Laatz et al v. Zazzle, Inc. et al

Filing 223

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART 186 SEALING MOTION IN CONNECTION WITH MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM SCHEDULING ORDER. Signed by Judge Beth Labson Freeman on 7/8/24. (blflc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/8/2024)

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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 SAN JOSE DIVISION 6 7 NICKY LAATZ, et al., Plaintiffs, 8 v. 9 10 ZAZZLE, INC., et al., Defendants. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No. 22-cv-04844-BLF ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART SEALING MOTION [Re: ECF No. 186] 12 Before the Court is Plaintiff Nicky Laatz’s administrative motion to consider whether 13 14 another party’s materials should be sealed in connection with her motion for relief from the 15 scheduling order. See ECF No. 186. Defendants have filed a statement in support of sealing 16 certain exhibits identified in Laatz’s motion and requesting that certain documents, which were 17 filed publicly, be sealed. See ECF No. 195. Laatz filed an opposition to Defendants’ statement. 18 See ECF No. 201. The Court has reviewed the motion, statement, and opposition, and for the reasons stated 19 20 21 22 below, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART the sealing motion. I. LEGAL STANDARD “Historically, courts have recognized a ‘general right to inspect and copy public records 23 and documents, including judicial records and documents.’” Kamakana v. City and Cnty. of 24 Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 25 U.S. 589, 597 & n.7 (1978)). Consequently, access to motions and their attachments that are 26 “more than tangentially related to the merits of a case” may be sealed only upon a showing of 27 “compelling reasons” for sealing. Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrysler Grp., LLC, 809 F.3d 1092, 28 1101–02 (9th Cir. 2016). Filings that are only tangentially related to the merits may be sealed 1 upon a lesser showing of “good cause.” Id. at 1097. In addition, in this district, all parties requesting sealing must comply with Civil Local 2 3 Rule 79-5. That rule requires, inter alia, the moving party to provide “the reasons for keeping a 4 document under seal, including an explanation of: (i) the legitimate private or public interests that 5 warrant sealing; (ii) the injury that will result if sealing is denied; and (iii) why a less restrictive 6 alternative to sealing is not sufficient.” Civ. L.R. 79-5(c)(1). Further, Civil Local Rule 79-5 7 requires the moving party to provide “evidentiary support from declarations where necessary.” 8 Civ. L.R. 79-5(c)(2). And the proposed order must be “narrowly tailored to seal only the sealable 9 material.” Civ. L.R. 79-5(c)(3). Further, when a party seeks to seal a document because it has been designated as United States District Court Northern District of California 10 11 confidential by another party, the filing party must file an Administrative Motion to Consider 12 Whether Another Party’s Material Should be Sealed. Civ. L.R. 79-5(f). In that case, the filing 13 party need not satisfy the requirements of subsection (c)(1). Civ. L.R. 79-5(f)(1). Instead, the 14 party who designated the material as confidential must, within seven days of the motion’s filing, 15 file a statement and/or declaration that meets the requirements of subsection (c)(1). Civ. L.R. 79- 16 5(f)(3). A designating party’s failure to file a statement or declaration may result in the unsealing 17 of the provisionally sealed document without further notice to the designating party. Id. Any 18 party can file a response to that declaration within four days. Civ. L.R. 79-5(f)(4). 19 20 II. DISCUSSION Because the motion to seal pertains to a motion for relief from the scheduling order, which 21 is only tangentially related to the merits of this action, the Court will apply the “good cause” 22 standard. See, e.g., Jones v. PGA Tour, Inc., No. 22-CV-04486-BLF, 2023 WL 5520771, at *6 23 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 24, 2023) (noting that the good cause standard applies to discovery-related 24 motions); Malig as Tr. for Malig Fam. Tr. v. Lyft, Inc., No. 19-CV-02690-HSG, 2022 WL 25 1143360, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 31, 2022) (applying the good cause standard to documents related 26 to a motion for relief from a magistrate judge’s discovery order); Wisk Aero LLC v. Archer 27 Aviation Inc., No. 21CV02450WHODMR, 2022 WL 6251047, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 8, 2022) 28 (applying the good cause standard to a sealing motion pertaining to a discovery letter brief). 2 United States District Court Northern District of California 1 Laatz’s sealing motion identifies highlighted portions of her motion for relief from the 2 scheduling order and Exhibits 6, 9, and 16 in support of that motion as designated “confidential” 3 by Zazzle. See ECF No. 186 at 1–2. Defendants request that the highlighted portions of Laatz’s 4 motion for relief from the scheduling order and Exhibit 9 remain under seal because they contain 5 customer and revenue information about Zazzle that is not publicly available, and the public 6 disclosure of this information would harm Zazzle’s competitive standing. See ECF No. 195 at 3. 7 Defendants request that Exhibit 6 remain under seal because it contains information regarding 8 Zazzle’s company structure, employment, and licensing and other practices. Id. at 4–5. 9 Defendants request that highlighted portions of Exhibit 16 remain under seal because these 10 portions contain personal health information about a Zazzle employee. Id. at 5–6. In addition to 11 the documents identified by Laatz, Zazzle seeks to seal further portions of Laaz’s motion for relief 12 from the scheduling order, the Mathews Declaration in support of that motion, and Exhibits 12–14 13 and 18–20 because they contain confidential health information about a Zazzle employee— 14 namely, that a Zazzle employee is on parental leave. Id. at 6–8. 15 In opposition, Laatz argues that an employee’s parental leave status is not sensitive health 16 information and that Defendants failed to properly designate Exhibits 12–14 and 18–20 as 17 confidential under the terms of the protective order. ECF No. 201 at 1–3. Laatz also argues that 18 Exhibit 6, which is Defendants’ privilege log, does not contain any detailed confidential 19 information that would justify good cause to seal the exhibit. Id. at 3–4. Laatz has not raised any 20 argument in opposition of sealing the originally highlighted portions of its motion for relief from 21 the scheduling order and Exhibit 9. 22 The Court finds that good cause exists to seal the highlighted portions of Laatz’s motion 23 for relief from the scheduling order identified at ECF No. 186-3 and Exhibit 9 because these 24 documents contain confidential business information regarding Zazzle’s customer and revenue 25 information that, if publicly disclosed, would cause Zazzle competitive harm. See OpenTV, Inc. v. 26 Apple, Inc., No. 14-CV-01622-HSG, 2015 WL 5714851, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 17, 2015) (finding 27 good cause to seal information relating to a company’s revenues, customers, and sales data). The 28 Court also finds that the proposed redactions are narrowly tailored to seal only sealable material. 3 1 United States District Court Northern District of California 2 See Civ. L.R. 79-5(c)(3). The Court does not find good cause to seal Exhibit 6, which is Defendants’ privilege log. 3 Contrary to Defendants’ representations, the privilege log does not contain any sensitive 4 information regarding Zazzle’s company structure, employment, or licensing and other practices. 5 For each document, the privilege log identifies a “Date Range,” “Senders / Recipients / 6 Custodians,” a “Privilege Basis,” and a “Description.” See ECF No. 186-4. The Privilege Basis 7 category merely states “Attorney-Client,” “Attorney Work Product,” or both. Similarly, each 8 Description merely identifies the type of document withheld and states that the document reflects 9 and/or seeks legal advice, mental impressions, and/or legal conclusions of counsel regarding 10 various topics. None of this information is confidential business information. Accordingly, the 11 Court finds that Defendants have failed to show good cause to maintain Exhibit 6 under seal. See 12 Orthopaedic Hosp. v. DJO Glob., Inc., No. 319CV00970JLSAHG, 2020 WL 6074110, at *2 (S.D. 13 Cal. Aug. 21, 2020) (finding that the parties had failed to show good cause to maintain a privilege 14 log under seal because “vague descriptions of the nature of the communications being withheld” 15 did not constitute trade secrets or commercial information). 16 Finally, the Court does not find good cause to seal the additional highlighted portions of 17 Laatz’s motion for relief from the scheduling order at ECF No. 198-2, the Mathews Declaration, 18 or Exhibits 12–14, 16, and 18–20. The highlighted portions of these documents that Defendants 19 seek to seal merely state that a Zazzle employee is currently on parental leave. See, e.g., ECF No. 20 198-1, 198-2. Courts have found good cause and compelling reasons to seal confidential personal 21 identifying information and private health information. See, e.g., eBay Inc. v. Boch, No. 19-CV- 22 04422-BLF, 2022 WL 1131720, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 21, 2022) (sealing confidential personal 23 identifying information); California Spine & Neurosurgery Inst. v. United Healthcare Ins. Co., 24 No. 19-CV-02417-LHK, 2021 WL 1146216, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 12, 2021) (collecting cases 25 sealing medical records and other protected health information). However, the fact that an 26 employee is on parental leave is neither confidential personal identifying information nor is it 27 protected or otherwise confidential health information. Accordingly, the Court finds that 28 Defendants have failed to show good cause to seal this information. 4 1 2 3 The Court rules as follows: ECF No. 186-3 Document Plaintiff’s Motion for Relief from Scheduling Order Portions to Seal Highlighted Portions 198-2 Additional Highlighted Portions Highlighted Portions 186-4 Plaintiff’s Motion for Relief from Scheduling Order Mathews Declaration ISO Plaintiff’s Motion for Relief from Scheduling Order Exhibit 6 186-5 Exhibit 9 Highlighted Portions 198-2 Exhibit 12 Highlighted Portions 198-2 Exhibit 13 Highlighted Portions 198-2 Exhibit 14 Highlighted Portions 198-1 Exhibit 16 Highlighted Portions 198-2 Exhibit 18 Highlighted Portions 198-2 Exhibit 19 Highlighted Portions 198-2 Exhibit 20 Highlighted Portions 4 5 6 7 198-2 8 9 Entire Document 25 DENIED because the document does not contain sealable information. GRANTED as containing confidential business information, the release of which would cause competitive harm. DENIED because the document does not contain sealable information. DENIED because the document does not contain sealable information. DENIED because the document does not contain sealable information. DENIED because the document does not contain sealable information. DENIED because the document does not contain sealable information. DENIED because the document does not contain sealable information. DENIED because the document does not contain sealable information. 26 Laatz SHALL file unredacted versions of Exhibits 6 and 16 on the public docket within 7 days of 27 the date of this Order. 10 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Ruling GRANTED as containing confidential business information, the release of which would cause competitive harm. DENIED because the document does not contain sealable information. DENIED because the document does not contain sealable information. 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 28 5 1 III. ORDER For the foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff Nicky Laatz’s 2 administrative motion to consider whether another party’s materials should be sealed in 3 connection with her motion for relief from the scheduling order (ECF No. 186) is GRANTED IN 4 PART and DENIED IN PART. Laatz SHALL file unredacted versions of Exhibits 6 and 16 on 5 the public docket within 7 days of the date of this Order. 6 7 Dated: July 8, 2024 8 9 10 ______________________________________ BETH LABSON FREEMAN United States District Judge 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 6

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