United States District Court, N.D. California
MOHAMMED RAHMAN, individually, and on behalf of other members of the general public similarly situated, Plaintiff,
MOTT'S L.L.P., and DOES 1 through 10, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO SEAL
SUSAN ILLSTON, District Judge.
On August 1, 2014, plaintiff filed a motion for class certification and a motion for the appointment of class counsel. Docket No. 66. Along with his motion, plaintiff also filed a motion to seal portions of the motion for class certification and portions of Exhibit A and all of Exhibit D to the declaration of Robert K. Friedl filed in support of the motion. Docket No. 65.
With the exception of a narrow range of documents that are "traditionally kept secret, " courts begin their sealing analysis with "a strong presumption in favor of access." Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003). When applying to file documents under seal in connection with a dispositive motion, the submitting party bears the burden of "articulating compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings that outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring disclosure, such as the public interest in understanding the judicial process." Kamakana v. City and County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178-79 (9th Cir. 2006) (internal quotations and citations omitted). However, when a party seeks to seal documents attached to a non-dispositive motion, a showing of "good cause" under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) is sufficient. Id. at 1179-80; see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c). In addition, all requests to file under seal must be "narrowly tailored, " such that only sealable information is sought to be redacted from public access. N.D. Cal. Civil Local Rule 79-5(b).
"The Ninth Circuit has not ruled as to whether a motion for class certification is a dispositive motion for the purposes of determining whether the compelling reasons' standard applies." Labrador v. Seattle Mortgage Co., No. 08-2270 SC, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95763, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 1, 2010). "Although courts in the Northern District have generally considered motions for class certification nondispositive, ' some have recognized that there may be circumstances in which a motion for class certification is case dispositive.'" Ramirez v. Trans Union, LLC, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67206, at *5 (N.D. Cal. May 15, 2014) (citations omitted). For example, "a motion for class certification might be dispositive if a denial of class status means that the stakes are too low for the named plaintiffs to continue the matter.'" In re High-Tech Emp. Antitrust Litig., 11-CV-02509-LHK, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6606, at *8 n.1 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 15, 2013) (quoting Prado v. Bush, 221 F.3d 1266, 1274 (11th Cir. 2000)).
In the motion and the supporting declaration, plaintiff states that he is moving to seal the portions of the motion for class certification and Exhibits A and D to the Friedl declaration because these documents contain information that has been designated as confidential by defendant pursuant to the protective order in this case. Docket No. 65 at 1; Docket No. 65-1, Friedl Decl. ¶¶ 2-5. Under Civil Local Rule 79-5(e), where "the Submitting Party is seeking to file under seal a document designated as confidential by the opposing party or a non-party pursuant to a protective order... [, ] [w]ithin 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." To date, the designating party has not filed the required declaration. Accordingly, the ...