Kautsman et al v. Carrington Mortgage Services LLC et al

Filing 51

ORDER granting Plaintiffs' 42 Motion to Seal Exhibits M-R to the Declaration of Jason E Anderson Filed in Support of Class Certification. Signed by U.S. District Judge John C Coughenour. (TH)

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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 NIKOLAY KAUTSMAN, et al., 10 Plaintiffs, v. 11 CASE NO. C16-1940-JCC ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO SEAL CARRINGTON MORTGAGE SERVICES, LLC, et al., 12 13 Defendants. 14 15 This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs’ motion to seal (Dkt. No. 42). Having 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 thoroughly considered the parties’ briefing and the relevant record, the Court hereby GRANTS the motion (Dkt. No. 42) for the reasons explained herein. I. BACKGROUND Included with Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification (Dkt. No. 34) is a declaration from Jason Anderson (Dkt. No. 37). The declaration contains a number of exhibits (Dkt. Nos. 37, 39). Exhibits M through R reflect Carrington Home Solutions, L.P.’s Property Preservation Guidelines (Dkt. No. 39.) Those exhibits, if disclosed to the public, would place Carrington at a competitive disadvantage because the exhibits contain proprietary information about how the company maximizes revenue and minimizes costs on the properties it manages. Carrington’s Property Preservation guidelines were provided to Mr. Anderson during ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO SEAL C16-1940-JCC PAGE - 1 1 discovery under a protective order (Dkt. No. 23). That order provides that any documents that 2 Carrington labels as “confidential” would not be filed unless done so under seal. (Dkt. No. 23 at 3 4–5.) Carrington labeled the Preservation Guidelines as confidential (Dkt. Nos. 39-1–39-6). 4 Correspondingly, Plaintiffs now ask that this confidential information be placed under seal (Dkt. 5 No. 42). The motion is unopposed by Defendants. (Dkt. No. 45.) 6 II. 7 DISCUSSION “Historically, courts have recognized a ‘general right to inspect and copy public records 8 and documents, including judicial records and documents.’” Kamakana v. City & Cnty. of 9 Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 10 U.S. 589, 597 (1978)). That right is reduced when applied to confidential and proprietary 11 business records. Id. at 1179. This is particularly true for records attached to nondispositive 12 motions. In re Midland Nat. Life Ins. Co. Annuity Sales Practices Litig., 686 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 13 2012). 14 The motion at issue in the instant matter is a class certification motion (Dkt. No. 34). 15 While courts may consider the merits of a party’s underlying claim in ruling on such motions, 16 the primary consideration for the Court is whether the class device is appropriate. Wal-Mart 17 Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 348–49 (2011). This Court considers the class certification 18 motion here to be nondispositive. On this basis, it applies the “good cause” standard articulated 19 in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c). Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1180. Only a “particularized 20 showing” of harm from disclosure is required. Id. 21 The Court has reviewed the records at issue and concluded that a showing of harm has 22 been made in the instant matter. Disclosure of the competitively-sensitive information included 23 in the records would cause irreparable harm to Carrington Home Solutions because it would 24 provide Carrington’s competitors information about how it maximizes revenues and minimizes 25 costs on property it manages. Good cause exists to grant Plaintiffs’ motion. 26 ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO SEAL C16-1940-JCC PAGE - 2 1 2 III. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs’ motion to seal (Dkt. No. 42) is GRANTED. The 3 Clerk is DIRECTED to maintain under seal Exhibits M–R of Mr. Anderson’s declaration (Dkt. 4 Nos. 39-1–39-6). 5 6 DATED this 19th day of September 2017. A 7 8 9 John C. Coughenour UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO SEAL C16-1940-JCC PAGE - 3

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