United States District Court, D. Nevada
ORDER (DOCKET NO. 17)
J. KOPPE United States Magistrate Judge.
February 1, 2017, Petitioners filed a motion to seal, which
the Court denied without prejudice on February 16, 2017 for
failure to include points and authorities. Docket Nos. 3, 13.
On February 22, 2017, Petitioners filed a renewed motion to
seal, which is now pending before the Court. Docket No. 17.
No response was filed. See Docket.
Ninth Circuit has held that there is a strong presumption of
public access to judicial records. See Kamakana v. City
& Cty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir.
2006); Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331
F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003). A party seeking to file
documents under seal bears the burden of overcoming that
presumption. Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass'n, 605
F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting Kamakana, 447
F.3d at 1178).
standard applicable to a motion to seal turns on whether the
sealed materials are submitted in conjunction with a
dispositive, or a non-dispositive motion. Whether a motion is
“dispositive” turns on “whether the motion
at issue is more than tangentially related to the underlying
cause of action.” See Ctr. for Auto Safety v.
Chrysler Grp., LLC, 809 F.3d 1092, 1101 (9th Cir.),
cert. denied, 137 S.Ct. 38 (2016).
seeking to maintain the confidentiality of documents attached
to non-dispositive motions must make a “particularized
showing” of “good cause.” See
Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1180 (quoting Foltz, 331
F.3d at 1137). This requirement derives from Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 26(c), under which “[t]he court may,
for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person
from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or
expense.” Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1)).
“Broad allegations of harm, unsubstantiated by specific
examples or articulated reasoning, do not satisfy the Rule
26(c) test.” Beckman Indus., Inc. v. Int'l Ins.
Co., 966 F.2d 470, 475 (9th Cir. 1992) (internal
other hand, parties “who seek to maintain the secrecy
of documents attached to dispositive motions must meet the
high threshold of showing that ‘compelling reasons'
support secrecy.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1180.
Those compelling reasons must outweigh the competing
interests of the public in having access to the judicial
records and understanding the judicial process. Id.
at 1178-79; see also Pintos, 605 F.3d at 679 &
n.6 (court must weigh “relevant factors, ”
including the public's interest in understanding the
to the extent any confidential information can be easily
redacted while leaving meaningful information available to
the public, the Court must order that redacted versions be
filed rather than sealing entire documents. Foltz,
331 F.3d at 1137; see also In re Roman Catholic
Archbishop of Portland in Oregon, 661 F.3d 417, 425 (9th
Cir. 2011) (the district court must “keep in mind the
possibility of redacting the sensitive material”).
pending motion seeks to seal Petitioners' motion to
compel, as well as exhibits 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12, and
Petitioners' reply in support of the motion to compel.
See Docket No. 17 (motion to seal); Docket No. 1
(motion to compel and exhibits); Docket No. 15 (reply in
support of motion to compel). The Court reviews this motion
under the good cause standard. See Kamakana, 447
F.3d at 1185-86; 3B Med., Inc. v. Resmed Corp., 2016
WL 6818953, at *2 (S.D. Cal. Oct. 11, 2016) (applying the
good cause standard in the context of a motion to compel
related to an underlying action in a different district).
ask the Court to seal the documents at issue because they
reference information covered by a stipulated protective
order in an underlying action in the Northern District of
Illinois. Docket No. 17 at 3. Petitioners contend that,
because that information is covered by a stipulated
protective order, the documents at issue “may contain
trade secrets and other sensitive, non-public business
secrets or plans.” Id.
mere existence of a stipulated protective order is
insufficient to justify sealing. See Beckman, 966
F.2d at 476 (internal citation omitted) (“In the
instant case, the parties stipulated to a blanket protective
order. Reliance will be less with the blanket order, because
it is by nature overinclusive . . . [B]ecause the protective
order was a stipulated blanket order, International never had
to make a ‘good cause' showing . . . in the first
place”). Moreover, the broad assertion that all of the
documents “may” contain trade secrets or other
sensitive information falls far short of satisfying the Ninth
Circuit's requirement of a “particularized
showing” of “good cause.” See
Kamakana, 446 F.3d at 1180 (citing Foltz, 331
F.3d at 1136).
addition, the pending motion seeks to seal in their entirety
several exhibits to the motion to compel, without explaining
why redaction is not proper instead. The Court also notes
that instead of filing the exhibits as separate attachments,
Petitioners initially filed their motion to compel and all of
its exhibits under seal, as one document. See Docket
No. 1 at 24-173. Thus, even the exhibits that Petitioners
contend should be public have been filed under seal.