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