Alvarado et al v. Fedex Corporation

Filing 1301

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PARKER'S MOTION TO STRIKE OR SEAL DOCUMENTS re 1286 (SI, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/10/2009)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 For example, Ms. Parker objects to Mr. McCoy's statement that Parker's role was to "assist in administrative matters." Docket No. 1262 in C No. 04-0098. 1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA EDWARD ALVARADO, et al., Plaintiffs, v. FEDEX CORPORATION, dba FEDEX EXPRESS, Defendant. / No. C 04-0098 SI; No. C 04-0099 SI ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PARKER'S MOTION TO STRIKE OR SEAL DOCUMENTS Kay McKenzie Parker has filed an administrative motion to strike or seal five documents filed by plaintiffs' counsel Mr. Waukeen McCoy in the Alvarado and White cases. The five documents are Docket Nos. 918, 1262, and 1262-2 in Alvarado, C 04-0098, and Docket Nos. 297 and 297-2 in White, C 04-0099. Ms. Parker contends that these documents should be stricken because they contain false, misleading and irrelevant allegations against her. All five documents relate in some manner to the fee petitions filed by Ms. Parker and Mr. McCoy. Ms. Parker objects that (1) Mr. McCoy has filed documents from an "unrelated and irrelevant" State Bar proceeding, presented in an incomplete and deceptive manner, (2) Mr. McCoy "stands the truth on its head by presenting Mr. McCoy's frivolous and vexatious motions as `steps taken . . . to obtain an expeditious resolution'"; and (3) Mr. McCoy proffers false allegations about the quality of Ms. Parker's representation of the plaintiffs and the quality of her work in these cases.1 Both FedEx and Mr. McCoy oppose Ms. Parker's motion. FedEx argues that the documents at 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 issue are relevant to the competing fee petitions, and notes that on numerous occasions Ms. Parker has levied similar attacks against Mr. McCoy. See, e.g., Docket Nos. 794, 795 & 863 in 04-0098. Mr. McCoy argues that Ms. Parker has failed to specifically identify the offending material within each document, and further that if the Court strikes or seals any "spurious, irrelevant and inflammatory" material, then the Court should also strike or seal all documents filed by Ms. Parker containing similar accusations against Mr. McCoy. The Court has reviewed the five documents at issue, and finds that in general they do not meet the criteria to be stricken or sealed. Under Civil Local Rule 79-5(a), a sealing order "may issue only upon a request that establishes that the document, or portions thereof, is privileged or protectable as a trade secret or otherwise entitled to protection under the law." The rule emphasizes that the request must be "narrowly tailored." Although Ms. Parker may object to Mr. McCoy's characterizations of her work, both lawyers have repeatedly denigrated each other's work and character in this internecine fee dispute. Indeed, the Court previously granted Ms. Parker's motion over Mr. McCoy's objection to unseal a number of documents related to defendant's motion for sanctions, and in so doing rejected the contention that "protection against embarrassment" was a sufficient basis for sealing documents. See Docket No. 927. The Court will seal the State Bar documents, and portions of the filings that describe those documents, because Ms. Parker asserts that the filings in the record are misleading because they are incomplete. While Ms. Parker may also be correct that the State Bar proceedings are irrelevant, the Court makes no determination at this point on the relevance of the State Bar proceedings. If the Court later determines that the State Bar proceedings are relevant to the fee matters pending before this Court, the Court may unseal the State Bar documents and order that the record in this case be supplemented to present a complete account of those proceedings. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Ms. Parker's administrative motion to strike or seal documents. (Docket No. 1286). The Clerk shall restrict public access to Docket Nos. 918, 1262-2 in C. No. 04-0098 and Docket Nos. 297 and 297-2 in C. 04-0099. No later than February 20, 2009, plaintiffs (Mr. McCoy) shall refile these four documents pursuant to Civil Local Rule 79 with only those portions describing the State Bar proceedings, as well as the State Bar 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 documents themselves, under seal.2 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: February 10, 2009 SUSAN ILLSTON United States District Judge For example, in Docket No. 1262-2 (C. No. 04-0098), only paragraph 11 should be under seal, and in Docket No. 297 (C. No. 04-0099), only footnote 1 should be under seal. 3 2

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