A.A. et al v. Clovis Unified School District et al

Filing 104

ORDER GRANTING 103 Request to File Documents Under Seal signed by District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on 8/4/2017. (Sant Agata, S)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 A.A. and L.A. on behalf of A.A., Jr., 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Plaintiffs, CASE NO. 1:13-CV-1043 AWI MJS ORDER GRANTING REQUEST TO FILE DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL v. 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, (Doc. 103) Defendants. The parties have come to settlement after mediation. As the case involves the claims of a 16 minor, the court is required by Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 17(c) to conduct an independent inquiry to 17 determine whether the settlement serves the minor’s best interests. Robidoux v. Rosengren, 638 18 F.3d 1177, 1181 (9th Cir. 2011). Plaintiffs are in the process of filing a petition seeking that court 19 approval. However, given the subject matter, Plaintiffs are requesting permission to file the 20 relevant documents under seal. Doc. 103. No party has filed an opposition to this request. 21 For requests to file under seal “a ‘compelling reasons’ standard applies to most judicial 22 records. This standard derives from the common law right to inspect and copy public records and 23 documents, including judicial records and documents. To limit this common law right of access, a 24 party seeking to seal judicial records must show that compelling reasons supported by specific 25 factual findings outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring 26 disclosure.” Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass’n, 565 F.3d 1106, 1115 (9th Cir. 2009), citations and 27 quotations omitted. The “compelling reasons” standard applies to sealing documents associated 28 with requests to approve settlement agreements. Sharp v. Sepracor Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1 97791, *3 (D. Ariz. Oct. 7, 2009); Kennedy v. R.M.L.V., LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11430, *2 2 (D. Nev. Jan. 29, 2014). 3 In this case, the materials submitted identifies the school the minor attends, the specific 4 classes the minor will be taking, and the cost of outside educational services. In general, there is a 5 “very strong privacy interest” in protecting the personal information of a minor. Jenkins v. Wash. 6 Metro. Area Transit Auth., 960 F. Supp. 2d 2, 16 (D.D.C. 2013). Sealing is appropriate to prevent 7 the general publication of their “sensitive information.” JSB v. Wheeler, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8 158650, *9 (D. Nev. Nov. 24, 2015). There is a “legitimate expectation of privacy” regarding 9 information about “the educational expenses of a disabled minor.” A.S. v. Harrison Twp. Bd. of 10 Educ., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69689, *4 (D.N.J. May 8, 2017). Similarly, it may be important to 11 hide the specific the school the minor attends to avoid revealing their identity. See M.M. v. 12 Lafayette Sch. Dist., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50759, *4 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 3, 2017). As the sensitive 13 information is at the heart of the lawsuit and the documents to be filed, sealing is permissible. 14 15 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. 16 17 18 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: August 4, 2017 SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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