United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DENYING REQUEST TO SEAL DOCUMENTS, (DOC. NO.
16, 2016, defendants Ensign United States Drilling
(California) Inc. and Ensign United States Drilling Inc.
filed a motion for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 35.) A hearing
on that motion is currently scheduled for July 6, 2017.
(See Doc. No. 72.) On May 22, 2017, plaintiff
O'Brian Rangel submitted a request to seal documents
related to his opposition to defendants' motion for
summary judgment. Specifically, plaintiff requests that this
court grant him leave to file the following documents under
• Plaintiff s Memorandum of Law in Opposition to
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment;
• Declaration of Christopher J. Kupka, and all exhibits
• Updated Joint Statement of Undisputed Material Facts
in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment, or Alternatively,
Partial Summary Judgment; and
• Plaintiff s Statement of Disputed Material Facts in
Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment, or Alternatively,
Partial Summary Judgment.
(See Doc. No. 70.)
reasons set forth below, plaintiffs request for leave to file
these documents under seal is denied without prejudice.
is strong presumption in favor of public access to court
records. See Phillips v. Gen Motors Corp., 307 F.3d
1206, 1210 (9th Cir. 2002). However, “access to
judicial records is not absolute.” Kamakana v. City
& County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir.
Ninth Circuit has distinguished between the public's
interest in accessing court records filed in connection with
dispositive motions and non-dispositive motions. See In
re Midland Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 686 F.3d 1115, 1119
(9th Cir. 2012); Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1172;
Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d
1122, 1135-36 (9th Cir. 2003); Phillips, 307 F.3d at
1213. In general, two standards govern requests to seal
[J]udicial records attached to dispositive motions [are
treated] differently from records attached to non-dispositive
motions. Those who seek to maintain the secrecy of documents
attached to dispositive motions must meet the high threshold
of showing that “compelling reasons” support
secrecy. A “good cause” showing under Rule 26(c)
will suffice to keep sealed records attached to
Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1180 (citations omitted).
demonstrate compelling reasons, as is required in connection
with defendants' motion for summary judgment here, a
party is “required to present articulable facts
identifying the interests favoring continued secrecy, and to
show that these specific interests [overcome] the presumption
of access by outweighing the public interest in understanding
the judicial process.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at
1181 (internal citations, quotation marks, and emphasis
omitted). The party seeking to seal a particular record bears
the burden of meeting this standard. Id. at 1178;
Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1135. “When sealing
documents attached to a dispositive pleading, a district
court must base its decision on a compelling reason and
articulate the factual basis for its ruling, without relying
on hypothesis or conjecture.” Kamakana, 447
F.3d at 1182 (internal citation, quotation marks, and
emphasis omitted); see also Pintos v. Pac. Creditors
Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 679 (9th Cir. 2010), cert.
denied sub nom. Experian Info. Solutions, Inc. v.
Pintos, 562 U.S. 1134 (2011) (vacating and remanding
district court's denial of a sealing request where the
court applied merely the good cause standard in addressing
documents filed in connection with summary judgment motions).
general, ‘compelling reasons' sufficient to
outweigh the public's interest in disclosure and justify
sealing court records exist when such ‘court files
might become a vehicle for improper purposes, ' such as
the use of records to gratify private spite, promote public
scandal, circulate libelous statements, or release trade
secrets.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179 (quoting
Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns., Inc., 435 U.S. 589,
589 (1978)). “The ‘compelling reasons'