Frost v. LG Corporation et al

Filing 74

ORDER GRANTING 73 MOTION TO SEAL. Signed by Judge Beth Labson Freeman on 2/13/2017. (blflc4S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/13/2017)

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1 2 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 3 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 4 SAN JOSE DIVISION 5 6 A. FROST, et al., Case No. 16-cv-05206-BLF Plaintiffs, 7 v. ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO SEAL 8 9 LG ELECTRONICS INC., et al., [Re: ECF 73] Defendants. 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Before the Court is Defendants LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc. and LG Display America, Inc. 12 13 (“LG”)’s administrative motion to file under seal portions of the documents in support of their 14 sanction motion. ECF 73. For the reasons stated below, the motion is GRANTED. 15 16 I. LEGAL STANDARD There is a “strong presumption in favor of access” to judicial records. Kamakana v. City & 17 Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. 18 Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003)). A party seeking to seal judicial records bears the 19 burden of overcoming this presumption by articulating “compelling reasons supported by specific 20 factual findings that outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring 21 disclosure.” Id. at 1178-79. Compelling reasons for sealing court files generally exist when such 22 “‘court files might have become a vehicle for improper purposes,’ such as the use of records to 23 gratify private spite, promote public scandal, circulate libelous statements, or release trade 24 secrets.” Id. (quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 598 (1978)). However, 25 “[t]he mere fact that the production of records may lead to a litigant’s embarrassment, 26 incrimination, or exposure to further litigation will not, without more, compel the court to seal its 27 records.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179. Ultimately, “[w]hat constitutes a ‘compelling reason’ is 28 ‘best left to the sound discretion of the trial court.’” Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrslyer Grp., LLC, 1 809 F.3d 1092, 1097 (9th Cir. 2016). “Despite this strong preference for public access, [the Ninth Circuit has] carved out an 2 3 exception,” id. at 1097, for judicial records attached to motions that are “tangentially related to the 4 merits of a case,” id. at 1101. Parties moving to seal such records need only make a 5 “particularized showing” under the “good cause” standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6 26(c). Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1180 (quoting Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1138). In this District, parties seeking to seal judicial records must furthermore follow Civil Local 7 8 Rule 79-5, which requires, inter alia, that a sealing request be “narrowly tailored to seek sealing 9 only of sealable material.” Civil L.R. 79-5(b) (emphasis added). Where the submitting party seeks to file under seal a document designated confidential by another party, the burden of 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 articulating compelling reasons for sealing is placed on the designating party. Id. 79-5(e). 12 II. DISCUSSION The Court has reviewed LG’s sealing motion and declarations of James Kylstra and Daniel 13 14 D. Birk in support thereof. According to Kylstra’s declaration, the redacted portions should be 15 sealed because they contain competitively sensitive information regarding the hiring and recruiting 16 practices of LG. Kylstra Decl., ECF 73-1 ¶¶ 3-5. Plaintiffs and Co-Defendants Samsung 17 Elecronics Co., Ltd., Samsung Electronics America Inc., and Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. do not 18 oppose this motion. Id. ¶ 6; Birk Decl. ¶ 2, ECF 73-2. 19 The Court finds that the “good cause” standard applies, as LG’s sanction motion is 20 “tangentially related to the merits of a case.” See Ctr. for Auto Safety, 809 F.3d at 1097. Because 21 the redacted portions contain competitive and proprietary information that LG use for their 22 competitive advantage, they are appropriately sealable under the “good cause” standard. 23 III. 24 ORDER For the foregoing reasons, the sealing motion at ECF 73 is GRANTED. 25 26 27 28 Dated: February 13, 2017 ______________________________________ BETH LABSON FREEMAN United States District Judge 2

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