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General Electric Company, et al v. Thomas Wilkins

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


July 13, 2012

GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY, ET AL.,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THOMAS WILKINS,
DEFENDANT.

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

ORDER GRANTING GE'S REQUEST TO FILE ATTORNEY BILLING INFORMATION DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL (Doc. 459)

Before the Court is the request to seal invoices submitted at the request of the Court for consideration in connection with GE's motion for sanctions. (Doc. 331, 369) GE contends the document should be sealed because it sets forth the confidential billing rates for the attorneys involved in the motion for sanctions. (Doc. 459-1 at 2) GE contends that if this information was revealed it would impact its competition advantage. Id.

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).

ORDER Based upon the foregoing, the Court ORDERS:

1. The requested portion of the document will be SEALED.

5. Within two court days, counsel SHALL file a public version of the billing records that is redacted consistent with this order.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20120713

© 1992-2012 VersusLaw Inc.



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