United States District Court, D. Nevada
DE'MARIAN A. CLEMONS, Plaintiff(s),
BRIAN WILLIAMS, et al., Defendant(s).
ORDER (DOCKET NOS. 249, 260)
J. KOPPE UNITED STATES MAGRSTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is Defendants' counsel's (the
“OAG”) motion to file under seal its motion to
withdraw (Docket No. 250) and its supplement to the motion to
seal. Docket Nos. 249, 260. For the reasons stated below, the
motion to seal is DENIED, and the
supplemental motion is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part.
is a strong presumption of public access to judicial records.
See Kamakana v. City & County of Honolulu, 447
F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006). A party seeking to file
documents under seal must overcome that presumption.
Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665,
678 (9th Cir. 2010).
standard for a motion to seal turns on whether the sealed
materials relate to a dispositive or non-dispositive motion.
See Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrysler Group, LLC, 809
F.3d 1092, 1097-99 (9th Cir. 2016). A motion is
“dispositive” if it “is more than
tangentially related” to the merits. See Id.
at 1101. A motion to withdraw is at most only tangentially
related to the merits. It is thus non-dispositive.
motion to seal materials that relate to a non-dispositive
motion, “a party need only satisfy the less exacting
‘good cause' standard.” Id. at 1098.
“The ‘good cause' language comes from [Fed.
R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1)], which governs the issuance of
protective orders in the discovery process: ‘The court
may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or
person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue
burden or expense….'” Id. To
establish “good cause, ” a party must show
“that specific prejudice or harm will result if no
protective order is granted.” Foltz v. State Farm
Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1131 (9th Cir.
2003). “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, 476 (9th Cir. 1992).
Rule 26(c) confers “broad discretion on the trial court
to decide when a protective order is appropriate and what
degree of protection is required.” Seattle Times
Co. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20, 33 (1984).
moves to seal its motion to withdraw for two reasons: that
the motion contains (1) embarrassing information; and (2)
information protected by attorney-client privilege. The Court
analyzes each reason in turn.
argues that the motion contains “details involving an
altercation between [Defendant] Dressler and an employee of
the OAG.” Docket No. 260 at 3. The OAG asserts that
those details are “highly embarrassing to not only
[Defendant] Dressler, but also the OAG employee.”
Id. The OAG asserts that embarrassing details are on
these pages of the motion: 3:25- 28, 4:1-9, 4:15-16, 5:16-25,
5:28, 6:1, Exhibit A at 4:5-11, and Exhibit B at 2:19-22 and
3:1-3. Id. The OAG's argument stops there.
fails to meet the good-cause standard. The OAG's
submission constitutes a broad allegation, unsubstantiated by
specific examples or articulated reasoning; in other words,
exactly what does not suffice as a showing of good cause
pursuant to Beckman.
Information Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege
submits that the motion contains communications
“protected by attorney-client privilege.”
Id. The OAG asserts that Defendant “Dressler
has conceded in her Opposition that the information relied
upon by the OAG and [her] is properly considered
attorney-client privileged or work product, and that she
herself would object to any disclosure of the information to
‘any person.'” Id. at 4 (citing
Docket No. 259 at 2 n.1). The OAG asserts that information
protected by attorney-client privilege is on these pages of
the motion: 2:16-22, 2:27-28, 3:1, 3:20-24, and 4:10-12;
Exhibit A at 2:3-5, 2:8-12, 2:17-20, 2:25-27, 3:1-7, 3:14-16;
and all of Exhibit C. Id.
privilege protects confidential disclosures made by a client
to an attorney” for legal advice, “as well as the
attorney's advice” in response. United States
v. Bauer, 132 F.3d 504, 507 (9th Cir. 1997).
“[T]hat a person is a lawyer does not make all
communications with that person privileged.” United
States v. Martin, 278 F.3d 988, 999 (9th Cir. 2002).
“Because it impedes full and free discovery of the
truth, the attorney-client privilege is strictly
construed.” Id. The privilege must be
“‘strictly confined within the narrowest possible
limits consistent with the logic of its
principle.'” United States v. Ruehle, ...