United States District Court, D. Nevada
R. HICKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
James O'Doan moves for leave to file two exhibits under
seal with his response to the pending motion for summary
judgment. ECF No. 43. The first exhibit (Exhibit 13) contains
O'Doan's medical records from Renown Regional Medical
Center. Id. The second exhibit (Exhibit 14) contains
O'Doan's discharge papers from Renown Regional
Medical Center. Id. The court now grants the motion,
finding that compelling reasons support filing the exhibits
sues the City of Reno and two Reno police officers for
violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 18 U.S.C.
§ 1983, and state law. ECF No. 7. He alleges the
violations occurred during an interaction between the parties
in July 2016. Id. Due to the nature of his claims,
this matter necessarily involves O'Doan's medical
history. See ECF Nos. 7, 43. The medical history
includes records and discharge papers that contain
confidential information but relate to the underlying
incident. See ECF Nos. 42, 43. In August 2017, the
parties stipulated to a protective order to safeguard
confidential information obtained in connection with this
case. ECF Nos. 23, 25.
the defendants have moved for summary judgment. ECF No. 39.
O'Doan filed a response in opposition to the motion. ECF
No. 42. O'Doan included multiple exhibits to his
response. ECF No. 42. Two of the exhibits-Exhibit 13 and
Exhibit 14-contain the aforementioned confidential medical
reports. ECF Nos. 42, 43. Because of the confidential nature
of the two exhibits, O'Doan moves to file them under
Ninth Circuit recognizes a strong presumption of public
access to judicial records. See Kamakana v. City and
County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006).
A party moving to file a document under seal must overcome
that strong presumption. Pintos v. Pac. Creditors
Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1178). To overcome the
presumption in the context of a dispositive motion, the
moving party must show compelling reasons that support
maintaining the secret nature of the documents.
Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1180. The compelling reasons
must outweigh the public's interest in having access to
the judicial records and in understanding the judicial
process. Id. at 1178-79.
moving party cannot meet its burden by asserting conclusory
statements about the confidential nature of the documents.
Id. at 1182. The moving party must instead provide
“compelling reasons supported by specific factual
findings.” Id. To grant a motion to seal court
documents, the court must cite the compelling reasons on
which it basis its ruling and must not rely on hypothesis or
conjecture. Pintos, 605 F.3d at 679 (quoting
Hagestad v. Tragesser, 49 F.3d 1430, 1434 (9th Cir.
moves for leave to file under seal two exhibits attached to
his response to the defendants' motion for summary
judgment. The exhibits contain O'Doan's medical
records and hospital discharge papers that relate to the
underlying incident. O'Doan argues that compelling
reasons support his request, including: (1) the confidential
nature of the documents based on the medical content; (2) the
protected status of the information based on the Health
Insurance Portability Act of 1996; and (3) the protected
status of the information based on the protective order. ECF
No. 43. After reviewing the two exhibits, the court agrees.
Both the content of the documents and the protected status of
the documents support a decision to admit the exhibits under
seal. Further, the decision minimally affects the
public's access to court documents, because the
substantive response to the pending motion for summary
judgment and the other attached exhibits will be left
unsealed. The court therefore grants O'Doan's motion
for leave to file Exhibit 13 and Exhibit 14 under seal,
finding that compelling reasons support maintaining the
confidential nature of the documents despite the presumption
favoring public access.
THEREFORE ORDERED that James O'Doan's motion for
leave to file exhibits to response in opposition to motion
for summary judgment under seal (ECF No. 43) is
GRANTED. Exhibit 13 (O'Doan's
medical records from Renown Regional Medical Center) and
Exhibit 14 (O'Doan's discharge papers from Renown