Partner Jon Buchan was quoted recently in a Fayetteville Observer article, “Lallier Ruling Sets Benchmark for Open Courts in N.C.”
The article discusses implications of the December 18, 2018 decision by the North Carolina Court of Appeals that ruled for Essex Richards’ client The Fayetteville Observer and reversed a Superior Court Judge’s sealing of the entire court file in a civil case involving a prominent Fayetteville business man.
“The Court of Appeals opinion communicates a firm message to the trial courts,” said Charlotte lawyer Jon Buchan, who represented the Observer in the case.
“First, for a trial court to seal any portion of a court file, it’s not enough to have a ‘good’ reason, there must be a compelling reason,” he said. “Second, even if the trial court finds there is a compelling reason — as here, the protection of the identities of minor victims of alleged sexual assault — it must also tailor the sealing to be as narrow and minimal as possible.
“The policy behind this high bar to sealing court records is simple: The public must have confidence that our courts operate fairly, effectively and honestly. The best way to ensure that confidence is to keep our court proceedings and court records open to the public except in the most extraordinary circumstances,” Buchan said.
To read the full story from the Fayetteville Observer, click here.