Dudgeon v. Sonoma et al

Filing 99

ORDER by Judge Joseph C. Spero granting 95 Plaintiff's Administrative Motion to File Under Seal; denying 97 Defendants' Administrative Motion to File Under Seal. The parties are instructed to provide public versions of exhibits as set forth in the Court's Order. (jcslc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/18/2021)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 7 DANIEL DUDGEON, Case No. 19-cv-05615-JCS Plaintiff, 8 v. 9 10 COUNTY OF SONOMA, et al., Defendants. ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO SEAL, DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO SEAL Re: Dkt. No. 95, 97 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 Plaintiff has filed a motion to seal asking the Court for leave to file under seal portions of 14 certain exhibits filed by the parties in connection with Defendants’ Summary Judgment Motion. 15 See Dkt. 95 (“Plaintiff’s Motion to Seal”). The Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s Motion to Seal as 16 follows. First, the Court finds that the following material is confidential under Rule 5.2 of the 17 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: 18 • Seville Decl., Ex. F (911 Call_27 audio) (dkt. 88-6) at 1:16 - 1:19. 19 • Seville Decl., Ex. I (dkt. 88-9) and King Decl., Ex. C (dkt. 88-4) (Woodworth 20 body worn camera video) at 7:42 - 7:44, 19:36 - 19:41, 20:57 - 21:06, 21:12 - 21 21:19, 21:38 - 21:46, 21:49 - 21:54. 22 • worn camera video) at 5:33 - 5:37. 23 24 • 27 28 Seville Decl., Ex. O (dkt. 88-14) (Williams body worn camera video) at 5:51 5:53, 19:07 - 19:15, 19:21 - 19:27, 19:48 - 19:54, 19:58 - 20:03. 25 26 Seville Decl., Ex. N (dkt. 88-13) and King Decl., Ex. F (dkt. 84-7) (Battaglia body • Seville Decl., Ex. P (dkt. 88-15) (medical record) – all references to Plaintiff’s date of birth. In addition, the Court finds that there are compelling reasons for sealing the material found in the Woodworth body worn camera video (Seville Decl., Ex. I and King Decl., Ex. C) at 22:33 - 2 24:30, where Deputy Woodworth has a conversation with Plaintiff’s minor children. See 3 Kamakana v. City & Cty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1179 (9th Cir. 2006) (“In general, 4 ‘compelling reasons’ sufficient to outweigh the public’s interest in disclosure and justify sealing 5 court records exist when such ‘court files might have become a vehicle for improper purposes,’ 6 such as the use of records to gratify private spite, promote public scandal, circulate libelous 7 statements, or release trade secrets.” (quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 598 8 (1978)). The content of the conversation has little evidentiary value with respect to Plaintiff’s 9 claims or the issues before the Court on summary judgment. On the other hand, the privacy 10 interests of Plaintiff’s minor children are significant. The footage reveals the images of the 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 1 children and their emotional reactions to what likely were traumatic events. The Court concludes 12 that the public’s right to access to judicial proceedings is outweighed by the privacy interests of 13 Plaintiff’s children with respect to this material. 14 On the other hand, the Court DENIES Defendants’ motion to seal the Redcom audio 15 recording referenced in the King Reply Declaration, dkt, 91-1. Dkt. 97 (“Defendants’ Motion to 16 Seal”). The content of that recording is highly relevant to the parties’ disputes about what 17 occurred, as Defendants acknowledge. See Dkt. 97-1 (stating that the audio at issue contains 18 “sensitive details of the events of the incident”). It also sheds light on the reasonableness of 19 Deputy Woodworth’s conduct, which is at the heart of this case. Given the significance of this 20 evidence, Defendants’ conclusory statement that it is “not necessary to publish” this material and 21 that there is “no public interest in this matter at present[,]” see dkt. 97-1 ¶ 3, is insufficient to meet 22 the compelling reasons requirement. There is a strong presumption that the public has an interest 23 in judicial proceedings. Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179. Defendants have not demonstrated that this 24 interest is outweighed by a need to keep this material confidential. 25 Accordingly, the Court ORDERS as follows: 26 Plaintiff shall manually file with the Clerk’s Office a public version of the audio and video 27 recordings filed as Seville Decl., Exs. F, I, N & O with the portions the Court has found may be 28 filed under seal edited out. Plaintiff should also manually file Seville Decl., Ex. C (911 audio) in 2 1 its entirety, which shall not be under seal because Plaintiff did not request that the Court seal that 2 exhibit in his motion to seal and in any event, the Court finds that it contains no sealable material. 3 To the extent these materials are provided on USB drives or CD-ROMs, no sealed material should 4 be contained on them as these may be made available for public review upon request. 5 Plaintiff should electronically file a redacted version of Seville Decl., Ex. P. 6 Defendants shall manually file with the Clerk’s Office a public version of the video 7 recordings filed as King Decl., Exs. C & F with the portions the Court has found may be filed 8 under seal edited out. The USB drive supplied by Defendants and received by the Court on July 9 29, 2021, which contains the Redcom audio recording referenced in the King Reply Declaration, is 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 no longer sealed. IT IS SO ORDERED. 12 13 14 15 Dated: November 18, 2021 ______________________________________ JOSEPH C. SPERO Chief Magistrate Judge 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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