Rule 48: Sealing of Cases

See also Rule 6 (Protection of Privacy)

(a) Cases Involving Protected Records. If, during the time periods set out in Rule 10 (The Record Before the Agency) or at any other time during a proceeding before the Court, the parties identify records protected by 38 U.S.C. § 7332 and at least one of the parties believes that disclosure of such records is required in such proceedings and further, the parties cannot agree with respect to the disclosure of such records, the party requesting disclosure shall make immediate application therefor, pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 7332(b)(2)(D), caption the case "In re: Sealed Case No. [insert Court docket number]" (not disclosing the identity of any individual), and serve on the protected person or successor in interest a copy of the application. Such application shall include a statement specifying those steps taken by the parties to reach agreement before application was made to the Court. Upon receipt of such application, unless otherwise directed by the Court, the Clerk will enter the case as "withdrawn" on the docket, assign a new docket number and recaption the case using an encoded identifier, and seal the record of proceedings and the file of the Court. Thereafter, any party or representative of a party, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, shall make reference in any subsequent filing only to the new docket number and caption assigned by the Clerk.

(b) Other Cases. The procedures described in this Rule may, in the Court's discretion, be applied to cases that the Court orders sealed but that do not contain records protected by 38 U.S.C § 7332.