Corona v. Knowles et al
ORDER GRANTING In Part and Denying In Part Request to File Documents Under Seal, signed by Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone on 4/11/18. (Marrujo, C)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Case No. 1:08-cv-00237-LJO-SAB
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND
DENYING IN PART REQUEST TO FILE
DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL
MIKE KNOWLES, et al.,
(ECF Nos. 228, 229)
On March 30, 2018, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 227.)
18 On April 9, 2018, Defendants filed a notice of request to seal documents and request to seal
19 documents in support of their motion for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 228, 229.) Defendant
20 seeks to seal Exhibits F, G, and H contending that exhibits are deemed confidential by the
21 California Department of Corrections and that they reveal the identity of inmates who provided
22 confidential information to staff during investigations and disclosing such information would
23 place the informants’ lives in jeopardy. The Court has reviewed the exhibits and, for the reasons
24 discussed below, grants in part the motion to seal.
Courts have long recognized a “general right to inspect and copy public records and
26 documents, including judicial records and documents.” Kamakana v. City & Cnty. of Honolulu,
27 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589,
28 597 & n. 7 (1978)). Nevertheless, this access to judicial records is not absolute. Kamakana, 447
1 F.3d at 1172. The court has recognized a category of documents that is not subject to the right of
2 public access because the documents have “traditionally been kept secret for important policy
3 reasons.” Times Mirror Co. v. United States, 873 F.2d 1210, 1219 (9th Cir. 1989). Since
4 resolution of disputes on the merits “is at the heart of the interest in ensuring the ‘public’s
5 understanding of the judicial process and of significant public events[,] . . . “ ‘compelling
6 reasons’ must be shown to seal judicial records attached to a dispositive motion.” Kamakana,
7 447 F.3d at 1179. However, where the request to seal addresses “private materials unearthed in
8 discovery” a different standard applies. Pintos v. Pacific Creditors Ass’n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th
9 Cir. 2009). Since the documents here are attached to a dispositive motion, the moving party
10 must state compelling reasons to seal the documents.
Exhibit F is comprised of program status reports for the facility from the time that the
12 institution was locked down following a staff assault until the facility returned to normal status.
13 While the documents are marked confidential, this alone is insufficient to demonstrate
14 compelling reasons to keep the documents from public view. Defendants contend that the
15 documents identify confidential informants, however, the Court finds no such information in
16 these documents. Generally, the documents discuss the description of the circumstances of the
17 lockdown, and discuss the status of the facility on the dates in question. Defendants have not
18 established that compelling reasons exist to file the program status reports under seal. The
19 request to seal is denied for Exhibit F.
Exhibit G is comprised of memorandums issued following the lockdown. The subjects of
21 these memorandum describe the interview and search plan, program procedures, and threat
22 assessments during the lockdown period describing what occurred and the status of the facility.
23 Contrary to Defendants’ assertion, the documents do not contain information identifying any
24 inmates. Defendants have not established the compelling reasons exist to file the memorandums
25 under seal. The request to seal Exhibit G is denied.
Exhibit H is a debriefing report which details the investigation and contains information
27 provided by confidential informants. The Court finds that disclosing the information provided in
28 Exhibit H would cause a safety and security risk to the institution and to the individuals who
1 cooperated with the investigation. Compelling reasons exist to file Exhibit H under seal.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants’ request to file documents
3 under seal is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART as follows:
Defendants’ request to file Exhibits F and G under seal is DENIED. Defendants
shall file the documents in the record;
Defendants’ request to file Exhibit H under seal is GRANTED; and
Defendants shall provide the Clerk of the Court with an electronic copy of Exhibit
H in compliance with Local Rule 141(e)(2)(i).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
April 11, 2018
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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?