Louisiana Pacific Corporation v. Money Market 1 Institutional Investment Dealer et al

Filing 278

Order by Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins denying 276 Administrative Motion to File Under Seal. (nclc1S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/12/2013)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 SAN FRANCISCO DIVISION 10 11 LOUISIANA PACIFIC CORP., Case No. 09-cv-03529 JSW (NC) 12 ORDER DENYING ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO SEAL 13 Plaintiff, v. 14 MONEY MARKET 1 INSTITUTIONAL 15 16 17 Re: Dkt. No. 276 INVESTMENT DEALER, and others, Defendants. Plaintiff Louisiana Pacific moves to seal portions of its motion for default judgment, a 18 declaration in support of its motion, and its statement of damages. These materials refer to 19 information that Louisiana Pacific and defendant Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. agreed 20 would be confidential. The issue is whether Louisiana Pacific has shown compelling 21 reasons to overcome the presumption of public access and to warrant filing these documents 22 under seal. Because Louisiana Pacific has not articulated any reason, compelling or not, for 23 why the specific portions of its motion should be sealed, the Court DENIES its 24 administrative motion to seal. 25 I. BACKGROUND 26 On February 1, 2013, Louisiana Pacific submitted to Judge White’s chambers a 27 motion for default judgment against defendant Money Market 1 Investment Dealer. In 28 conjunction, Louisiana Pacific filed an administrative motion to seal certain portions of the Case No. 09-cv-03529 JSW (NC) ORDER DENYING MOTION TO SEAL 1 motion and supporting documents. Dkt. No. 276. Judge White referred the motion for 2 default judgment and the motion to seal to this Court. Dkt. No. 277. 3 In support of its motion to seal, and in accordance with Civil Local Rule 79-5, 4 Louisiana Pacific filed the declaration of its attorney, Andrew Shen. Mr. Shen avers that 5 the information redacted from the motion for default judgment and supporting documents 6 “has been deemed confidential in an agreement between LP and Deutsche Bank Securities, 7 Inc.” Dkt. No. 276-1 ¶ 3. 8 9 II. STANDARD OF REVIEW There is a presumption of public access to judicial records and documents. Nixon v. 10 Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978). Therefore, a party must demonstrate 11 “compelling reasons” to seal judicial records attached to a dispositive motion. Kamakana v. 12 City & Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1179 (9th Cir. 2006). In light of a weaker public 13 interest in nondispositive materials, the “good cause” standard from Federal Rule of Civil 14 Procedure 26(c) applies when parties wish to keep them under seal. Pintos v. Pac. 15 Creditors Ass’n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. 2010). “[T]he party seeking protection bears 16 the burden of showing specific prejudice or harm will result,” Phillips ex rel. Estates of 17 Byrd v. Gen. Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1210-11 (9th Cir. 2002), and must make a 18 “particularized showing . . . with respect to any individual document,” San Jose Mercury 19 News, Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Court, N. Dist. (San Jose), 187 F.3d 1096, 1103 (9th Cir. 1999). 20 “Broad allegations of harm, unsubstantiated by specific examples or articulated reasoning” 21 are insufficient. Beckman Indus., Inc. v. Int’l Ins. Co., 966 F.2d 470, 476 (9th Cir. 1992). 22 23 III. DISCUSSION Because Louisiana Pacific’s motion for default judgment is a dispositive motion, the 24 Court applies the “compelling reasons” standard to its administrative motion to seal. See 25 Koninklijke Philips Electronics, N.V. v. KXD Tech., Inc., 347 F. App’x 275, 276 (9th Cir. 26 2009) (describing default judgment as “case dispositive”); Cannon Partners, Ltd. v. Cape 27 Cod Biolab Corp., 225 F.R.D. 247, 250 (N.D. Cal. 2003) (finding a motion for default 28 judgment a dispositive motion). Examples of compelling reasons include “the use of court Case No. 09-cv-03529 JSW (NC) ORDER DENYING MOTION TO SEAL 2 1 records for improper purposes,” such as “to gratify private spite, promote public scandal, 2 circulate libelous statements, or release trade secrets.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179. 3 “[S]ources of business information that might harm a litigant’s competitive standing” may 4 also give rise to a compelling reason to seal. Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598. 5 Rather than requesting that entirety of its motion be filed under seal, Louisiana Pacific 6 submits a limited number of proposed redactions. “[R]edactions have the virtue of being 7 limited and clear.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d 1172, 1183 (9th Cir. 2006). Nevertheless, even 8 where there are “a limited number of specific redactions,” as there is here, “a broad, 9 categorical approach” to justifying such redactions is insufficient to meet the compelling 10 reasons standard. Id. The mere existence of a protective order—or a confidentiality 11 provision—without more, does not constitute good cause, “let alone a compelling reason,” 12 to seal. Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1136 (9th Cir. 2003). 13 In support of its motion, Louisiana Pacific states that the information it seeks to seal 14 has been deemed confidential in an agreement between it and one of the defendants in this 15 case. It does not allege that this information is competitively sensitive, contains a trade 16 secret, could be used for an improper purpose, or in fact, any reason—compelling, good, or 17 bad—for why the information should be sealed. Nor does it articulate what prejudice or 18 harm will result if the information is made public. Although the Court approves of how 19 limited and specific Louisiana Pacific’s redactions are, it has failed to overcome the 20 presumption of public access by demonstrating compelling reasons to seal the redacted 21 portions of its motion and supporting materials. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Louisiana 22 Pacific’s motion. 23 By February 19, 2013, Louisiana Pacific must submit a declaration in accordance 24 with Civil Rule 79-5 that articulates compelling reasons to seal the individual redactions it 25 proposes. 26 IT IS SO ORDERED. 27 Date: February 12, 2013 _________________________ Nathanael M. Cousins United States Magistrate Judge 28 Case No. 09-cv-03529 JSW (NC) ORDER DENYING MOTION TO SEAL 3

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