United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
April 24, 2014
NANCY LANOVAZ, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
TWININGS NORTH AMERICA, INC., Defendant.
ORDER RE: SEALING MOTIONS [Re Docket Nos. 100, 115, 119]
RONALD M. WHYTE, District Judge.
Before the court are three administrative motions to seal documents. The entirety of the Administrative Motion to File Under Seal Supplemental Exhibits Related to Class Certification, Dkt. No. 119, is denied as moot as the court denied the motion to supplement. See Dkt. No. 132 at n.2. The court addresses the remaining two motions, Dkt. Nos. 100 and 115, below.
A. Legal Standard
"Historically, courts have recognized a general right to inspect and copy public records and documents, including judicial records and documents.'" Kamakana v. City & County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 & n. 7 (1978)). Accordingly, when considering a sealing request, "a strong presumption in favor of access' is the starting point." Id. (quoting Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003)). Parties seeking to seal judicial records relating to dispositive motions bear the burden of overcoming the presumption with "compelling reasons" that outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring disclosure. Id. at 1178-79.
However, "while protecting the public's interest in access to the courts, we must remain mindful of the parties' right to access those same courts upon terms which will not unduly harm their competitive interest." Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., 727 F.3d 1214, 1228-29 (Fed. Cir. 2013). Records attached to nondispositive motions therefore are not subject to the strong presumption of access. See id. at 1180. Because the documents attached to nondispositive motions "are often unrelated, or only tangentially related, to the underlying cause of action, " parties moving to seal must meet the lower "good cause" standard of Rule 26(c). Id. at 1179 (internal quotations and citations omitted). As with dispositive motions, the standard applicable to nondispositive motions requires a "particularized showing, " id., that "specific prejudice or harm will result" if the information is disclosed. Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. Gen. Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1210-11 (9th Cir. 2002); see Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c). "Broad allegations of harm, unsubstantiated by specific examples of articulated reasoning" will not suffice. Beckman Indus., Inc. v. Int'l Ins. Co., 966 F.2d 470, 476 (9th Cir. 1992). A protective order sealing the documents during discovery may reflect the court's previous determination that good cause exists to keep the documents sealed, see Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179-80, but a blanket protective order that allows the parties to designate confidential documents does not provide sufficient judicial scrutiny to determine whether each particular document should remain sealed. See Civ. L.R. 79-5(d)(1)(A) ("Reference to a stipulation or protective order that allows a party to designate certain documents as confidential is not sufficient to establish that a document, or portions thereof, are sealable.").
Pursuant to Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a trial court has broad discretion to permit sealing of court documents for, inter alia, the protection of "a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1)(G). The Ninth Circuit has adopted the definition of "trade secrets" set forth in the Restatement of Torts, holding that "[a] trade secret may consist of any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in one's business, and which gives him an opportunity to obtain an advantage over competitors who do not know or use it." Clark v. Bunker, 453 F.2d 1006, 1009 (9th Cir. 1972) (quoting Restatement of Torts § 757, cmt. b). "Generally it relates to the production of goods.... It may, however, relate to the sale of goods or to other operations in the business...." Id. In addition, the Supreme Court has recognized that sealing may be justified to prevent judicial documents from being used "as sources of business information that might harm a litigant's competitive standing." Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598. In this case, the Federal Circuit has counseled that "Apple and Samsung have an interest in keeping their detailed product-specific financial information secret... because they could suffer competitive harm if this information is made public." Apple, 727 F.3d at 1225.
In addition to making particularized showings of good cause, parties moving to seal documents must comply with the procedures established by Civ. L. R. 79-5. Pursuant to Civ. L. R. 79-5(b), a sealing order is appropriate only upon a request that establishes the document is "sealable, " or "privileged or protectable as a trade secret or otherwise entitled to protection under the law." "The request must be narrowly tailored to seek sealing only of sealable material, and must conform with Civil L.R. 79-5(d)." Civ. L.R. 79-5(b) (requiring the submitting party to attach a "proposed order that is narrowly tailored to seal only the sealable material" which "lists in table format each document or portion thereof that is sought to be sealed, " and an "unreadacted version of the document" that indicates "by highlighting or other clear method, the portions of the document that have been omitted from the redacted version."). "Within 4 days of the filing of the Administrative Motion to File Under Seal, the Designating Party must file a declaration as required by subsection 79-5(d)(1)(A) establishing that all of the designated material is sealable." Civ. L.R. 79-5(e)(1).
With these standards in mind, the courts rules on the instant motions as follows.
B. Sealing Order
Motion Document to be Sealed Ruling Reason/Explanation to Seal 100 Declaration of Dan Martin GRANTED Narrowly tailored to at 2:4-12 and 3:10 confidential business information. 100 Exhibit A to the GRANTED in part and DENIED GRANTED as to the Declaration Dan Martin in part. "list price" columns; (2009 Wholesale Price DENIED as the rest of List) the document. 100 Exhibit B to the GRANTED in part and DENIED GRANTED as to the Declaration Dan Martin in part. "list price" columns; (2011 Wholesale Price DENIED as the rest of List) the document. 100 Exhibit D to the GRANTED in part and DENIED GRANTED as to the Declaration Dan Martin in part. "list price" columns; (Specialty Wholesale Price DENIED as the rest of List) the document. 100 Exhibit A to Declaration of GRANTED Narrowly tailored to Carol Scott, portions of ¶¶ confidential business 6, 7, 10, 12, 20-30, 32, 34, information. and Exhibit 4 to the Expert Report (Compilation of wholesale pricing). 115 Exhibit A to the Reply in GRANTED Narrowly tailored to Support of Class confidential business Certification (internal information. Twinings marketing research) 115 Exhibit B to the Reply in GRANTED Narrowly tailored to Support of Class confidential business Certification (internal information. Twinings marketing research) 115 Exhibit C to the Reply in GRANTED Narrowly tailored to Support of Class confidential business Certification (internal information. Twinings marketing research) 115 Exhibit D to the Reply in GRANTED Narrowly tailored to Support of Class confidential business Certification (internal information. Twinings marketing research) 115 Exhibit E to the Reply in GRANTED Narrowly tailored to Support of Class confidential business Certification (internal information. Twinings marketing research)
115 Declaration of Dr. Oral GRANTED Narrowly tailored to Capps in Support of Reply confidential business in Support of Class information. Certification at 4:9-11; 8:2-21; 9:8-10, 26-27. 115 Plaintiff's Reply at 1:13-20; GRANTED Narrowly tailored to 2:25-28; 3:1-23 confidential business information.
IT IS SO ORDERED.