A.A. et al v. Clovis Unified School District et al
ORDER GRANTING 103 Request to File Documents Under Seal signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 8/4/2017. (Sant Agata, S)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
A.A. and L.A. on behalf of A.A., Jr.,
CASE NO. 1:13-CV-1043 AWI MJS
ORDER GRANTING REQUEST TO
FILE DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL
CLOVIS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT,
CLOVIS SELPA, MARY BASS in her
personal and official capacities as SELPA
ADMINISTRATOR and DIRECTOR of
SPECIAL EDUCATION for CLOVIS USD
and DOES 1-10,
The parties have come to settlement after mediation. As the case involves the claims of a
minor, the court is required by Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 17(c) to conduct an independent inquiry to
determine whether the settlement serves the minor’s best interests. Robidoux v. Rosengren, 638
F.3d 1177, 1181 (9th Cir. 2011). Plaintiffs are in the process of filing a petition seeking that court
approval. However, given the subject matter, Plaintiffs are requesting permission to file the
relevant documents under seal. Doc. 103. No party has filed an opposition to this request.
For requests to file under seal “a ‘compelling reasons’ standard applies to most judicial
records. This standard derives from the common law right to inspect and copy public records and
documents, including judicial records and documents. To limit this common law right of access, a
party seeking to seal judicial records must show that compelling reasons supported by specific
factual findings outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring
disclosure.” Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass’n, 565 F.3d 1106, 1115 (9th Cir. 2009), citations and
quotations omitted. The “compelling reasons” standard applies to sealing documents associated
with requests to approve settlement agreements. Sharp v. Sepracor Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
97791, *3 (D. Ariz. Oct. 7, 2009); Kennedy v. R.M.L.V., LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11430, *2
(D. Nev. Jan. 29, 2014).
In this case, the materials submitted identifies the school the minor attends, the specific
classes the minor will be taking, and the cost of outside educational services. In general, there is a
“very strong privacy interest” in protecting the personal information of a minor. Jenkins v. Wash.
Metro. Area Transit Auth., 960 F. Supp. 2d 2, 16 (D.D.C. 2013). Sealing is appropriate to prevent
the general publication of their “sensitive information.” JSB v. Wheeler, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
158650, *9 (D. Nev. Nov. 24, 2015). There is a “legitimate expectation of privacy” regarding
information about “the educational expenses of a disabled minor.” A.S. v. Harrison Twp. Bd. of
Educ., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69689, *4 (D.N.J. May 8, 2017). Similarly, it may be important to
hide the specific the school the minor attends to avoid revealing their identity. See M.M. v.
Lafayette Sch. Dist., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50759, *4 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 3, 2017). As the sensitive
information is at the heart of the lawsuit and the documents to be filed, sealing is permissible.
Plaintiffs’ request to file the (1) Mediated Settlement Agreement, (2) Petition for Approval
of Mediated Settlement Agreement, and (3) Affidavit of Plaintiffs under seal is GRANTED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: August 4, 2017
SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
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