King v. Hausfeld et al

Filing 18

ORDER re 5 Ex Parte Application filed by Michael D. Hausfeld, Hausfeld LLP. Signed by Judge Edward M. Chen on 2/4/13. (emclc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/4/2013)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 JON T. KING, 9 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 No. C-13-0237 EMC Plaintiff, v. MICHAEL D. HAUSFELD and HAUSFELD LLP, 12 13 ORDER RE DEFENDANTS’ EX PARTE APPLICATION TO TEMPORARILY SEAL COMPLAINT (Docket No. 5) Defendants. ___________________________________/ 14 15 Plaintiff Jon King has filed a wrongful termination suit against Defendants, alleging that he 16 was fired from his position as a non-equity partner with Defendant Hausfeld LLP for objecting to 17 unethical and improper practices at the law firm. Defendants have filed an ex parte motion to 18 temporarily seal the complaint in this case, arguing that it contains confidential information about 19 the firm’s clients, financial position, and strategies in various litigation. Defendants state that 20 Plaintiffs’ inclusion of this information in the complaint also violates a confidentiality agreement he 21 had signed during his employment for Hausfeld LLP. 22 Local Rule 79-5 provides that an order sealing certain court filings may issue “only upon a 23 request that establishes that the document, or portions thereof is privileged or protectable as a trade 24 secret or otherwise entitled to protection under the law.” Local R. 79-5(a). Further, any request to 25 seal documents “ must be narrowly tailored to seek sealing only of sealable material.” Id. The 26 Ninth Circuit has recognized that there is a “strong presumption in favor of public access” to 27 documents filed with the courts. Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1137 (9th 28 1 3 A party seeking to seal a judicial record . . . bears the burden of overcoming this strong presumption. That is, the party must articulate compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings, that outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring disclosure, such as the public interest in understanding the judicial process. 4 Kamakana v. City & County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178-79 (9th Cir. 2006) (internal citations 5 and alterations omitted). 2 6 Cir. 2003). Here, Defendants have failed to identify any specific portions of the complaint that they wish 7 to seal, or to articulate a compelling reason why those sections of the complaint must be sealed. 8 Though Defendants seek to have the document sealed only “until such time as the Court and the 9 parties have an opportunity to determine on a full record whether the complaint or portions of it 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 should remain permanently sealed,” they give no indication as to when this time may be. The parties are hereby ORDERED to meet and confer to attempt to reach stipulations as to 12 which portions of the complaint, if any, should be redacted in the public version of the document. 13 The parties shall file a stipulation, or a statement of their respective positions if no stipulation can be 14 reached, by Friday, February 15, 2013. Any stipulation shall comply with Local Rule 79-5. 15 16 IT IS SO ORDERED. 17 18 Dated: February 4, 2013 19 20 _________________________ EDWARD M. CHEN United States District Judge 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2

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