Gopher Media LLC et al v. Melone et al

Filing 140

ORDER granting 135 Plaintiffs' unopposed Motion to File Documents Under Seal. Signed by District Judge Ruth Bermudez Montenegro on 6/04/2024. (jpp)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 GOPHER MEDIA LLC, et al., Plaintiffs, 12 13 v. 14 ANDREW MELONE, et al., 15 Case No.: 3:21-cv-01909-RBM-VET ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ UNOPPOSED MOTION TO FILE DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL Defendants. [Doc. Nos. 135, 136] 16 17 18 19 AGFM FAMILY ENTERPRISES, LLC DBA AMERICAN PIZZA MANUFACTURING, et al., 20 Counterclaimants, 21 v. 22 GOPHER MEDIA LLC, et al., Counter-Defendants. 23 24 25 Before the Court is Gopher Media LLC and Ajay Thakore’s (collectively, 26 “Plaintiffs”) Unopposed Motion to File Documents Under Seal (the “Motion to Seal”). 27 Doc. No. 135. Plaintiffs request to file a medical record under seal in connection with a 28 motion to excuse Plaintiff Ajay Thakore from attending an upcoming Mandatory 1 3:21-cv-01909-RBM-VET 1 Settlement Conference due to medical unavailability. Id.; see also Doc. No. 137. Plaintiffs 2 lodged an unredacted copy of the subject medical record with the Court. Doc. No. 136. 3 Based on a review of the Motion and the record, the Court GRANTS the Motion for the 4 reasons set forth below. 5 I. LEGAL STANDARD 6 “[T]he courts of this country recognize a general right to inspect and copy public 7 records and documents, including judicial records and documents.” Nixon v. Warner 8 Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589 (1978). “Unless a particular court record is one ‘traditionally 9 kept secret,’ a ‘strong presumption in favor of access’ is the starting point.” Kamakana v. 10 City & Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Foltz v. State Farm 11 Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003)). “The presumption of access is 12 ‘based on the need for federal courts, although independent—indeed, particularly because 13 they are independent—to have a measure of accountability and for the public to have 14 confidence in the administration of justice.’” Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrysler Grp., LLC, 15 809 F.3d 1092, 1096 (9th Cir. 2016) (quoting United States v. Amodeo, 71 F.3d 1044, 1048 16 (2d Cir. 1995)). 17 A party seeking to seal a judicial record bears the burden of overcoming the strong 18 presumption of access. Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1135. To overcome this presumption of access, 19 the party must demonstrate either “good cause” or “compelling reasons” to seal a record, 20 depending on the motion to which the record relates. Ctr. for Auto, 809 F.3d at 1096–97. 21 If the underlying motion is more than tangentially related to the merits, the “compelling 22 reasons” standard applies. Id. at 1096–98. When the underlying motion does not surpass 23 this threshold, the “good cause” standard applies. Id. Further, “[e]ven if it may be 24 appropriate to seal a document in its entirety, a party should still redact records whenever 25 possible.” Craig v. Am. Tuna, Inc., No. 22-cv-00473, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211558, at 26 *10 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 28, 2023). 27 28 2 3:21-cv-01909-RBM-VET 1 II. ANALYSIS 2 First, the Court finds that the “good cause” standard applies to the Motion to Seal. 3 Mr. Thakore’s medical record relates to a motion to excuse his attendance at a Mandatory 4 Settlement Conference due to medical unavailability. See Doc. No. 137. Such a motion is 5 not more than tangentially related to the merits of this case; indeed, it is not related to the 6 merits whatsoever. 7 Second, the Court finds there is good cause to seal Mr. Thakore’s medical record. 8 The medical record relates to Mr. Thakore’s sensitive personal and medical information. 9 Further, the personal medical information conveyed in the medical record is not at issue in 10 the present action. See, e.g., Craig, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211558, at *10 (sealing letter 11 that contained pervasive references to plaintiff’s health information); Weisberg v. Takeda 12 Pharms. U.S.A., Inc., No. CV 18-784, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 225905, at *3 (C.D. Cal. 13 July 3, 2018) (sealing records that “contain personal identifying information and medical 14 records that are not put at issue by this action” under the “compelling reasons” standard). 15 Additionally, the medical record is not appropriate for redaction and should be sealed in its 16 entirety. 17 III. CONCLUSION 18 Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs’ Motion to Seal. Doc. No. 135. The 19 Clerk of the Court SHALL FILE the Lodgment (Doc. No. 136) UNDER SEAL. 20 IT IS SO ORDERED. 21 Dated: June 4, 2024 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3 3:21-cv-01909-RBM-VET

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