Cones v. Parexel International Corporation
ORDER Denying 86 Motion to File Documents Under Seal. Signed by Judge M. James Lorenz on 4/10/2018. (mxn)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
SCHOULEE CONES, et al.,
Case No.: 3:16-cv-03084-L-BGS
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S
MOTION TO FILE DOCUMENTS
UNDER SEAL [Doc. 86]
CORPORATION, et al.,
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff’s motion to file documents under seal [Doc.
120].) Sealing court records implicates the "general right to inspect and copy public
records and documents, including judicial records and documents." Nixon v. Warner
Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 & n.7 (1978). The lack of opposition to a motion to
seal therefore does not automatically resolve it. See Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins.
Co., 331 F.3d 1128, 1130 & passim (9th Cir. 2003). Aside from “grand jury transcripts
and warrant materials in the midst of a pre-indictment investigation,” a strong
presumption applies in favor of public access to judicial records. Kamakana v. City and
County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006). Accordingly, a party seeking
to seal a judicial record bears the burden of overcoming the strong presumption of public
access by meeting the “compelling reasons” standard. Id. at 1178.
Plaintiff’s sole argument for filing the documents at issue under seal is the fact that
these documents were designated as confidential pursuant to the terms of a protective
order. That a document is designated confidential pursuant to a protective order is of
little weight when it comes to sealing documents which are filed with the Court. See San
Jose Mercury News, Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Ct.(Saldivar), 187 F.3d 1096, 1103 (9th Cir. 1999);
Beckman Indus. v. Int'l Ins. Co., 966 F.2d 470, 475-76 (9th Cir. 1992); Confederated
Tribes of Siletz Indians of Or. v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 340 F. Supp. 2d 1118, 1121 (D. Or.
2003). By nature, protective orders are over inclusive, see Beckman, 966 F.2d at 476,
because prior to signing, the judge typically does not have the opportunity to analyze
whether any particular document should be sealed. See San Jose Mercury News, 187
F.3d at 1103; Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1133. Whether a document designated as confidential
pursuant to a protective order should be sealed must therefore usually be determined de
novo. See Weyerhaeuser, 340 F. Supp. 2d at 1121. Plaintiffs' reliance on the protective
order is insufficient to meet the compelling reasons standard for sealing court filings
related to a class certification motion.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion is DENIED. The exhibits, which
were lodged under seal, will not be considered. This denial is without prejudice to refiling
the exhibits without sealing or filing a renewed motion to seal that actually presents a
proper argument as to why there are compelling reasons to deny public access. Any new
application to seal must be filed by April 14, 2018, include the requisite showing, and
designate specific portions of the exhibits for sealing.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: April 10, 2018
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