UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
February 16, 2012
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, ET AL.,
THOMAS WILKINS, AN INDIVIDUAL
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER GRANTING REQUEST TO SEAL DOCUMENTS (Doc. 305)
Before the Court is Wilkins' Request to Seal Documents related to the current discovery dispute (Doc. 279). (Doc. 305)
A motion to seal documents that are not part of the judicial record, such as "private materials unearthed during discovery," is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c). Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. Cal. 2010). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c), the Court may issue orders to "protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, including . . . requiring that a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be revealed or be revealed only in a specified way."
To make the determination whether documents should be sealed, the Court must evaluate whether "'good cause' exists to protect th[e] information from being disclosed to the public by balancing the needs for discovery against the need for confidentiality.'" Pintos, 605 F.3d at 678 (quoting Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. Gen. Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1213 (9th Cir. 2002))
Once again, the documents at issue related to this motion appear to be internal communications related to the patent application(s) for the intellectual property at issue. They appear to be directed to or are authored by an attorney employed by GE Power Systems. The Court finds that the two documents making up this exhibit appears is confidential information not otherwise available or known to the public. Likewise, the Court finds that the need to maintain the confidentiality of this material outweighs the need for public disclosure. Therefore, as to these materials, the motion is GRANTED.
Therefore, good cause appearing,
1. The Court ORDERS the following to be SEALED:
a. The two documents related to the Motion to Compel and Determination of Privilege Claims, lodged with the Court;
2. Within two days, Counsel for Mr. Wilkins is ORDERED to provide the Court, via e-mail to JLTOrders@caed.uscourts.gov, a copy of the documents to be sealed.*fn1 IT IS SO ORDERED.