Frost v. LG Corporation et al

Filing 78

ORDER DENYING 75 SEALING MOTION. Signed by Judge Beth Labson Freeman on 2/27/2017. (blflc4S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/27/2017)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 SAN JOSE DIVISION 7 8 A. FROST, et al., Case No. 16-cv-05206-BLF Plaintiffs, 9 v. ORDER DENYING MOTION TO SEAL 10 11 LG ELECTRONICS INC., et al., [Re: ECF 75] United States District Court Northern District of California Defendants. 12 13 Before the Court is Plaintiffs’ administrative motion to file under seal portions of the 14 15 documents in support of their opposition to a sanction motion. Mot., ECF 75. For the reasons 16 stated below, the motion is DENIED. 17 18 I. LEGAL STANDARD There is a “strong presumption in favor of access” to judicial records. Kamakana v. City & 19 Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. 20 Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003)). A party seeking to seal judicial records bears the 21 burden of overcoming this presumption by articulating “compelling reasons supported by specific 22 factual findings that outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring 23 disclosure.” Id. at 1178-79. Compelling reasons for sealing court files generally exist when such 24 “‘court files might have become a vehicle for improper purposes,’ such as the use of records to 25 gratify private spite, promote public scandal, circulate libelous statements, or release trade 26 secrets.” Id. (quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 598 (1978)). However, 27 “[t]he mere fact that the production of records may lead to a litigant’s embarrassment, 28 incrimination, or exposure to further litigation will not, without more, compel the court to seal its 1 records.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179. Ultimately, “[w]hat constitutes a ‘compelling reason’ is 2 ‘best left to the sound discretion of the trial court.’” Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrslyer Grp., LLC, 3 809 F.3d 1092, 1097 (9th Cir. 2016). “Despite this strong preference for public access, [the Ninth Circuit has] carved out an 4 5 exception,” id. at 1097, for judicial records attached to motions that are “tangentially related to the 6 merits of a case,” id. at 1101. Parties moving to seal such records need only make a 7 “particularized showing” under the “good cause” standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 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 9 Rule 79-5, which requires, inter alia, that a sealing request be “narrowly tailored to seek sealing 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 only of sealable material.” Civil L.R. 79-5(b) (emphasis added). Where the submitting party 12 seeks to file under seal a document designated confidential by another party, the burden of 13 articulating compelling reasons for sealing is placed on the designating party. Id. 79-5(e). 14 II. DISCUSSION The Court has reviewed Plaintiffs’ sealing motion and declaration of Matthew Weiler in 15 16 support thereof. According to the declaration, all the portions should be sealed because they 17 contain confidential or privileged information of Defendants. ECF 75-1 ¶ 3. Moreover, Plaintiffs 18 claim that they take no position on the question of whether the redacted information warrants 19 sealing. Mot. 2. It thus appears that Defendants are the Designating Parties but Plaintiffs have not 20 filed a proof of service showing that Defendants were served in accordance with the Local Rules. 21 Civil L.R. 79-5(e). ECF filing on its own does not notify parties that an administrative sealing 22 motion has been filed, unlike other ECF filings with the Court. As such, Defendants were not 23 offered an opportunity to file a declaration in support of this motion. 24 III. 25 ORDER For the foregoing reasons, the sealing motion at ECF 75 is DENIED without prejudice. 26 Plaintiffs may renew their motion to seal and serve Defendants so to provide Defendants an 27 opportunity to submit a declaration in support of the motion. Civil L.R. 79-5(e). The motion shall 28 be renewed no later than 10 days from the filing of this order. If the motion is not renewed in time 2 1 or if no declaration is submitted within four days of the filing of the renewed motion, Plaintiffs 2 shall file the unredacted documents in the public record. Civil L.R. 79-5(e)(1), (2). 3 4 5 6 Dated: February 27, 2017 ______________________________________ BETH LABSON FREEMAN United States District Judge 7 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?