying information should be redacted. The Court held this was because “[r]edacting personal and medical information serves a compelling interest…” Makes sense.
The second category was documents that discuss United’s internal policies and procedures. Should this be redacted?
The Court found that such policies and procedures should be redacted. United stated public disclosure of its policies and procedures would allow competitors to use this information and replicate them to their advantage. The Court found this was a compelling reason.
The last category was information involving member demographics and United’s dialing campaigns. Should this be redacted?
Instead of granting this category of documents as a whole, the Court analyzed each document United sought to seal in this category.
United sought to seal three documents: (1) step-by-step guide for United’s collections agents making calls, (2) a document that describes the various campaigns United conducts, and (3) a list of different call disposition codes that can be used, when they should be used and if the member should be called again.
The Court found the first two documents warranted sealing because the nature of the documents were such that “United’s competitors could use them to develop similar practices and campaigns.” We are seeing a similar pattern here. If United was able to articulate why its competitors could use the information to their advantage and thus, to United’s disadvantage, the Court was persuaded.
The last document Untied sought to seal in this category was a list of disposition codes. In line with the reasoning above, the Court found that this document did not warrant sealing because United failed to explain how calling disposition codes could be used by United’s competitors to their advantage.
Similarly, the Court denied United’s motion to seal documents regarding campaign names and descriptions, and United’s team names and number of employees. The Court found United did “little to explain how this information could be used by a competitor other than making vague assertions that revealing this information could put it at a competitive disadvantage.”
Would you agree?