State of California v. Valero Energy Corporation et al

Filing 106

ORDER RE ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO SEAL by Judge Judge William Alsup granting in part and denying in part 36 Administrative Motion to File Under Seal.(whalc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/27/2017)

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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 STATE OF CALIFORNIA, No. C 17-03786 WHA 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 14 15 16 Plaintiff, v. VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION, VALERO ENERGY PARTNERS LP, and PLAINS ALL AMERICAN PIPELINE, L.P., ORDER RE ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO SEAL Defendants. / Third-party AOT Energy Americas LLC moves to file under seal certain documents 17 related to its objections to the Court’s order requiring plaintiff, the State of California, to 18 produce documents to defendants Valero Energy Corporation, Valero Energy Partners LP, and 19 Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. (Dkt. No. 36). 20 In this circuit, courts start with a “strong presumption in favor of access” when deciding 21 whether to seal records. Kamakana v. City & Cty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 22 2006) (citing Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003)). To 23 seal judicial records in connection with a dispositive motion, the moving party must provide 24 “compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings,” which outweigh the public’s 25 interest in disclosure. See id. at 1178–79 (quotations and citations omitted). A particularized 26 showing of “good cause” under F.R.C.P. 26(c), however, suffices to warrant sealing of judicial 27 records in connection with a non-dispositive motion. Id. at 1179–80. 28 The documents at issue here, which were produced in discovery subject to a protective order, and are the subject of a nondispositive motion. They therefore need only meet the lower 1 good cause standard. See Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrysler Grp., LLC, 809 F.3d 1092, 1097 (9th 2 Cir.). The following constitutes the Court’s rulings on the parties’ administrative motion: 3 DOCUMENT SOUGHT TO BE SEALED RULING 4 Exhibit A Exhibit A is a declaration related to AOT’s trading strategies and leasing arrangements with the Martinez Terminal (Dkt. Nos. 36-1 ¶ 8; 36-2). AOT, however, attempts to file the entire exhibit under seal in defiance of our Civil Local Rule 79-5(b), which requires a request to seal to be narrowly tailored. Much of this declaration is innocuous and does not support sealing. DENIED. Exhibit B Exhibit B is a spreadsheet listing nearly 300 transactions between AOT and its customers since 2012. The spreadsheets reveal the prices and volumes of these transactions and other sensitive business information such as summaries of monthly revenue (Dkt. No. 363). GRANTED. Exhibit C Exhibit C contains responses to civil investigative demands. Some of the responses concern AOT trading strategies and contract information. Much of the document, however, contains lists of bates stamp numbers and other non-sealable material (Dkt. No. 36-3). AOT seeks to seal the exhibit in its entirety. This fails to comply with our Civil Local Rule 79-5(b), which requires a request to seal to be narrowly tailored. DENIED. Exhibit D Exhibit D is comprised of lease agreements between AOT and Plains, including pricing and volume terms as well as all other fees and storage terms between the companies (Dkt. 36-4–36–9). GRANTED. 5 6 7 8 9 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 24 25 Dated: September 26, 2017. WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 26 27 28 2

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