IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
May 30, 2012
BRIAN T. MICHALUK, D.O., PLAINTIFF,
VOHRA HEALTH SERVICES, P.A., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
Defendant has filed a motion to seal its motion to dismiss and substitute a redacted version because an exhibit contains identifying information.
Despite a presumption that documents filed on the court's docket are available for public scrutiny, "access to judicial records is not absolute." Kamakana v. City & Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006). "[I]f the court decides to seal certain judicial records [after conscientiously balancing the competing interests of the public and the party who seeks to keep certain judicial records secret], it must 'base its decision on a compelling reason and articulate the factual basis for its ruling, without relying on hypothesis or conjecture.'" Id. at 1179 (quoting Hagestad v. Tragesser, 49 F.3d 1430, 1434 (9th Cir. 1995)). "In general, 'compelling reasons' sufficient to outweigh the public's interest in disclosure and justify sealing court records exist when such 'court files might become a vehicle for improper purposes. . . .'" Id. (quoting Nixon v. Warner Communs., Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 589 (1978)).
In this case, the first and last pages of an exhibit attached to the motion to dismiss contain plaintiff's identifying information, which could certainly be used for an improper purpose. That exhibit will be sealed, with a redacted version of the exhibit filed in its stead.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
1. Defendant's request to seal (ECF No. 10) is granted as set forth herein;
2. The Clerk of the Court is directed to seal the exhibit identified as ECF No. 8-1;
3. Within three days of the date of this order, defendant shall file a version of the exhibit with identifying information on the first and last pages redacted; and
4. Upon receipt of the redacted version of the exhibit, the Clerk of the Court shall file it as ECF No. 8-2.
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