United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
January 6, 2015
GERALD W. BOTTERO, Plaintiff,
HOYA CORPORATION, VISION CARE DIVISION, et al., Defendants.
ORDER DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO FILE DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL [ECF 78]
BETH LABSON FREEMAN, District Judge.
Before the Court is Plaintiff's administrative motion to file under seal a number of documents related to his motion for summary judgment. ECF 78. Plaintiff asks the Court to seal portions of (1) his motion, (2) the separate statement of material facts in support of the motion, (3) an excerpt of Plaintiff's November 12, 2014 deposition, and (4) the declaration of Gerald Bottero in support of the motion. Plaintiff also seeks to seal the entirety of exhibits 1-10 to the Bottero Declaration. Id.
Plaintiff submits a single declaration in support of the requested sealing. See Jaffe Decl., ECF 78-1. Because this declaration does not offer compelling reasons to seal the documents as requested, the Court DENIES the administrative motion without prejudice, and grants Plaintiff leave to amend to refile his request consistent with the requirements of this district's local rules and the governing law of the Ninth Circuit.
Courts recognize a "general right to inspect and copy public records and documents, including judicial records and documents." Kamakana v. City & Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006). Two standards govern motions to seal documents, a "compelling reasons" standard, which applies to most judicial records, and a "good cause" standard, which applies to "private materials unearthed during discovery." Cf. Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. Gen. Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1213 (9th Cir. 2002). Therefore, to seal portions of a motion for summary judgment and documents filed concurrently with a motion for summary judgment, a party must show compelling reasons that outweigh the public's general right to inspect such documents. Cf. Phillips, 307 F.3d 1206, 1213.
In this case, the Jaffe Declaration fails to meet Phillips' compelling interest standard. The declaration states only that the information in question is "private, confidential and proprietary financial information of Hoya Corporation which... Plaintiff is prohibited from publicly disclosing." Jaffe Decl. ¶ 2. The mere fact that information has been designated as confidential between the parties does not establish for the Court why such information should be sealed. Further, Plaintiff does not describe with particularity why each document he seeks to seal meets the compelling interest standard, which is required in this circuit. See Kamakana, 447 F.3d 1172, 1180 (finding that a party must make a "particularized showing" for the compelling interest standard for each document it seeks to seal).
Further, Plaintiff must show why the redactions sought are narrowly tailored such that only material that must be sealed is redacted from the public. See Civil L.R. 79-5(d)(1)(B) (stating that any proposed order to seal a document, or portions thereof, must be "narrowly tailored to seal only the sealable material, and which lists in table format each document or portion thereof that is sought to be sealed"); see also, e.g., Apple, Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Ltd., 2012 WL 4120541, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 18, 2012) (denying sealing requests because the requests were not narrowly tailored). Plaintiff seeks to seal extensive portions of the motion for summary judgment, most of the separate statement of material facts and Bottero deposition transcript, nearly the entirety of the Bottero Declaration, and the entirety of the ten exhibits filed concurrently with the Bottero Declaration. See generally ECF 79 (redacted versions of each document). The Jaffe Declaration fails to state why such lengthy redactions are narrowly tailored to only seal as much information as is absolutely necessary. All documents which Plaintiff seeks to seal should be redacted as narrowly as possible in order to comply with Rule 79-5 so as to ensure the public maintains its ability to access judicial records in this case as much is practicable.
The Court hereby DENIES Plaintiff's administrative motion to seal, without prejudice. Plaintiff may refile his motion to seal no later than January 13, 2015. Plaintiff's request must meet the compelling interest standard articulated by this circuit in Phillips and comply with Civil Local Rule 79-5. Thus, Plaintiff's request must include a declaration which makes a particularized showing as to why each document should be sealed, and he must narrowly tailor each sealing request.
IT IS SO ORDERED.