Vietnam Veterans of America et al v. Central Intelligence Agency et al

Filing 352


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1 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 2 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 3 4 5 6 7 8 VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA; SWORDS TO PLOWSHARES: VETERANS RIGHTS ORGANIZATION; BRUCE PRICE; FRANKLIN D. ROCHELLE; LARRY MEIROW; ERIC P. MUTH; DAVID C. DUFRANE; TIM MICHAEL JOSEPHS; and WILLIAM BLAZINSKI, individually, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, United States District Court For the Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 ORDER GRANTING IN PART, AND DENYING IN PART, PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO FILE UNDER SEAL (Docket No. 347) Plaintiffs, 9 10 No. C 09-0037 CW v. CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY; DAVID H. PETRAEUS, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; LEON E. PANETTA, Secretary of Defense; UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY; JOHN M. MCHUGH, United States Secretary of the Army; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; ERIC H. HOLDER, Jr., Attorney General of the United States; UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS; and ERIC K. SHINSEKI, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, Defendants. ________________________________/ Plaintiffs have submitted an administrative motion seeking to 22 file under seal Exhibits 2, 3, 11, 13, 35, 37, 39, 65, and 69-73 23 attached to the Declaration of Stacey M. Sprenkel in support of 24 their motion for class certification. 25 state that Defendants have designated Exhibits 2, 3, 11, 13, 35, 26 37, 39, and 65 as confidential. 27 of their motion, Plaintiffs clarify that only a portion of Exhibit 28 In their motion, Plaintiffs In their declaration in support 1 11 has been designated as confidential and that they seek to file 2 a redacted version of this exhibit in the public record. 3 Decl. ¶ 11. 4 Plaintiffs’ motion. 5 Sprenkel Defendants have filed a declaration in support of Because the public interest favors filing all court documents in the public record, any party seeking to file a document under 7 seal must demonstrate good cause to do so. 8 Creditors Ass’n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. 2010). 9 be established simply by showing that the document is subject to a 10 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 6 protective order or by stating in general terms that the material 11 is considered to be confidential, but rather must be supported by 12 a sworn declaration demonstrating with particularity the need to 13 file each document under seal. 14 a document has been designated as confidential by another party, 15 that party must file a declaration establishing that the document 16 is sealable. 17 Pintos v. Pac. This cannot See Civil Local Rule 79-5(a). If Civil Local Rule 79-5(d). Plaintiffs represent that they have designated Exhibits 69-73 18 as confidential because these exhibits contain “information 19 relating to the privacy and/or past, present, or future physical 20 or mental health or condition of persons not specifically made 21 public in the Complaint in this action.” 22 exhibits Plaintiffs seek to seal contain sensitive information for 23 putative class members who are specifically identified by name 24 within those exhibits. 25 have established good cause to seal Exhibits 69-73. 26 Id. at ¶¶ 3-7. Spreckel Decl. ¶ 2. The Accordingly, Plaintiffs Defendants, however, have not established good cause to 27 support the sealing of Exhibits 2, 3, 13, 35, 37, 39 and 65 in 28 their entirety or of portions of Exhibit 11. 2 In their declaration 1 in support of Plaintiffs’ motion to seal, Defendants withdraw 2 their confidentiality designation for Exhibit 39. 3 ¶ 4. 4 reasons to support the sealing thereof. 5 indicate that they continue to consider the emails contained 6 within Exhibits 35 and 37 to be confidential, but withdraw their 7 confidentiality designation for the attachments to those emails. 8 Id. at ¶¶ 5-6. Accordingly, Defendants have not established good 9 cause to seal to seal Exhibits 39 or 65 or the attachment portions United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 Gardner Decl. Defendants also do not address Exhibit 65 or provide any Defendants further of Exhibits 35 or 37. 11 Defendants represent that they seek to seal “Exhibits 2, 3, 12 11, and the email portions of 35 and 37,” because these exhibits 13 “contain information that is covered by the Privacy Act, 14 including, among other things, sensitive medical information, 15 social security numbers, dates of birth and financial account 16 information as well as personally identifying information for both 17 Plaintiffs and other individuals.” 18 Exhibit 2 nor the email portions of Exhibits 35 and 37 contain any 19 such personally identifying or sensitive information. 20 is an email chain generally discussing testing of chemical and 21 biological agents at particular locations in the 1970s and 1980s, 22 but it does not include protected information linked to any 23 individual. 24 general descriptions of the non-confidential attachments thereto 25 and the sender’s email signatures. 26 fourth pages of Exhibit 3 consist of an enlistment form completed 27 by a non-party, which does contain personally identifying 28 information, the remainder of this exhibit contains only general Id. at ¶ 6. However, neither Exhibit 2 The email portions of Exhibits 35 and 37 contain only 3 Further, while the third and 1 information on the recruitment of test subjects. 2 portion of Exhibit 11 that Defendants seek to seal contains an 3 excerpt of the transcript from Plaintiff William F. Blazinski’s 4 deposition in which he refers to being diagnosed with leukemia and 5 colitis. 6 confidential information and have already publicly disclosed this 7 diagnosis in the public record. 8 Accordingly, Defendants have not established good cause to seal to 9 seal Exhibits 2, 3 or 11 in their entirety or the email portions Finally, the However, Plaintiffs do not assert that this is See Third Amended Compl. ¶ 221. United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 of Exhibits 35 or 37. 11 cause to seal the third and fourth pages of Exhibit 3. 12 However, Defendants have established good Defendants represent that “Exhibit 13 contains information 13 that the United States has determined, pursuant to the Protective 14 Order . . . should not be publicly disclosed.” 15 Defendants do not provide any other reason to support the sealing 16 of Exhibit 13. 17 established by generally stating that the material is subject to a 18 protective order or that the party considers the material 19 confidential. 20 not established that Exhibit 13 is sealable. 21 Gardner Decl. ¶ 7. Good cause to support sealing cannot be Local Rule 79-5(a). Accordingly, Defendants have For the reasons set forth above, Plaintiffs’ motion to file 22 under seal is DENIED to the extent that it pertains to Exhibits 2, 23 11, 13, 35, 37, 39 and 65 and to Exhibit 3 other than pages three 24 and four thereof (Docket No. 347). 25 to the extent that it pertains to pages three and four of Exhibit 26 3 and to Exhibits 69-73 (Docket No. 347). 27 General Order 62, within four days of the date of this Order, 28 Plaintiffs shall electronically file Exhibits 3 and 69-73 under 4 Plaintiffs' motion is GRANTED In accordance with 1 seal and shall file in the public record Exhibits 2, 11, 13, 35, 2 37, 39 and 65 and a redacted version of Exhibit 3. 3 4 5 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: 2/24/2012 CLAUDIA WILKEN United States District Judge 6 7 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

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