Judge denies request to unseal files in stripper lawsuit
Detroit — A federal judge today denied attempts by The Detroit News and other media to intervene in a civil lawsuit filed by the family of a slain exotic dancer.
Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen said the requests were premature and that he would carefully examine documents and unseal portions in certain instances.
The judge’s order is the latest development in a long-running civil lawsuit filed by the family of Tamara “Strawberry” Greene, a slain exotic dancer alleged to have danced at a rumored Manoogian Mansion party.
The civil lawsuit accuses Detroit and ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick of quashing an investigation into Greene’s 2003 death in a drive-by shooting several months after she was linked to a rumored but never proven party at the mayor’s mansion in fall 2002.
The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) asked to intervene in an attempt to unseal court records and exhibits in the case.
The sealed records being sought include Greene family lawyer Norman Yatooma’s response to legal efforts by the city of Detroit and Kilpatrick to dismiss the civil lawsuit. Yatooma argues his response should be unsealed because the city’s motion to dismiss was accidentally and briefly posted on the court’s computerized docket in September.
The filings are sealed because the court has issued orders protecting the privacy of witnesses during the discovery process and to preserve the integrity of an investigation into Greene’s death.
Also today, Rosen granted a request by Yatooma to file a combined response to the city and Kilpatrick’s summary judgment motions. The judge also granted Yatooma’s request to exceed a 20-page limit by filing a 130-page brief.
Yatooma’s response was sealed but he asked Rosen to unseal it.
In his order today, Rosen wrote the court “will promptly review this response to determine whether it should be made publicly available, with or without redaction, and the parties will be given an opportunity to raise any objections.”