Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies, Inc. et al

Filing 2307

NOTICE AND ORDER RE #2281 #2283 #2298 #2299 SEALING OF LETTERS FROM OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY AND RICHARD JACOBS by Judge Alsup. (whalc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/29/2017) (Additional attachment(s) added on 11/29/2017: #1 Exhibit A, #2 Exhibit B) (whalc2S, COURT STAFF).

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1 2 3 4 5 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 6 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 7 8 9 WAYMO LLC, 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 14 15 16 No. C 17-00939 WHA Plaintiff, v. NOTICE AND ORDER RE SEALING OF LETTERS FROM OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY AND RICHARD JACOBS UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC.; OTTOMOTTO LLC; and OTTO TRUCKING LLC, Defendants. / On November 22, the Court received a letter from the Office of the United States 17 Attorney with information bearing directly on the merits of this civil action and a request that 18 the letter be subject to the protective order herein (Dkt. No. 2260-1). That letter has been kept 19 provisionally under seal until now. Yesterday, the Court received a second letter from that 20 office, appended hereto as Exhibit A, with a request that both letters remain hidden from public 21 view (but provided to the parties). In support of this request, however, the second letter cites 22 only general policies with little applicability to our highly unusual situation, especially since the 23 office itself volunteered the information in the first letter. The request is therefore DENIED. 24 Relatedly, plaintiff Waymo LLC filed an administrative motion to file under seal a 25 heavily-redacted letter dated May 5, 2017, from Richard Jacobs’s attorney, among other things, 26 pursuant to defendants’ confidentiality designations (Dkt. No. 2281-5). Waymo itself does not 27 seek to redact any of the materials encompassed by this administrative motion. Jacobs also 28 filed separate administrative motions specifically to designate the Jacobs letter as confidential and keep it from public view (Dkt. Nos. 2298–99). The Jacobs letter contains information that 1 bears directly on the merits of this action. This order finds no compelling reasons that would 2 outweigh the public’s right to access and justify the extensive redactions sought by defendants 3 and Jacobs. Nor does Federal Rule of Evidence 408 support Jacobs’s motion, since that rule 4 governs the admissibility of negotiations evidence, not the sealing of public records. Jacobs’s 5 administrative motions are therefore DENIED and Waymo’s administrative motion is DENIED IN 6 PART 7 highlighting in Exhibit B will be preserved. In the Court’s view, those redactions adequately 8 balance the concerns articulated by defendants and Jacobs with the public’s right to access. 9 This is without prejudice to any motion by other entities, foreign or domestic, to unseal further only with respect to the Jacobs letter, except that the redactions marked in green portions of the Jacobs letter. The Court DEFERS ruling on the remainder of Waymo’s 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 administrative motion, which concerns matters separate from the Jacobs letter, pending the 12 submission of supporting declarations, if any, from defendants to justify their designations. 13 Jacobs also filed an administrative motion to file entirely under seal a letter objection to 14 his Court-ordered testimony, citing the presence of “personal identifying, confidential, and 15 sensitive information” and requesting “similar confidential treatment” on par with the 16 November 22 letter from the Office of the United States Attorney (see Dkt. No. 2283-1). As 17 stated, however, the latter will be unsealed. The generic reference to “personal identifying, 18 confidential, and sensitive information,” untethered to any particularized facts or specific 19 passages, fails to justify the wholesale sealing requested by Jacobs. This order finds that no 20 portion of Jacobs’s objection warrants sealing. This administrative motion is also DENIED. 21 The two letters from the Office of the United States Attorney, the Jacobs letter (save and 22 except for the redactions marked in green highlighting in Exhibit B), and Jacobs’s objection 23 shall be unsealed and re-filed on the public docket pursuant to this order unless emergency 24 relief is obtained from the court of appeals by DECEMBER 13 AT NOON. The Clerk shall 25 transmit a copy of this order and its exhibits to the Office of the United States Attorney TODAY. 26 IT IS SO ORDERED. 27 28 Dated: November 29, 2017. WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 2

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