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Court won’t seal evidence in Spierer civil suit

March 21, 2014

Evidence in the federal civil suit against the last people believed to have seen missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer may not be covered by a broad order shielding exhibits and testimony from public view.

Spierer was 20 and a freshman on the IU Bloomington campus when she disappeared in June 2011. No arrests have been made, but Spierer’s parents sued the three men believed to have last seen her after a night of drinking and partying.

Robert and Mary Spierer in January asked Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana to grant a protective order that would have broadly granted sealed discovery. The Spierers’ motion said a protective order was necessary “to protect the public disclosure of private and sensitive information that could detrimentally affect the ongoing criminal investigation and ensure an impartial jury at trial.”

Magistrate Tim Baker denied the motion Wednesday, writing the request was overbroad and failed to meet 7th Circuit standards. 

“The Court will not grant carte blanche to seal such material by way of an approved protective order,” Baker wrote, “and any subsequent motion seeking to seal any part of the record will be strictly scrutinized.”

The suit is Robert Evan Spierer and Mary Charlene Spierer v. Corey Rossman, Jason Isaac Rosenbaum and Michael B. Beth, 1:13-CV-00991-TWP-TAB. Pratt in December dismissed Beth from the suit and also dismissed negligence claims against Rosenbaum and Rossman. But she let stand negligence per say and dram shop liability claims against Rosenbaum and Rossman.

“Whether or not these claims can survive summary judgment is a matter for another day,” Pratt wrote in December.
 

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