Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

McBain v. Behr Paint Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 11, 2017

RYAN MCBAIN, Plaintiff,
v.
BEHR PAINT CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER RE: ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO FILE UNDER SEAL Re: Dkt. No. 48

          MARIA-ELENA JAMES United States Magistrate Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         On June 29, 2017, Plaintiff Ryan McBain filed an administrative motion to file under seal portions of his Motion for Court-Authorized Notice ("Notice Motion") and documents attached thereto. Mot., Dkt. No. 48; see Notice Mot., Dkt. No. 48-3. Plaintiff seeks to seal these documents on the basis that Defendants Behr Paint Corporation and Behr Processing Corporation (together, "Defendants") "may choose to designate [the information] as 'Confidential'" pursuant to the parties' Stipulated Protective Order. Mot. at 1; see Protective Order, Dkt. No. 43. Having considered the parties' arguments, the relevant legal authority, and the record in this case, the Court issues the following order.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         There is a "strong presumption in favor of access" by the public to judicial records and documents accompanying dispositive motions. Kamakana v. City & Cty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178-79 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003)). To seal judicial records relating to motions that are "more than tangentially related to the merits of a case, " Center for Auto Safety v. Chrysler Grp., LLC, 809 F.3d 1092, 1098 (9th Cir.), cert. denied sub nom. FCA U.S. LLC v. Ctr. for Auto Safety, 137 S.Ct. 38 (2016), a party must "articulate compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings, " Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1178 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Indeed, such showing is required even where "the [] motion, or its attachments, were previously filed under seal or protective order." Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179.

         The strong presumption of public access to judicial documents applies to such motions because the resolution of a dispute on the merits is at the heart of the interest in ensuring that the public understands the judicial process. Id. The presumption does not apply in the same way to motions that are "not related, or only tangentially related, to the merits of a case." Center for Auto Safety, 809 F.3d at 1099. With such motions, "the usual presumption of the public's right of access is rebutted." Id. at 1179 (citing Phillips v. General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1213 (9th Cir. 2002). A party seeking to seal documents attached to such motions nevertheless must meet the lower "good cause" standard under Rule 26(c). Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. 2010). This requires the party to make a "particularized showing" that "specific prejudice or harm" will result if the information is disclosed. Phillips, 307 F.3d at 1211. "Broad allegations of harm, unsubstantiated by specific examples or articulated reasoning, do not satisfy the Rule 26(c) test." In re Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland in Or., 661 F.3d 417, 424 (9th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted; edits omitted).

         DISCUSSION

         The Court applies the good cause standard to the Notice Motion, as it is only "tangentially related to the underlying cause of action." Center for Auto Safety, 809 F.3d at 1099. Determining whether or not to provide notice to a putative collective under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, is not "directly related to the merits of the case[.]" Center for Auto Safety, 809 F.3d at 1099.

         Plaintiff requests to file under seal Exhibits 1-7 to the Declaration of Ryan McBain ("McBain Declaration"). See Mot.; McBain Decl., Dkt. No. 48-5. In compliance with Civil Local Rule 79-5(e), Defendants submit the Declaration of Damien DeLaney ("DeLaney Declaration"). See DeLaney Decl., Dkt. No. 55-1. Plaintiff and Defendants describe these Exhibits as follows:

Exhibit

Plaintiff s Description

Defendants' Description

1

“An email to McBain (addressed to all Bay Area Sales Representatives), dated April 9, 2017, from Regional Manager Jim Belloli[.]” Mot. at 1.

"[A]n internal company communication that contains sensitive information regarding sales and marketing matters." DeLaney Decl. ¶ 5.

2

“An email to McBain (addressed to 'BEHRP Sales - All HD In-Store Reps & Trainers‘) from Vikki Hobson and its attachment[.]" Mot. at 1.

"[A]n internal company communication that . . . contains sensitive information regarding sales and marketing matters." DeLaney Decl. ¶ 6.

3

"McBain's job description at Behr[.]" Mot. at 1.

"[A]n internal job description document that contains sensitive competitive information regarding the job requirements of Plaintiff‘s position." DeLaney Decl. ¶ 7.

4

“Excerpts from McBain‘s 'Sales/Operations Standard Operating Procedures Manual[.]‘” Mot. at 1.

"[P]urports to be excerpts from a Standard Operating Procedures manual, which contains sensitive competitive information regarding sales and marketing strategy." DeLaney Decl. ¶ 8.

5

“Excerpts from McBain‘s training manual titled 'Sales Training Manual[.]‘" Mot. at 1.

"[P]urports to be excerpts from a Sales Training Manual, which contains sensitive competitive information regarding sales and marketing strategy." DeLaney Decl. ¶ 9.

6

"An email to McBain (addressed to 'BEHRP Sales - All HD In-Store Reps & Trainers‘) dated December 9, 2017 from Senior Vice President Kevin Jaffe and excerpts from its slideshow attachment titled 'Sales Organization Steering Committee Playbook[.]‘" Mot. at 1.

"[A]n internal company communication containing sensitive information regarding sales and marketing strategy." DeLaney Decl. ¶ 10.

7

"The 'Sales Budget‘ and 'Commission Rate‘ figures from McBain‘s Compensation Letter from Behr, dated March 27, 2015." Mot. at 1.

"[A] compensation letter to McBain dated March 27, 2015, which contains specific sales target figures which are confidential and proprietary." DeLaney Decl. ¶ 11.

         Plaintiff also requests to seal the portions of the Notice Motion that discuss the foregoing exhibits. See Notice Mot. at 3-8 (redacting portions of the Motion).

         Defendants request these Exhibits be sealed in their entirety. See Resp. at 1, Dkt. No. 55; Dkt. No. 48-5 (proposed redactions). DeLaney declares the Exhibits "contain[] sensitive proprietary and confidential information relating to Defendants' sales and marketing strategy, tactics, and methods" that, if made public to their competitors, "would severely and irreparably damage Defendants' business[.]" DeLaney Decl. ¶ 12; see Resp. at 3 (asserting same).

         The Court DENIES the Motion. Civil Local Rule 79-5(b) provides that any sealing "request must be narrowly tailored to seek sealing only of sealable material[.]" Having reviewed the Exhibits, the Court finds not all of the information contained therein is sealable. On the contrary, it appears that some portions of the Exhibits are publicly available in the record or elsewhere.

         For instance, paragraph 12(c) of the McBain Declaration discusses the contents of the "internal company communication" in Exhibit 2. This paragraph also contains an image which appears at page PL001260 of Exhibit 2. Compare McBain Decl. ¶ 12(c) with id, Ex. 2 at ¶ 001260. Defendants do not request paragraph 12(c) be sealed. Moreover, the McBain Declaration suggests this image was used as part of a public display. See Id. ΒΆ 12(c) ("I also assemble and put up on the store Company merchandising materials, as instructed by the Company. [] As an example, in May 2016, Behr instructed all Reps in the United ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.