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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE FIFTHTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN AND FOR PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA CIVIL DIVISION HSBC BANK USA, Plaintiff, vs. ‘Case No: 502009CA030403XXMBAW ABBY LOPEZ, etal., Defendants. i MOTION TO INTERVENE FOR THE LIMITED PURPOSE OF OPPOSING CLOSURE OF JUDICIAL RECORDS AND PROCEEDINGS Pursuant to Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.420, First Amendment Foundation, Inc., Scripps Media, Inc., owner and operator of the Stuart News, Fort Pierce Tribune, Vero Beach Press Journal,, and WPTV NewsChannel 5, and Sun-Sentinel Publishing, Company, publisher of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (collectively, “Intervenors”) move to intervene in this action for the limited purpose of opposing the removal of records from the public court file and the closure of certain proceedings in this case. In support thereof, the Intervenors state as follows: 1. ‘The First Amendment Foundation is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to safeguarding the free flow of information to all people in Florida. It was formed for the purpose of helping preserve and advance freedom of speech and access to government information as provided in the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution. The remaining Intervenors are news organizations that have covered the foreclosure crisis in Florida, and continue to do so. The media intervenors attend court proceedings and rely upon state, county and local public records, as well as judicial records, as part of their newsgathering process. Background 2. Eight months ago, in connection with its attempt to foreclose on the property that is the subject of this proceeding, the Plaintiff in this action filed in this Court an Amended Affidavit of Indebtedness (“AOI”), The AOI was filed in support of Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and included email communications that raised questions as to whether the correct bank is attempting to foreclose on this property. The email communications, thus, are court records and have been for some time. The email communications were widely reported on and remain readily available on the internet today. 3. Six months after filing the emails, the Plaintiff in this action filed a Motion to Purge them from the court file. The Motion secks to remove the entire AOI from the court file. The crux of the motion, and its supplement, argue against the waiver of the attomey-client privilege by alleged inadvertent disclosure of the email communications attached to the AOI. Plaintiff essentially secks to exclude use of the emails at issue as evidence against Plaintiff. But Plaintiff's motion goes further and argues that the entire AOI be deleted from the public’s court files. Plaintiff relies exclusively on case law concerning waiver of the attorney-client privilege in the discovery context and ignores the AOI’s status as a public court record. 4. Ahhearing was held in open court on the Motion to Purge on May 24, 2012, at which Plaintiff apparently asked that the proceedings related to the Motion to Purge be closed. Upon information and belief, the hearing was then cancelled so that Plaintiff could file a motion seeking such relief. Counsel for the Intervenors has requested a transcript of that public proceeding from the court reporter present, who will not transcribe it for the Intervenors because the Plaintiff refuses to give its permission to do so. 5. On June 1, 2012, Plaintiff filed a second motion seeking closure of the proceedings related to the Motion to Purge. 6. This motion follows. The Intervenors’ Standing to Oppose Closure 7. The proposed closure of proceedings and attempt to remove records from the public court file in this matter directly impacts the Intervenor’s ability to monitor this civil proceeding. Asa result, the Intervenors have standing to intervene and oppose the closure of the courtroom and court file, Barron v, Florida Freedom Newspapers, Inc., $31 So. 2d 113, 118 (Fla. 1988) (“both the public and news media shall have standing to challenge any closure” and the “burden of proof in these proceedings shall always be on the party seeking closure”).' The Intervenors would like to be heard on this matter, and, as more thoroughly discussed herein, assert that both motions should be denied. ‘The Standard for Closure of Court Proceedings and Records in Florida 8. In Florida, “a strong presumption of openness exists for all court proceedings. A trial is a public event, and the filed records of court proceedings are public records available for public examination.” Barron, 531 So. 2d at 118. The reason for openness is that “[pJublic trials are essential to the judicial system’s credibility in a free society.” Id. Records too, including those of the judicial branch, are available to Floridians as a matter of constitutional right. Fla. Const. Art. L, § 24. Consideration of whether to conceal judicial records or close court proceedings “must begin with the proposition that all civil and criminal court proceedings are public events, records of court proceedings are public records and there is a strong presumption in favor of public access to such matters.” Sentinel Communications Co. v. Watson, 615 So. 2d + Given their standing to intervene, Intervenors request the Court order Plaintiff" counsel to permit the court reporter to provide to them a copy of the transcript of the May 24, 2012 proceedings in this case because those proceedings, held in open court, directly relate to the issues of access in this case about which Intervenors have standing to participate in these proceedings.