Mirlis v. Greer, No. 17-4023 (2d Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
In a case involving the sexual abuse of a minor by his religious leader, the Second Circuit reversed a post-trial ruling by the district court granting in part the request of Lawrence Dressler, a non‐party, for release of the video recording of the deposition of Aviad Hack, also a non‐party witness. Hack testified that he was a victim of sexual abuse by defendant and that he became aware of plaintiff's sexual abuse by defendant when he was an adult and plaintiff was a minor. The district court ruled that portions of the deposition video were judicial documents subject to a strong presumption of public access and that Hack's privacy interest in the deposition video was insufficient to rebut the presumption.
The court held, however, that the district court erred by failing to take into account Dressler's motives in obtaining, and likely course of action with, the video recording. Dressler had written voluminously on his blog about the trial, disparaged both Hack and defendant, and sought to copy the video so that he could post it publicly on his internet blog. The court also held that the district court accorded insufficient weight to Hack's privacy interests as a minor victim. In this case, the district court undervalued the intense intrusion on Hack's privacy interests that the internet publication of the video excerpts would effect.