Williams v. King et al

Filing 37

ORDER GRANTING 36 Defendants' Request to Seal Documents in Accordance With Local Rule 141 signed by Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto on 2/22/2018. (Jessen, A)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 COREY WILLIAMS, 8 Plaintiff, 9 v. 10 DeLEON, et al., 11 Case No. 1:15-cv-00543-SKO (PC) ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ REQUEST TO SEAL DOCUMENTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH LOCAL RULE 141 (Doc. 36) Defendants. 12 13 Plaintiff, Corey Williams, is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in 14 this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ' 1983. On February 20, 2018, Defendants filed a 15 request to seal documents pursuant to Local Rule 141. (Doc. 36.) For the reasons set forth 16 below, the request is GRANTED.1 Generally, documents filed on the docket are presumed to be available to the public. 17 18 EEOC v. Erection Co., 900 F.2d 168, 170 (9th Cir. 1990); see also Kamakana v. City and County 19 of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir.2006); Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 331 20 F.3d 1122, 1134 (9th Cir.2003). Documents may be sealed only when the compelling reasons for 21 doing so outweigh the public’s right of access. EEOC at 170. In evaluating the request, the Court 22 considers the “public interest in understanding the judicial process and whether disclosure of the 23 material could result in improper use of the material for scandalous or libelous purposes or 24 infringement upon trade secrets.” Valley Broadcasting Co. v. United States District Court, 798 25 F.2d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir. 1986). 26 /// 27 1 28 Although the time for Plaintiff to file an opposition has not yet lapsed, he will not be prejudiced by the order granting the request to seal his medical records because it protects his confidential medical records. 1 Here, Defendants seek to file under seal a number of pages of Plaintiff’s medical records 1 2 in support of a motion for summary judgment they intend to file. (Doc. 36.) Defendants have 3 complied with Local Rule 141. (Id.) The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 4 1996 (HIPAA) requires that medical records and their contents be kept confidential. Likewise, 5 the Ninth Circuit has held that the constitutional right to informational privacy extends to medical 6 information. Norman-Bloodsaw v. Lawrence Berkeley Lab., 135 F.3d 1260, 1269 (9th Cir. 1998) 7 (“The constitutionally protected privacy interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters clearly 8 encompasses medical information and its confidentiality.”) (citing Doe v. Attorney Gen. of the 9 United States, 941 F.2d 780, 795 (9th Cir. 1991)). 10 Accordingly, the Court ORDERS that Defendants’ request to file documents under seal 11 (Doc. 36) is GRANTED. If Plaintiff desires that his medical records in support of Defendants’ 12 motion for summary judgment not be filed under seal, he can simply file a statement to that effect 13 which will result in the issuance of an order to unseal the documents. 14 15 16 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 22, 2018 /s/ Sheila K. Oberto UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2 .

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