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E. & J. Gallo Winery, A California Corporation v. Proximo Spirits

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA FRESNO DIVISION


July 9, 2012

E. & J. GALLO WINERY, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PROXIMO SPIRITS, INC., A DELAWARE CORPORATION; AGAVERA CAMICHINES, S.A. DE C.V., A MEXICO CORPORATION; AND DOES 1-25,
DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING GALLO'S REQUEST TO FILE SUPPLEMANTAL DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL (DOC. 358) AND RELATED COUNTERCLAIMS

ORDER SEALING DOCUMENTS

Before the Court is the request to seal invoices for services rendered in April and May 2012 and not previously submitted to the Court for consideration in connection with Gallo's motion for attorneys' fees. (Doc. 358) Gallo contends the documents should be sealed for several reasons, including the need to protect attorney-client communications, attorney-work product, financial information that would impact counsel's competitive advantage and confidential business information related to Gallo.

Generally, documents filed in civil cases are presumed to be available to the public. EEOC v. Erection Co., 900 F.2d 168, 170 (9th Cir. 1990); see also Kamakana v. City and County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir.2006); Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1134 (9th Cir.2003). Documents may be sealed only when the compelling reasons for doing so outweigh the public's right of access. EEOC at 170. In evaluating the request, the Court considers the "public interest in understanding the judicial process and whether disclosure of the material could result in improper use of the material for scandalous or libelous purposes or infringement upon trade secrets." Valley Broadcasting Co. v. United States District Court, 798 F.2d 1289, 1294 (9th Cir. 1986). In addition, in trademark/dress matters, attorney billing rates which are not publicly known and are "competitively sensitive," warrant sealing. China Intl Travel Servs. (USA) v. China & Asia Travel Serv., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106622 at *29 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 18, 2008); Mine O'Mine, Inc. v. Calmese, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53077 at *10 (D. Nev. Apr. 16, 2012).

The Court has reviewed the supplemental invoices submitted by the McCormick Barstow and Harvey Siskind firms. Once again, nearly every from the McCormick Barstow bills excludes reference to attorney-client communications, attorney-work product information or information that bears on Gallo's trade secrets. The noted exceptions are ordered SEALED.

Again, the Harvey Siskind billing records are replete with entries that reveal information about the attorneys' activities and why the work was done. Also, there are entries that reveal, to some extent, Gallo's business strategies. Therefore, as to these records, they will be ordered SEALED.

ORDER Based upon the foregoing, the Court ORDERS:

1. The request to seal the specified portions of the supplemental billing records from McCormick Barstow is GRANTED;

2. The request to seal the supplemental billing records from Harvey Siskind is GRANTED;

3. The Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to file these documents, or portions thereof, under seal.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20120709

© 1992-2012 VersusLaw Inc.



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