Gordon v. Wong, et al
ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Jeremy D. Peterson on 11/16/2020 ORDERING Respondent to submit a new request to seal in accordance with Local Rule 141, setting forth the legal arguments and case law that justify sealing, within 14 days of this order's entry. (Henshaw, R)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
PATRICK BRUCE GORDON,
Case No. 2:91-cv-00882-MCE-JDP (DP)
ORDER TO RESUBMIT REQUEST TO SEAL
ECF No. 443
Respondent, alongside his response to petitioner’s “brief on all claims for relief,” ECF No.
421, has filed a notice of request to seal. ECF No. 443. Respondent states that his response to
petitioner’s claims “4(B) and 5” should be sealed because it contains information related to the
disclosure of a confidential informant’s identity. Id. at 2. Petitioner has not filed an objection to
the notice within the time allotted by the Local Rules. See Local Rule 141(c).
In the Ninth Circuit, there is a “strong presumption in favor of access to court records.”
See Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003). However, the
presumption is not absolute and “can be overridden given sufficiently compelling reasons for
doing so.” See id. Respondent has not offered sufficient legal argument that sealing is warranted
in either his notice on the public docket or his request to seal that was submitted to the court. He
cites no case law and relies solely on an eighteen-year old order in this case. ECF No. 443 at 2
(“By order dated April 10, 2002 (dkt. 273), this Court has designated the transcript of the July 17,
1984, San Joaquin County Superior Court in camera hearing on the issue of whether the
confidential informant’s identity should be revealed (which was ordered sealed by the San
Joaquin County Superior Court) as confidential.”). Circumstances and law change over the
course of nearly two decades and respondent cannot rely on that previous order alone. For
instance, the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Kamakana v. City & County of Honolulu which held that
a party seeking to seal documents attached to a dispositive motion had to show “compelling
reasons” for doing so had not yet been decided in 2002. 447 F.3d 1172, 1180 (9th Cir. 2006) (“In
sum, we treat judicial records attached to dispositive motions differently from records attached to
non-dispositive motions. Those who seek to maintain the secrecy of documents attached to
dispositive motions must meet the high threshold of showing that ‘compelling reasons’ support
secrecy.”). Rather than deny the request to seal, the court will order respondent to submit a new
request to seal in accordance with Local Rule 141. That request should set forth the legal
arguments and case law that justify sealing. The new request should be submitted within fourteen
days of this order’s entry.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
November 16, 2020
JEREMY D. PETERSON
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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