United States District Court, D. Nevada
STACEY M. RICHARDS, Plaintiff,
GREG COX, et al., Defendants.
WEKSLER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the court are Defendants' Motion for Leave to File
Exhibit 2 Under Seal in Support of Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 61) and Defendants' Motion for
Leave to File Confidential Documents Under Seal in Support of
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 64),
filed on October 8, 2018 and October 10, 2018, respectively.
These motions were referred to the undersigned on May 17,
2019. In these motions, defendants request that various
exhibits in support of their motion for summary judgment
(ECF. No. 60) be filed under seal. Plaintiff did not oppose
the public has a right to access judicial records.
Kamakana v. City & Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d
1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006). As a result, there is a strong
presumption in favor of public accessibility, and a party
seeking to seal a judicial record “bears the burden of
overcoming this strong presumption.” Id.
party seeks to seal documents related to a dispositive
motion, as is the case here, the party “must articulate
compelling reasons supported by specific factual
findings” that outweigh the public policies favoring
disclosure. Id. at 1178-79 (alteration and internal
quotation marks and citations omitted). Examples of
sufficiently compelling reasons include when court files
“might have become a vehicle for improper purposes,
such as the use of records to gratify private spite, promote
public scandal, circulate libelous statements, or release
trade secrets.” Id. at 1179 (quotation
motion to file Exhibit 2 under seal (ECF No. 61) requests
that the court allow it to seal Ely State Prison's
Confidential Operational Procedure (OP) 405. Defendants argue
that under certain prison regulations, inmates are not
allowed to have confidential operational procedures and that
putting OP 405 into the public record could create security
and safety risks at the prison. (ECF No. 61 at 2-3.)
Generally, because of the safety and security risks present
in prisons, prison administrators are “accorded
wide-ranging deference in the adoption and execution of
policies and practices that in their judgment are needed to
preserve internal order and discipline and to maintain
institutional security.” Bell v. Wolfish, 441
U.S. 520, 547 (1979). Indeed, “[s]uch considerations
are peculiarly within the province and professional expertise
of corrections officials, and, in the absence of substantial
evidence in the record to indicate that the officials have
exaggerated their response to these considerations, courts
should ordinarily defer to their expert judgment in such
matters.” Id. at 547-48. Here, there is no
substantial evidence in the record that disallowing inmates
to have access to OP 405 is an exaggerated response to the
safety and security concerns present in prisons.
after reviewing OP 405, the court finds that inmates'
possession of OP 405 could pose safety and security risks to
inmates and prison staff, by giving inmates access to
confidential plans and procedures used to ensure the safety
of everyone in the prison. Accordingly, the court finds that
defendants have presented compelling reasons based on
articulable facts (see Kamakana, 447 F.3d at
1178-79) to seal Exhibit 2, and the court will grant
defendants' motion to file Exhibit 2 under seal (ECF No.
also move the court to withdraw Exhibits 6 and 7 from the
public record and file them under seal, as these exhibits
were inadvertently filed in the public record and contain
sensitive and identifying information about a minor. (ECF No.
64.) The court has reviewed Exhibits 6 and 7 and finds that
there are compelling reasons for redacting certain
information in these exhibits. Specifically, these exhibits
identify a minor human trafficking victim and provide
sensitive information about her victimization. However, the
court also finds that there is much information in Exhibits 6
and 7 that does not identify the minor. Given the strong
presumption in favor of public access to judicial records,
the court finds that Exhibits 6 and 7 should not be sealed in
their entirety but rather simply redacted to protect the
identity of the minor. Therefore, the court will seal
Exhibits 6 and 7 and require defendants to refile these
exhibits on the docket in a redacted format within 14 days.
THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendants' Motion for Leave to
File Exhibit 2 Under Seal in Support of Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 61) is GRANTED.
FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants' Motion for Leave to File
Confidential Documents Under Seal in Support of
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 64) is
FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk is to seal Exhibits 6 (Arrest
Report) and 7 (Deposition of Bumgardner), currently
hyperlinked as Exhibits 5 and 6 to ECF No. 60.
FURTHER ORDERED that defendants are to refile Exhibits 6 and
7 on the docket, redacting all identifying ...