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Vietnam Veterans of America; Swords To Plowshares: Veterans v. Central Intelligence Agency; David

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


July 3, 2012

VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA; SWORDS TO PLOWSHARES: VETERANS RIGHTS ORGANIZATION; BRUCE PRICE; FRANKLIN D. ROCHELLE; LARRY MEIROW; ERIC P. MUTH; DAVID C. DUFRANE; TIM MICHAEL JOSEPHS; AND WILLIAM BLAZINSKI, INDIVIDUALLY, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY; DAVID H. PETRAEUS, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY; UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; LEON E. PANETTA, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE; UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY; JOHN M. MCHUGH, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF THE ARMY; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; ERIC H. HOLDER, JR., ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES; UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS; AND ERIC K. SHINSEKI, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, DEFENDANTS

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Claudia Wilken United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING IN PART, AND DENYING IN PART, DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO SEAL (Docket No. 451)

Defendants have submitted an administrative motion seeking to 22 file under seal their unredacted opposition to Plaintiffs' motion 23 to substitute and Exhibits A and B attached to the Declaration of 24 Judson O. Littleton, submitted in support of their opposition. 25

Having reviewed the papers submitted by Defendants and the 26 exhibits that they seek to file under seal, the Court grants 27 Defendants' motion in part and denies it in part. 28

Because the public interest favors filing all court documents 2 in the public record, any party seeking to file a document under 3 seal must demonstrate good cause to do so. Pintos v. Pac. 4 Creditors Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. 2010). This cannot 5 be established simply by showing that the document is subject to a 6 protective order or by stating in general terms that the material 7 is considered to be confidential, but rather must be supported by 8 a sworn declaration demonstrating with particularity the need to 9 file each document under seal. See Civil Local Rule 79-5(a). If 10 a document has been designated as confidential by another party, 11 that party must file a declaration establishing that the document 12 is sealable. Civil Local Rule 79-5(d). 13

Defendants represent that they are seeking to seal Exhibits A 14 and B because these exhibits contain records with identifying and 15 sensitive personal information about Plaintiff Wray Forrest and 16 specifically are his health records. Littleton Decl. ¶ 2. Having 17 reviewed the records, the Court finds that Defendants have 18 provided good cause to seal Exhibits A and B. 19

Defendants, however, have not provided good cause to support 20 the sealing of any portion of their opposition. Defendants 21 represent that they seek to seal their unredacted opposition 22 because in it "Defendants discuss confidential information 23 contained in Exhibit A." Littleton Decl. ¶ 5. In the unredacted 24 copy of their opposition provided to the Court, Defendants 25 indicate that they seek to seal a single sentence in their 26 opposition. Defs.' Opp to Pls.' Mot. to Substitute 6:24-27.*fn1

While Defendants do not explain clearly what portion of this 2 sentence they believe is confidential, it appears that they 3 believe that their recitation of Mr. Forrest's alleged marital 4 history is sealable. However, marriage and divorce records are 5 generally a matter of public record, and Defendants do not provide 6 any basis to find otherwise here. To the extent that Defendants 7 may believe that the latter part of their statement is sealable, 8 the Court notes that Plaintiffs have already publicly disclosed 9 the fact and timing of Mr. Forrest's participating in the human 10 testing program. See, e.g., Third Amended Compl. ¶¶ 81-87.

For the reasons set forth above, Defendants' motion to file under seal is DENIED to the extent that it pertains to their 13 unredacted opposition. Defendants' motion is GRANTED to the 14 extent that it pertains to Exhibits A and B to the Littleton 15

Declaration. In accordance with General Order 62, within four 16 days of the date of this Order, Defendants shall electronically 17 file Exhibits A and B under seal and shall file in the public 18 record their unredacted opposition. 19

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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