Ruffner v. Ken Blanchard Companies, Inc.
ORDER denying 31 Motion for Leave to file response brief under seal. (Response to Order deadline 11/27/17.) Signed by Judge Donald W. Molloy on 11/16/2017. (NOS)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
NOV 16 2017
Clerk, U.S Courts
District Of Montana
KEN BLANCHARD COMPANIES,
On October 3, 2017, Plaintiff Laurie Ruffner sought leave to file her
response to the defendant's motion for summary judgment under seal. (Doc. 31.)
Pursuant to the Local Rules of this Court, "[a]ll documents and items in the record
of a case are available to the public unless access is limited or prohibited by
federal law, federal or local rule, or by an order, issued on a motion ... stating the
reasons for sealing." L.R. l.3(a)(2). Additionally, the Local Rules require that
"any person who files a document or item under seal, with or without prior leave,
certifies that sealing is appropriate to the best of the person's knowledge,
information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the
circumstances and with due regard to the public's right of access." L.R. 5.l(a).
They further require that a motion for leave must state either "why it is not feasible
to file a redacted version of the document or item in the public record" or the filing
need "be accompanied by a redacted version of the document or item filed in the
public record." L.R. 5.l(d)(3).
"Those who seek to maintain the secrecy of documents attached to
dispositive motions must meet the high threshold of showing that 'compelling
reasons' support secrecy." Kamakana v. City & Cnty. ofHonolulu, 447 F.3d 1172,
1180 (9th Cir. 2006). Here, the sole ground provided for the request is that it was
made pursuant to the parties' Stipulated Protective Agreement. That is insufficient
to warrant a denial of public access. "Unless a particular court record is one
'traditionally kept secret,' a 'strong presumption in favor of access' is the starting
point." Id. at 1778. "A party seeking to seal a judicial record then bears the
burden of overcoming this strong presumption by meeting the 'compelling reason'
standard." Id. This strong presumption of access "applies fully to dispositive
pleadings, including motions for summary judgment and related attachments." Id.
at 11 79. "Thus, 'compelling reasons' must be shown to seal judicial records
attached to a dispositive motion[,]" regardless if the motion or its attachments are
subject to a protective order. Id.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiffs motion (Doc. 31) is
DENIED. The documents filed at Doc. 37 and Doc. 38 (and its attachments) will
be unsealed as of November 27, 2017, unless Plaintiff can present compelling
reasons as to why each and every document must be sealed and cannot be
redacted. Absent such a showing, those documents will remain filed in the case
but will be open to public access. 1
lft? day ofNovember, 2017.
, District Judge
United Stat s Dist ict Court
Modifying Local Rule 5.l(g)(4), which provides that "[i]f leave to file
under seal is denied, the document or item will remain in the record under seal but
will be deemed not filed." Plaintiff need not re-file the documents.
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