Hargrove v. City of Bakersfield et al
ORDER DENYING 63 Plaintiff's Request to Seal Documents, signed by Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston on 10/1/2019. (Hall, S)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Case No.: 1:17-cv-01743- JLT
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST
TO SEAL DOCUMENTS
CITY OF BAKERSFIELD, et al.,
As agreed by the parties, the plaintiff has sought to have her opposition to the motions in
limine and her opposition to the change in the City’s Rule 30(b)(6) witness filed under seal. The
only rationale for the sealing was that the parties had agreed that certain depositions, upon which
her oppositions rely, would be treated as confidential. In reviewing the oppositions, the Court
finds the request for sealing is not supported by law.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) determines when documents may be sealed. The
Rule permits the Court to issue orders to “protect a party or person from annoyance,
embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including . . . requiring that a trade secret
or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be revealed or be
revealed only in a specified way.” Only if good cause exists may the Court seal the information
from public view after balancing “the needs for discovery against the need for confidentiality.’”
Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass’n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. Cal. 2010) (quoting Phillips ex rel.
Estates of Byrd v. Gen. Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1213 (9th Cir. 2002)).
Generally, documents filed in civil cases 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). The Court may seal documents 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).
Notably, this Court’s Local Rule 141 sets forth how a request to seal documents should be
made. In addition, the legal authority recited here demonstrates that sealing may occur only if good
cause is shown. Though the Court issued the stipulated protective order, this order did not
authorize filings under seal. (Doc. 21 at 4) Because there is not good cause shown for the request,
the request is DENIED. Either side may renew this request.
Based upon the foregoing, the Court ORDERS:
Plaintiff’s request to seal (Doc. 63) is DENIED without prejudice. Counsel
SHALL immediately confer as to whether the request for sealing will be renewed. If either side
intends to do this, the request SHALL be made no later than noon on October 3, 2019. If neither
side wishes to renew the request, the plaintiff SHALL file a notice to this effect and she SHALL
file her unredacted oppositions on the public docket immediately. Failure of counsel to timely
meet and confer will not excuse Plaintiff from filing her unredacted documents as ordered.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
October 1, 2019
/s/ Jennifer L. Thurston
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?