United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION
TO FILE UNDER SEAL PORTIONS OF FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT AND
EXHIBITS A AND B THERETO [Re: ECF 35]
LABSON FREEMAN United States District Judge
the Court is Plaintiff TIBCO Software Inc.'s
(“TIBCO”) motion for administrative relief to
file under seal portions of its First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”) and Exhibits A and B
thereto. Mot., ECF 35. For the reasons discussed
below, the motion is GRANTED.
courts have recognized a ‘general right to inspect and
copy public records and documents, including judicial records
and documents.'” Kamakana v. City & Cty. 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 motions that are “more
than tangentially related to the underlying cause of
action” bear the burden of overcoming the presumption
with “compelling reasons” that outweigh the
general history of access and the public policies favoring
disclosure. Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrysler Grp.,
809 F.3d 1092, 1099 (9th Cir. 2016); Kamakana, 447
F.3d at 1178-79.
“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 Elecs. Co., Ltd., 727 F.3d 1214, 1228-29
(Fed. Cir. 2013). Records attached to motions that are
“not related, or only tangentially related, to the
merits of a case” therefore are not subject to the
strong presumption of access. Ctr. for Auto Safety,
809 F.3d at 1099; see also Kamakana, 447 F.3d at
1179 (“[T]he public has less of a need for access to
court records attached only to non-dispositive motions
because those documents are often unrelated, or only
tangentially related, to the underlying cause of
action.”). Parties moving to seal the documents
attached to such motions must meet the lower “good
cause” standard of Rule 26(c). Kamakana, 447
F.3d at 1179 (internal quotations and citations omitted).
This standard 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.”). 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). In part, Civ. L.R. 79-5(d) requires 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, ” Civ. L.R. 79-5(d)(1)(b),
and an “unredacted 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.” Civ. L.R. 79-5(d)(1)(d).
“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).
the sealing motion at issue relates to TIBCO's FAC, which
is more than tangentially related to the merits of the case,
it is resolved under the compelling reasons standard.
seeks to seal the Software License Agreement
(“SLA”) between the parties and its amendments,
as well as portions of the FAC that reference concrete
provisions of those documents. Mot. 2. In an earlier filed
declaration, TIBCO declared that the terms and financial data
included in the SLA are highly confidential, and that TIBCO
is contractually obligated to keep the terms confidential.
Knox Decl. ¶ 4, ECF 3-1. TIBCO also stated that
disclosure of the terms and financial data in the SLA could
subject it to legal liability; could be used by suppliers,
customers, and business partners to TIBCO's disadvantage
during business negotiations; and/or could result in the loss
of trade secret or other legal protection of the information.
Id. ¶¶ 4, 7-8. TIBCO makes significant
efforts to safeguard the information. Id. ¶ 5.
Court finds these reasons compelling and the request narrowly
tailored. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS TIBCO's motion as
to the identified portions of its complaint, and seals
Exhibits A and B to the complaint in their entirety.
IS SO ORDERED.
 The Court notes that Tibco states in
the body of the motion that it also seeks to seal
“another document related to the SLA, attached as
Exhibit C.” Mot. 2. However, there is no Exhibit C
attached to the FAC or the administrative motion. ...