Anaguano v. Sanmiguel Sweepers Incorporated et al

Filing 18

ORDER denying 16 Motion to File Settlement Agreement Under Seal. Signed by Judge James A Teilborg on 12/16/11.(MAP)

Download PDF
1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 10 11 12 13 David Anaguano, on behalf of himself and) ) all others similarly situated, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ) ) Sanmiguel Sweepers, Inc., ) ) Defendants. ) CV 11-1294-PHX-JAT ORDER 14 15 The parties in this Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) case filed a Notice of 16 Settlement on November 16, 2011. (Doc. 14.) On December 12, 2011, they filed a Motion 17 to File Settlement Agreement Under Seal (Doc. 16) and a Stipulation to Settle Case and for 18 Dismissal with Prejudice (Doc. 17). 19 The Court notes that the parties did not follow the correct procedure when they filed 20 the Motion to Seal. The parties should have lodged a sealed copy of the Settlement 21 Agreement when they filed the Motion to Seal. The public cannot read a document that is 22 lodged under seal on CMECF. 23 The parties’ only stated justification for sealing the proposed Settlement Agreement 24 is Defendants’ desire to preserve the confidentiality of the terms of the settlement. The Ninth 25 Circuit Court of Appeals strongly disfavors filing under seal, and requires the parties to show 26 good cause to seal a non-dispositive filing, and compelling reasons to seal dispositive 27 motions and related materials. Kamakana v. City and County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 28 1179–80 (9th Cir. 2006). Unlike private materials unearthed during discovery, judicial 1 records are public documents almost by definition, and the public is entitled to access by 2 default. Id. at 1180 (citing Nixon w. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978)). 3 Because this is a FLSA case, the Court must approve the settlement reached by the 4 parties. Lynn’s Food Stores, Inc. v. United States, 679 F.2d 1350, 1354 (11th Cir. 1982); see 5 also Thornton v. Solutionone Cleaning Concepts, Inc., 2007 WL 210586 *3 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 6 26, 2007). The parties’ Stipulation to Settle Case and for Dismissal with Prejudice (Doc. 17), 7 which requests that the Court enter an order approving the Settlement Agreement, is akin to 8 a dispositive filing, and, therefore, subject to the compelling reasons showing. See e.g., 9 White v. Sabatino, Nos. 04-0500 ACK/LEK & 05-0025 ACK/LEK, 2007 WL 2750604, at 10 *2 (D. Haw. Sept. 17, 2007) (discussing the dispositive/non-dispositive distinction in 11 connection with settlement agreements). 12 As the United State Supreme Court noted in Nixon v. Warner Communications, the 13 right to inspect judicial records is not absolute and certain exceptions are recognized. A 14 court has the power to insure that its records are not used to gratify private spite or promote 15 public scandal, to serve as reservoirs of libelous statements, or as sources of business 16 information, such as trade secrets. Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598. 17 The parties’ Motion to Seal does not address the compelling reasons standard for 18 sealing documents. This deficiency is significant, “because there is a strong presumption in 19 favor of keeping the settlement agreements in FLSA wage-settlement cases unsealed and 20 available for public view.” Taylor v. AFS Tech., Inc., No. CV-09-2567-PHX-DGC, 2010 21 WL 2079750, at *2 (D. Ariz. May 24, 2010) (quoting Prater v. Commerce Equities Mgmt. 22 Co., No. H-07-2349, 2008 WL 5140045, at *9 (S.D. Tex. Dec. 8, 2008)). 23 The parties do not cite any authority for filing the Settlement Agreement under seal. 24 The Court finds that the parties have not met their “compelling reasons” burden under 25 Kamakana. The Court therefore will deny the Motion to File Settlement Agreement Under 26 Seal (Doc. 16). Because the Court has not seen the Settlement Agreement, the Court cannot 27 assess the fairness of the Settlement Agreement and cannot rule on the Stipulation at this 28 time. -2- 1 Accordingly, 2 IT IS ORDERED DENYING the parties’ Motion to File Settlement Agreement 3 4 Under Seal (Doc. 16). DATED this 16th day of December, 2011. 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?