UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
August 19, 2011
HECTOR ROGELIO CASAS-MONTEJANO,
ERIC HOLDER JR., ATTORNEY GENERAL, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL.,
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' REQUEST TO SEAL OPPOSITION TO TRO AND ACCOMPANYING EXHIBITS MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT(Doc. 23) AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE RESPONSIVE PLEADINGS (Doc. 24)
On August 17, 2011, Defendants Eric Holder, et al. ("Defendants") filed a notice of request to file documents under seal and a stipulation requesting an extension of time to file a response. (Docs. 23, 24.) Defendants seek to seal their motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint and their opposition to Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order. (Doc. 23.) Defendants also submitted a stipulated request for an extension of time to allow them to file their opposition and motion after the Court's ruling on the request to file under seal. (Doc. 24.) Defendants' response to Plaintiff's pleadings was due by August 17, 2011 (see Doc. 22); Defendants request an additional five (5) days, until August 22, 2011, to file their pleadings.
For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' requests are GRANTED.
A. Request to Seal Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, Opposition to Temporary Restraining Order, and Attached Documents Absent compelling justification, filings in cases are a matter of public record. U.S. v. Stoterau, 524 F.3d 988, 1012 (9th Cir. 2008). There is a "'strong presumption in favor of access' . . . A party seeking to seal a judicial record then bears the burden of overcoming this strong presumption by meeting the 'compelling reasons' standard. That is, the party must 'articulate compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings.'" Kamakana v. City & Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (citations omitted). Local Rule 141(a) provides that "[d]ocuments may be sealed only by written order of the Court, upon the showing required by applicable law."
Here, the Court has previously granted Plaintiff's request to file the complaint and supporting documents under seal, finding that there was sensitive information contained within those documents that may jeopardize the safety of certain individuals. (Doc. 20, 2:7-12.) Although the Court indicated that it could not grant a blanket order to file all future documents under seal, the Court recognizes that Defendants' motion to dismiss and opposition to Plaintiff's temporary restraining order are likely to contain equally sensitive information which could potentially cause a safety risk.*fn1
Accordingly, the Court finds that there is compelling justification to seal Defendants' pleadings and GRANTS Defendants' request to file under seal the motion to dismiss, the opposition to the temporary restraining order, and the attached documents.
B. Request for Extension of Time to File Pleadings
Defendants also filed a joint stipulation requesting that the time for filing Defendants' responsive pleadings be extended from August 17, 2011, to August 22, 2011, so as to allow time for the Court to rule on the request to seal documents and for Defendants to file those documents. Based upon the agreement of the parties and the Court's granting of Defendants' request to file documents under seal, Defendants' request for an extension of time to file the pleadings is GRANTED.
III. CONCLUSION AND ORDER
Accordingly, it is ordered that:
1. Defendants' request to file under seal their motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint and their opposition to Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order is GRANTED. The Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to seal these pleadings and any attached documents and exhibits; and
2. Defendants' request for an extension of time to file these responsive pleadings is GRANTED. Defendants shall file under seal their motion to dismiss, opposition to the temporary restraining order, and any related documents by August 22, 2011.
IT IS SO ORDERED.