United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER REGARDING MOTION TO SEAL RE: DKT. NO.
M. Whyte United States District Judge
the court is an administrative motion to file under seal
certain documents submitted in relation to an Americans With
Disabilities Act request allegedly prepared by Roda Hiramanek
on or about June 4, 2013. Dkt No. 577. Because the
court’s Electronic Case Filing system does not allow
pro se litigants to file documents electronically under seal,
plaintiffs emailed the documents that plaintiffs seek to file
under seal to the undersigned judge’s courtroom deputy.
(See table below).
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.
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.”).
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). “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).
primary concern over the documents in question seems to be
that they may reveal Ms. Hiramanek’s medical
conditions. Courts have recognized confidentiality in
patients’ medical files. See, e.g.,
Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1186. On the other hand, a
party’s voluntary disclosure of otherwise confidential
information can constitute grounds for denying a motion to
seal. With these standards in mind, the courts rules on the
instant motion as follows.
Motion to Seal
Document to be Sealed
Plaintiff Roda Hiramanek’s June 4, 2013
Accommodations By Persons With Disabilities and
attachment Exhibit A (Emailed to courtroom deputy)
References medical conditions. The court is not
convinced at this time that the public’s right
of access to the underlying documents outweighs
plaintiff’s interest in maintaining her
documents listed above for which a motion to seal has been
granted, the court will accept the documents as filed and
instruct the clerk to place these documents on the
court’s docket (if they do not already have a docket
number) and restrict electronic access only to participants
in this case.
court notes that the U.S. District Court is a public forum,
and, to the extent that this order allows documents to be
filed under seal, this order does not decide whether the
documents that are the subject of the ...