Oriko v. Starbucks Corporation et al

Filing 69

ORDER denying 67 Motion to Seal by Judge Franklin D. Burgess.(BWM)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 ORDER - 1 v. STARBUCKS CORPORATION, a Washington corporation; and HEATHER PEABODY, Defendants. Plaintiff's claims against Heather Peabody were dismissed on August 13, 2007. Plaintiff's defamation claim was dismissed on October 31, 2007. On April 29, 2008, Plaintiff sought to remove her attorney of record, which was granted on May 5, 2008 along with granting an extension of time to June 5, 2008 to complete discovery. Defendant Starbucks then moved for summary judgment on June 12, 2008. On June 27, 2008, Plaintiff filed a notice of dismissal [Dkt. # 59]. On July 7, 2008 [Dkt. #s 51 & 52], Plaintiff filed responses to the summary judgment motion setting forth certain personal problems with her two counsel of record and her illness at that time, and also setting forth her contentions regarding her lawsuit. Although, on the record before it, the Court did not find Plaintiff's case compelling, nevertheless it allowed the case to be dismissed {Dkt. # 65]. ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO SEAL THE RECORD SHEEBA B. ORIKO, Plaintiff, Case No. C07-5230FDB UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Plaintiff now moves to seal the record in this case. Plaintiff asserts that she has not been able to obtain employment owing to the negative impact that her lawsuit has had on her efforts to find work. Plaintiff therefore requests that the Court direct the Clerk to seal the record. A protective order sealing documents may be available upon the party showing "good cause," that is, a clear showing of a particular and specific need for the order. Blankenship v. Hearst Corp., 519 F.2d 418, 429 (9th Cir. 1975). Even if "good cause" is shown, a court must still balance the interests in allowing discovery against the relative burdens to the parties (and non-parties). Wood v. McEwen, 644 F.2d 797, 801-02 (9th Cir. 1981). Most courts recognize a presumption of public access to court records based on common law and First Amendment (free press) grounds. See Nixon v. Warner Comm., Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978); Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206 1212 (9th Cir. 2002). Some courts distinguish between dispositive and nondispositive pleadings and motions and hold that "compelling reasons" must be shown to seal judicial records attached to a dispositive motion (e.g. for summary judgment), and such reasons may include using the records "to gratify private spite, promote public scandal, circulate libelous statements, or release trade secrets." Kamakana v. City & County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1179 (9th Cir. 2006). Under the circumstances of this case, Plaintiff has failed to show compelling reasons to seal the record herein. In seeking dismissal of this case, Plaintiff acknowledged that through the discovery process, she believed that the Defendants realized that they wronged her, and she frankly conceded that "I also see some reasons why they ended my employment." [Dkt. # 59] Plaintiff was given a great deal of leeway in this case, and in dismissing the case, the Court admonished Plaintiff that just because she was pro se, the did not have unimpeded leeway to proceed as she saw fit in the case. The Court has dismissed a defendant and a claim in this case and allowed Plaintiff a dismissal at a late stage after Starbuck's summary judgment motion had been fully briefed. Now almost a year later Plaintiff has reservations about having brought the case and seeks to have the record ORDER - 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 sealed as though it never happened so that she does not have to deal with any consequences that she attributes to her having filed this case in the first place. Plaintiff has failed to show good cause to seal the record in this case and to overcome the presumption of public access to court records. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS ORDERED: Plaintiff's Motion To Seal The Record [Dkt. # 67] is DENIED. DATED this 16th day of June, 2009. A FRANKLIN D. BURGESS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE ORDER - 3

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