Stroh v. Saturna Capital Corporation et al
MINUTE ORDER directing all exhibits to the Wells Declaration, docket nos. 107 -1 & 108 , shall remain under seal ; striking as moot Plaintiff's 104 Motion to Seal. Authorized by Judge Thomas S. Zilly. (SWT)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
GORDON SCOTT STROH,
SATURNA CAPITAL CORPORATION,
The following Minute Order is made by direction of the Court, the Honorable
12 Thomas S. Zilly, United States District Judge:
Having reviewed defendants’ response, docket no. 117, to the Minute Order
entered May 2, 2017, docket no. 114, requiring the parties to show cause why the exhibits
14 to the Declaration of Christopher B. Wells (“Wells Declaration”) filed on April 21, 2017,
should not be unsealed, the Court is persuaded that compelling reasons exist for sealing
15 several of the exhibits at issue. The exhibits, however, were filed in unidentified groups,
and the exhibits that should remain under seal cannot now be segregated from those that
16 can be unsealed. Thus, the Court DIRECTS that all exhibits to the Wells Declaration,
docket nos. 107-1 & 108, shall remain under seal.
The deferred portion of plaintiff’s motion to seal, docket no. 104, which
plaintiff does not support, see docket no. 116, is STRICKEN as moot. The Court is
troubled by plaintiff’s counsel’s failure to exercise the requisite care in filing documents
marked “confidential” and subject to the Stipulated Protective Order, docket no. 43, in
this matter. Fortunately, because plaintiff’s counsel inadvertently sealed the “wrong” set
of documents, only two exhibits attached to the Wells Declaration, which defendants
contend should have been filed under seal, were temporarily1 available for public view,
As indicated in the Minute Order entered May 2, 2017, docket no. 114, the public access might actually
be permanent because the exhibits appear to have been uploaded to private websites unrelated to and
outside the control of the Court.
MINUTE ORDER - 1
1 namely Exhibits I and O. Consistent with Local Civil Rule 5(g), the Court expects
counsel to confer before filing documents that have been designated “confidential” and/or
2 filing materials under seal, and the Court has a strong preference for the parties to file a
stipulated motion or a stipulation and proposed order concerning the sealing of briefs
3 and/or supporting papers so that, contemporaneously with the filing of such items under
seal, the Court hears from a party having an interest in maintaining their confidentiality.
4 To the extent the parties cannot stipulate about the sealing of matters filed with the Court,
the party objecting to sealing has a duty to exercise the utmost care to ensure that it does
5 not improperly make “confidential” materials available for public view before the Court
has an opportunity to rule on whether the documents should remain under seal.2 The
6 Court is not satisfied that plaintiff’s counsel intended to or did carry out such duty.
Plaintiff’s counsel shall be prepared to address at the status conference set for May 19,
7 2017, whether and to what extent the Court should assess against him and/or his client the
amount of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred by defendants in responding to
8 the Minute Order entered May 2, 2017, docket no. 114.
In addition to the trial scheduling issues about which counsel have already
been alerted, counsel shall be prepared to address at the upcoming status conference how
10 “confidential” material should be handled with respect to future filings and during trial.
The Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Minute Order to all counsel of
Dated this 17th day of May, 2017.
William M. McCool
Moreover, when the parties dispute whether briefs and/or supporting papers should be maintained under
seal, they should endeavor to file each such document separately so that the Court can later seal or unseal
the individual item or items as appropriate.
MINUTE ORDER - 2
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