Sanders v. Johnson

Filing 28

ORDER granting parties' 23 Stipulation Motion to Seal Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment; Docket Numbers 24 , 25 , 26 , and 27 shall REMAIN sealed, signed by U.S. District Judge John C Coughenour. (SWT)

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THE HONORABLE JOHN C. COUGHENOUR 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 7 8 9 RICHARD SANDERS, 10 Plaintiffs, 11 CASE NO. C16-1402-JCC ORDER v. 12 JEH CHARLES JOHNSON, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security, 13 14 Defendant. 15 This matter comes before the Court on the parties’ stipulated motion to seal documents 16 17 related to Defendant’s motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 23). The Court starts from the 18 position that “[t]here is a strong presumption of public access to [its] files.” W.D. Wash. Local 19 Civ. R. 5(g)(3); see also Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978). However, 20 documents filed in support of a dispositive motion should remain under seal when a party can 21 “articulate[] compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings” that outweigh the 22 public’s interest in access. Kamakana v. City & Cty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 23 2006). 24 The parties wish to seal the Defendant’s motion for summary judgment and its supporting 25 declarations and exhibits because the documents contain Sensitive Security Information (“SSI”) 26 that is not to be disclosed to the general public pursuant to applicable federal regulations. (Dkt. ORDER PAGE - 1 1 No. 23 at 1–3.) Plaintiff is an employee of the Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) 2 and brings this Title VII employment discrimination lawsuit alleging that he was sexually 3 harassed as part of TSA’s training policies. (Id.) The relevant training policies include SSI that 4 was obtained and developed in the conduct of security activities. (Id.) TSA has determined that 5 the disclosure of SSI would, among other things, be detrimental to the security of transportation. 6 (Id.); see also 49 U.S.C. § 114(r) and 49 C.F.R. § 1520.5. Pursuant to TSA regulations, SSI is 7 only to be disclosed to “covered persons” which the general public is not. See 49 C.F.R. 8 § 1520.7. 9 Given the nature of the lawsuit, Defendant’s motion for summary judgment and 10 supporting declarations and exhibits necessarily contain numerous references to SSI. (Dkt. No. 11 23 at 2.) The parties previously submitted, and the Court granted, a stipulated protective order to 12 prevent the disclosure of SSI during discovery. (Dkt. No. 19.) 13 The Court finds that the parties have articulated compelling reasons for filing the motion 14 for summary judgment and supporting declarations and exhibits under seal. Those reasons are 15 supported by the specific facts of this case. Therefore, the motion to seal is GRANTED. Docket 16 Numbers 24, 25, 26, and 27 shall REMAIN sealed. 17 DATED this 3rd day of October 2017. 18 19 20 A 21 22 23 John C. Coughenour UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 24 25 26 ORDER PAGE - 2

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