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August 1, 2017

DC Circuit Court Decision in MetLife Is a Victory for Public’s Right to Transparency and Openness

Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Contact: Nick Jacobs, 202-618-6430 or

Washington, D.C. – Stephen Hall, Legal Director and Securities Specialist for Better Markets, released the following statement on today’s decision in MetLife v. FSOC directing the district court to review the portions of the record currently under seal:

“Today’s decision directing the district court to carefully review the vast portions of the record under seal in MetLife v. FSOC is a huge victory for the American people and their right to know how our courts and agencies are protecting the public interest.   The decision comes in an historic case testing the authority of the Financial Stability Oversight Counsel to protect the stability of our financial system by designating financial institutions for enhanced supervision. 

“In unanimously reversing the district court, the appellate panel made several critical rulings. First, it resoundingly affirmed the importance of the public’s right of access to judicial records, which ensures the integrity of the judicial process.  Second, it held that regardless of whether the district court actually cited them in its decision on the merits, the briefs and portions of the record that were intended to influence the court are indeed “judicial records” and are therefore subject to the right of access.    Finally, the Court rejected the argument that the Dodd-Frank Act categorically insulated the sealed portions of the record from the public’s right of access. 

“Now, as originally requested by Better Markets, the district court must conduct a careful balancing test, applying a series of factors to each document or group of documents to determine if they should remain under seal.  And it must supply its reasoning, so that the public can know whether any legitimate privacy concerns of the parties have been properly weighed against the public’s right of access.”


Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit

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