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Essence Imaging, Inc. v. Icing Images, LLC

United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division

February 20, 2014

ICING IMAGES, LLC, et al., Defendants.


PAUL L. ABRAMS, Magistrate Judge.

The Court has received and considered the parties' proposed Stipulation for Confidentiality Order ("Protective Order"). The Court is unable to adopt the Protective Order as stipulated to by the parties for the followings reasons:

First, a protective order must be narrowly tailored and cannot be overbroad. Therefore, the documents, information, items or materials that are subject to the protective order shall be described in a meaningful fashion (for example, "blueprints, " "customer lists, " or "market surveys, " etc.). It is not sufficient to use only conclusory terms such as "confidential, proprietary, or private information." (See pages 1-2, at ¶ I).

Second, in the event of any dispute regarding the designation, disclosure, or protection of confidential information, the procedure for obtaining a decision from the Court is that set forth in Local Rule 37. (See page 10, at ¶ VIII (c); pages 10-11, at ¶ IX (3c)). If the parties want to file the Joint Stipulation required by Local Rule 37 under seal, the parties may file a stipulation to that effect or the moving party may file an ex parte application making the appropriate request. The parties must set forth good cause in the stipulation or ex parte application as to why the Joint Stipulation or portions thereof should be filed under seal. Further, any challenge must be made within the discovery period as established by the District Judge. (See page 7, at ¶ VI (6.1)).

Third, if confidential material is included in any papers to be filed in Court, such papers shall be accompanied by an application to file the papers - or the confidential portion thereof - under seal; the application must show good cause for the under seal filing. (See page 12, at ¶ XII (12.3)). The application shall be directed to the judge to whom the papers are directed. Pending the ruling on the application, the papers or portions thereof subject to the sealing application shall be lodged under seal.

Fourth, once a case proceeds to trial, all of the information that was designated as confidential and/or kept and maintained pursuant to the terms of a protective order becomes public and will be presumptively available to all members of the public, including the press, unless compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings to proceed otherwise are made to the district judge in advance of the trial. See, e.g., Hagestad v. Tragesser , 49 F.3d 1430, 1434 (9th Cir. 1995); San Jose Mercury News, Inc. v. U.S. District Court - Northern District , 187 F.3d 1096, 1102 (9th Cir. 1999); Kamakana v. City and County of Honolulu , 447 F.3d 1172, 1180-81 (9th Cir. 2006) (distinguishing "good cause" showing for sealing documents produced in discovery from "compelling reasons" standard when merits-related documents are part of the judicial record). The Court will not enter a protective order that extends beyond the commencement of trial.

Finally, the Court may only enter a protective order upon a showing of good cause. Phillips v. G.M. Corp. , 307 F.3d 1206, 1209 (9th Cir. 2002) (Rule 26(c) requires a showing of "good cause" for a protective order); Makar-Wellbon v. Sony Electronics, Inc. , 187 F.R.D. 576, 577 (E.D.Wis. 1999) (even stipulated protective orders require good cause showing). The parties' stipulation fails to include any statements to demonstrate good cause for issuing the protective order. In any revised stipulated protective order submitted to the Court, the parties must include a statement demonstrating good cause for entry of a protective order pertaining to the documents or information described in the order. The paragraph containing the statement of good cause should be preceded by a heading stating: "GOOD CAUSE STATEMENT."

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