United States District Court, D. Nevada
TROY A. GARCIA, Plaintiff,
SPECIALIZED LOAN SERVICING LLC; AMERICAN HONDA FINANCE CORP.; TOYOTA FINANCIAL SERVICES; WELLS FARGO CARD SERVICES; EQUIFAX INFORMATION SERVICES, LLC, Defendants.
ORDER MOTIONS TO FILE EXHIBITS UNDER SEAL (ECF NOS.
53 AND 56)
FERENBACH, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff Troy A. Garcia's
(“Plaintiff”) Re-urged Motion to Seal Exhibits to
Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and
Motion Itself (ECF No. 53) and Motion to Seal Exhibits to
Plaintiff's Response to SLS's Motion for Summary
Judgment and Motion Itself (ECF No. 56). For the following
reasons, SLS's motions to seal are granted in part.
14, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment in an
action against Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC
(“SLS”). (ECF No. 37). Plaintiff also filed a
motion to seal exhibits to its motion for summary judgment.
(ECF No. 39). On June 6, 2018, the undersigned Magistrate
Judge denied Plaintiff's motion to seal because Plaintiff
failed to articulate compelling reasons to seal the exhibits
in question. (ECF No. 45). Plaintiff then filed this motion
to seal. (ECF No. 53). Plaintiff filed an additional motion
requesting to seal identical exhibits attached to
Plaintiff's response to Defendant's motion for
summary judgment. (ECF No. 56). SLS filed no response to
these motions to seal. At issue here is whether Plaintiff
provided compelling reasons to justify sealing Exhibits 11,
16, and 22 to its motion for summary judgment and response to
Defendant's motion for summary judgment.
Ninth Circuit has emphasized a strong presumption in favor of
access to court records and documents. Foltz v. State
Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir.
2003). This general right to public documents, however, is
not absolute. Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, 435 U.S.
589, 598 (1978). The Court may allow a party to file a
document under seal without redaction, pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 5.2(d). Local Rule IA 10-5 explains that a party
may file a document with the court under seal if accompanied
by a motion for leave to file those documents under seal.
moving party must overcome the presumption of access by
citing “compelling reasons supported by specific
factual findings” to seal documents regarding a
dispositive motion. Kamakana v. City and County of
Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1135 (citations omitted)). The
reasons provided must be compelling enough to overcome the
public's interest in access to those documents.
Id. Such compelling reasons exist when there is
potential for documents to “become a vehicle for
improper purposes” such as the gratification of private
spite, promotion of public scandal, circulation of libelous
statements or the release of trade secrets. Id. at
1179. The Ninth Circuit defines a trade secret as “any
formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which
is used in one's business, and which gives him an
opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do
not know or use it.” Clark v. Bunker, 453 F.2d
1006, 1009 (9th Cir. 1972) (citations omitted).
Court's decision to seal certain judicial records must
not rely on “hypothesis or conjecture.”
Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179. Thus, SLS must
show a “compelling reason” why each of the
exhibits it has requested to file under seal outweigh the
public's interest in “understanding the judicial
process.” EEOC v. Erection Co., 900 F.2d 168,
170 (9th Cir. 1990). When parties file a stipulated
protective order with the Court to designate certain exhibits
as confidential, the movant still must meet the compelling
reasons standard to file the exhibits under seal.
Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179.
Exhibit 11 (ECF Nos. 38-8, 55-8) and 16 (ECF Nos. 38-12,
Court's order denying Plaintiff's earlier motion to
seal states that in order to succeed in sealing the exhibits,
Plaintiff must “sufficiently articulate, giving
specific facts, what compelling reasons exist to justify
sealing the documents” and maintains the burden to
“overcome the presumption of access.” (ECF No. 45
at 3). In his motion, Plaintiff states that both Exhibit 11
and 16 were “marked confidential by SLS” in the
Stipulated Protective Order. (ECF No. 53 at 3). Plaintiff
further submits that Exhibit 16 does not “meet the
standard for sealing.” (ECF No. 53 at 3). In his
present motion, Plaintiff still has not met this burden as to
Exhibit 16, because he has not articulated any compelling
reasons that outweigh the public's interest in
understanding the judicial process. Therefore, the Court
denies Plaintiff's motions to seal Exhibit 16.
Plaintiff's motion contains similar language for Exhibit
11, the Court sealed the same document following SLS's
motion to seal. (ECF No. 59 at 3). That order states that the
exhibit “contain[s] non-public information regarding
Garcia's debt and SLS's proprietary
information” and that the exhibit “present[s]
compelling reasons to seal as the disclosure of the documents
could be sued as a vehicle for improper purposes.” (ECF
No. 59 at 3). Thus, compelling reasons still exist to seal
this exhibit and the Court grants Plaintiff's motions to
seal Exhibit 11.
Exhibit 22 (ECF Nos. 38-14, 55-14)
statement provided to the Plaintiff, SLS states that Exhibit
22 “includes SLS's internal policies and
procedures” and “contains SLS's proprietary
information and trade secrets” which have the potential
to “harm SLS's competitiveness within its
industry.” (ECF No. 53 at 3). This exhibit contains
several SLS policies, procedures, and training guides. This
exhibit falls well within the Ninth Circuit's definition
of a trade secret because it provides ...