Sunday, November 24, 2013

Grove Fresh Distributors, Inc. v. Everfresh Juice Co. case brief

Grove Fresh Distributors, Inc. v. Everfresh Juice Co. case brief summary
24 F.3d 893 (7th Cir. 1994)

Appellant intervenors, consumers and journalists, sought review from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, in which their requests to intervene in pending litigation between appellees competing orange juice manufacturers, to obtain documents which had been sealed or shielded by protective order, was denied.

Appellee orange juice manufacturer filed suit against appellee competing orange juice manufacturer alleging that it engaged in a conspiracy to unlawfully adulterate and misbrand orange juice. The district court issued a protective order limiting appellee's ability to disclose information obtained from competing manufacturers by virtue of discovery which was classified as confidential. The entire record was eventually sealed after dismissal and settlement of the claims. Appellant intervenors, journalists and consumers, sought to modify the order and vacate the seal which was rejected by the district court.


  • The court remanded for reconsideration of consumers' motion to intervene where competing manufacturers should have been required to establish that disclosure of certain materials would prejudice substantial rights. 
  • The court remanded with instructions to consider journalists' allegations concerning abuse of the protective order where their motion was improperly denied for lack of standing. 
  • The press had standing to challenge the protective order for abuse or impropriety.

The court remanded for reconsideration of the motions with instructions to articulate its findings because journalists could challenge a protective order based on abuse or impropriety and appellees were required to establish prejudice of substantial rights if requested materials were provided to the public.

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