United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING MOTIONS TO SEAL RE: DKT. NOS. 87,
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff Shirin Delatat's motions to
file under seal exhibits filed in support of her motion for
attorneys' fees and costs, as well a related portion of
her reply brief in support of her motion for attorneys'
fees. See Dkt. Nos. 87, 93. No opposition to the
motion to seal was filed, and the time to do so has passed.
‘compelling reasons' standard applies to most
judicial records. This standard derives from the common law
right ‘to inspect and copy public records and
documents, including judicial records and
documents.'” Pintos v. Pac. Creditors
Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589,
597 & n.7). “[A] ‘strong presumption in favor
of access' is the starting point.” Kamakana v.
City & Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th
Cir. 2006) (quoting Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins.
Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003)). To overcome
this strong presumption, the party seeking to seal a judicial
record related to a dispositive motion must “articulate
compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings
that outweigh the general history of access and the public
policies favoring disclosure, such as the public interest in
understanding the judicial process” and
“significant public events.” Id. at
1178-79 (internal citations, quotation marks, and alterations
omitted). “In general, ‘compelling reasons'
sufficient to outweigh the public's interest in
disclosure and justify sealing court records exist when such
‘court files might have 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.” Id. at 1179 (citing
Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598). “The mere fact that
the production of records may lead to a litigant's
embarrassment, incrimination, or exposure to further
litigation will not, without more, compel the court to seal
its records.” Id.
court must “balance the competing interests of the
public and the party who seeks to keep certain judicial
records secret. After considering these interests, if the
court decides to seal certain judicial records, it must base
its decision on a compelling reason and articulate the
factual basis for its ruling, without relying on hypothesis
or conjecture.” Id. at 1179. Civil Local Rule
79-5 supplements the compelling reasons standard set forth in
Kamakana: the party seeking to file a document or
portions of it under seal must “establish that the
document, or portions thereof, are privileged, 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.” Civil L.R. 79-5(b).
attached to nondispositive motions are not subject to the
strong presumption of access. See Kamakana, 447 F.3d
at 1179. Because the documents attached to nondispositive
motions “are often unrelated, or only tangentially
related, to the underlying cause of action, ” parties
moving to seal must meet the lower “good cause”
standard of Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Id. at 1179-80 (internal quotation marks
omitted). The “good cause” standard requires a
“particularized showing” 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)
(internal quotation marks omitted); 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).
Plaintiff's motion for attorneys' fees and costs is a
nondispositive motion, the Court applies the “good
cause” standard to the pending motions to seal.
seeks to redact Exhibits 7 and 9 to the Declaration of
Melanie Persinger, filed in support of Plaintiff s motion for
attorneys' fees and costs, which contain labels from
Defendant Nutiva Inc.'s coconut oil products.
See Dkt. No. 87 at 1-2. Plaintiff also seeks to
redact a portion of the declaration of Jack Fitzgerald and a
related portion of Plaintiff s reply brief filed in support
of her motion for attorneys' fees and costs, which
contain information about Defendant's coconut oil sales.
See Dkt. No. 93 at 1. Defendant designated this
information as "Confidential" under the protective
order. See Dkt. No. 87-1 ¶¶ 3-4; see
also Dkt. No. 93-1 ¶ 3. However, Defendant did not
timely file a declaration in support of Plaintiff s motion to
seal, as required in this situation under the Local Rules.
See Civ. L.R. 79-5 (e)(1) ("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."). The Court,
therefore, does not find compelling reasons to seal these
exhibits or the related portions of the parties' class
Court therefore DENIES Plaintiffs motion to seal. If
Defendant does not file a responsive declaration in
accordance with the Local Rules within four days of the date
of this Order, Plaintiff may publicly file her reply motion,
Exhibits 7 and 9 to the Persinger Declaration, and Fitzgerald
Declaration. See Civ. L.R. 79-5(e)(2). In the
future, the ...