United States District Court, D. Nevada
IRVING A. BACKMAN, et al., Plaintiffs,
CHRISTOPHER M. GOGGIN, et al., Defendants.
ORDER (MOT. TO SEAL - ECF NO. 129)
A. LEEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Plaintiffs' Motion to Seal
(ECF No. 129). This Motion is referred to the undersigned
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and LR IB 1-3 of
the Local Rules of Practice.
general matter, there is a strong presumption of access to
judicial records. Kamakana v. City & Cnty. of
Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1179 (9th Cir. 2006). “In
keeping with the strong public policy favoring access to
court records, most judicial records may be sealed only if
the court finds ‘compelling reasons'.”
Oliner v. Kontrabecki, 745 F.3d 1024, 1025-26 (9th
Cir. 2014) (citing Pintos v. Pac. Creditors
Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 677-78 (9th Cir. 2010)).
However, public “access to judicial records is not
absolute.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1178. The
Ninth Circuit has held that the strong presumption of access
to judicial records “applies fully to dispositive
pleadings, including motions for summary judgment and related
attachments.” Id. at 1179. Thus, a movant must
show “compelling reasons” to seal judicial
records attached to a dispositive motion. Id.
(citing Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d
1122, 1136 (9th Cir. 2003)). In general, compelling reasons
exist when court records might become a vehicle for improper
purposes, “such as to gratify private spite, promote
public scandal, commit libel, or release trade
secrets.” In re Roman Catholic Archbishop of
Portland in Oregon, 661 F.3d 417, 429 (9th Cir. 2011).
Ninth Circuit has made it clear that the sealing of entire
documents is improper when any confidential information can
be redacted while leaving meaningful information available to
the public. Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1137. To the extent
that a sealing order is permitted, it must be narrowly
tailored. See, e.g., Press-Enterprise Co. v.
Superior Ct. of Cal., Riverside Cnty., 464 U.S. 501, 512
(1984). The Supreme Court has instructed that a sealing order
should be “limited to information that was actually
sensitive, ” that is only the parts of the material
necessary to protect the compelling interest. Id.
Thus, even where a court determines that disclosure of
information may result in particularized harm, and the
private interest in protecting the material outweighs the
public interest in disclosure, a court must still consider
whether redacting confidential portions of the material will
leave meaningful information available to the public. In
re Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland, 661 F.3d at
425 (citing Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1136-37).
Motion (ECF No. 129) seeks leave to file under seal their
motion for summary judgment and the related exhibits.
See Pl.'s Sealed Mot. Summ. J. (ECF No. 130)
(attaching Appendix of Exhibits (ECF No.
130-1)). The Protective Order (ECF No. 59) entered
in this case governing confidentiality obligates Plaintiffs
to seek leave to file the confidential documents under seal.
Plaintiffs state that the motion and exhibits involve highly
confidential proprietary information, financial records,
intellectual property, and trade secrets. Pursuant to the
protective order, Plaintiffs seek leave to preserve the
confidentiality of such information and will publicly file a
redacted copy of the motion for summary judgment.
reviewed and considered the matter in accordance with the
Ninth Circuit's directives set forth in Kamakana
and its progeny, the court finds that the parties have met
their burden of establishing compelling reasons for the
unredacted motion for summary judgment and the related
exhibits to remain under seal. Plaintiffs narrowly tailored
the sealing requests to the extent possible by agreeing to
file a redacted version of the summary judgment motion on the
IT IS ORDERED:
Plaintiffs' Motion to Seal (ECF No. 129) is
GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART
unredacted Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 130) and
Appendix of Exhibits (ECF No. 130-1) shall remain under seal.
Plaintiffs shall immediately file a redacted copy of the
motion for summary judgment on the public docket.
 The court notes that the Appendix of
Exhibits (ECF No. 130-1) fails to comply with the Local
Rules' requirements that: exhibits or attachments
“be attached as separate files.” LR IC
2-2(a)(3)(A). Electronic filers are prohibited from combining
exhibits into one PDF document and then filing that single
PDF as the “main document” in CM/ECF's
document upload screen. Id. (exhibits “must
not be filed as part of the base document in the electronic
filing system”). This is particularly problematic when
portions of a filing may be sealed because this practice
makes it impossible for the Clerk of the Court to seal or
unseal specific documents as needed since the docketing
clerks cannot separate the pages for sealing purposes.
See LR IA 10-5(b). Instead, the Local Rules require
litigants to save each document or exhibit they want
sealed as a separate PDF document and then file each PDF in
CM/ECF's document upload screen as
“attachments” to a main document. The shortcut of
filing only one PDF inevitably causes additional work for the
court, docketing clerks, and the parties. Should leave to
file under seal be granted for some but not all documents,
the court must then order litigants to refile the sealed and
unsealed documents separately, rather than simply instructing
the docketing clerks to seal or unseal the documents in
accordance with the court's findings.
Failure to follow the Local Rules of Practice and
CM/ECF filing requirements will delay and complicate the
court's review of the docket. Counsel are responsible for
informing themselves and instructing their staff regarding
the correct electronic filing procedures. The parties are
encouraged to contact the CM/ECF Helpdesk at (702) 464-5555
prior to filing should they have any technical questions. For
additional direction, the parties may also refer to the
updated procedures in CM/ECF Version 4.0 Enhancements and
Changes, which is available on the court's website.