Hatch v. Pearson Education Incorporated

Filing 96

ORDER denying without prejudice 65 Motion to Seal. FURTHER ORDERED denying without prejudice 84 MOTION to Seal. FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall refile their Motions to Seal with specific requests and properly redacted documents no later than December 9, 2022. Signed by Chief Judge G Murray Snow on 11/18/22. (MAP)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Joshua Hatch, No. CV-20-02223-PHX-GMS Plaintiff, 10 11 v. 12 Pearson Education Incorporated, 13 ORDER Defendant. 14 15 16 Pending before the Court are Defendant Pearson Education, Inc. (“Pearson”) and 17 Plaintiff Joshua Hatch’s Motions to Seal (Docs. 65 and 84, respectively). For the reasons 18 below, the motions are denied. 19 DISCUSSION 20 A party seeking to seal “motions for summary judgment and related attachments” 21 must overcome a “strong presumption of access to judicial records” and articulate 22 “compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings” that justify sealing the records. 23 Kamakana v. City & Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178–79 (9th Cir. 2006). Potential 24 revelations of trade secrets, business strategies, and proprietary information can be 25 “compelling reasons” that justify motions to seal because such revelations “harm a 26 litigant’s competitive standing.” Foltz vs. State Farm Mut. Auto, Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 27 1135 (9th Cir. 2003); Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns., Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 593, 598 (1978). 28 “If the court agrees that the party’s compelling reasons outweigh the public’s right to 1 access, it must ‘articulate the factual basis for its ruling, without relying on hypotheses or 2 conjecture.’” New Phase Dev. LLC v. Cook, No. 4:13-CV-00520-REB, 2016 WL 1755374, 3 at *3 (D. Idaho May 2, 2016) (quoting Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1178–79). 4 First, Defendants have asked the Court to seal hundreds of pages marked 5 “confidential.” Defendant’s Motion must be denied because they have included 6 non-confidential, public documents along with the documents they wish to seal, and “it is 7 not possible to seal only certain documents filed together with public documents.” Doe v. 8 Ariz., No. CV-18-00384-PHX-GMS, at *1 (D. Ariz. Apr. 11, 2019). Further, on many 9 pages marked confidential (notably within deposition transcripts) Defendants have not 10 identified which portions of the documents should be redacted, nor have they provided 11 discrete justifications for why the Court should seal these documents. See Marsteller v. 12 MD Helicopter Inc., No. CV-14-01788-PHX-DLR, 2017 WL 5479927, at *3 (D. Ariz. 13 Nov. 15, 2017) (denying a motion to seal because of defendant’s failure to isolate portions 14 of documents that would cause harm with “clarity and specificity”). While Defendants 15 offer generalized reasons in support of their Motion, the Court will not independently 16 evaluate each document marked “confidential” and hypothesize about which generalized 17 reason supports sealing the document. (Doc. 65 at 2.) More specificity is required to 18 succeed on a motion to seal. 19 Next, Plaintiffs have asked the Court to seal various exhibits “for the reasons 20 outlined in Defendant’s Motion to Seal.” (Doc. 84 at 1.) Both parties agree that these 21 documents are confidential and should be sealed. 22 Nevertheless, for all the reasons Defendant’s Motion fails, so does Plaintiff’s: his 23 documents are not partially redacted, marked as confidential, or separated from public 24 documents. Additionally, as with its own Motion to Seal, Defendant has not offered 25 sufficiently specific reasons for sealing these documents. Accordingly, the Court denies 26 Defendant and Plaintiffs’ Motions to Seal without prejudice. 27 28 (See, e.g., Doc. 68-2 at 36, 50.) CONCLUSION The parties may refile their Motions with particularized requests and properly -2- 1 redacted documents by December 9, 2022. 2 Accordingly, 3 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion to Seal Document re: 4 5 6 7 8 9 Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 65) is DENIED without prejudice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Seal (Doc. 84) is DENIED without prejudice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall refile their Motions to Seal with specific requests and properly redacted documents no later than December 9, 2022. Dated this 18th day of November, 2022. 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

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