United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION
TO SEAL PORTIONS OF FIFTH AMENDED COMPLAINT; DIRECTIONS TO
PLAINTIFFS RE: DKT. NO. 261
M. CHESNEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is plaintiffs' Administrative Motion, filed
July 1, 2019, "to Seal Portions of Plaintiffs' Fifth
Amended Complaint." Defendant has filed a response and
declaration in support thereof. Having read and considered
the parties' respective written submissions, the Court
rules as follows.
redacted version of their Fifth Amended Complaint
("5AC"), plaintiffs allege defendant has a policy
of denying certain types of credit to aliens who "hold
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ('DACA')
status" (see 5AC ¶ 2); plaintiffs allege
defendant, in furtherance of said policy, uses seven
specified "decline codes" that "reflect a
credit denial based on alienage and immigration status"
(see 5AC ¶¶ 83, 85-86; see also
5AC ¶ 84). As the decline codes have been designated
confidential by defendant, plaintiffs, as required by the
Civil Local Rules of this district, have redacted said codes
from the public version of the 5AC, see Civil L.R.
79-5(e), and, as they correctly note in the instant
administrative motion, defendant, as the designating party,
has the burden to establish the codes are properly filed
under seal, see Civil L.R. 79-5(e)(1).
seeking to seal a "judicial record . . . must articulate
compelling reasons supported by specific fact[s] . . . that
outweigh the general history of access and the public
policies favoring disclosure, such as the public interest in
understanding the judicial process." See Kamakana v.
City and County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178-79 (9th
Cir. 2006) (internal quotations, alteration and citations
omitted); see also, e.g., Delphix Corp.
v. Actifio, Inc., 2014 WL 4145520, at *2 (N.D. Cal.
August 20, 2014) (considering whether movant established
"sufficiently compelling reasons" to seal portions
of complaint). A showing that consists of "conclusory
statements about the content of the documents," e.g.,
"that they are confidential and that, in general, their
production [to the public] would hinder [the designating
party's] future operations," is insufficient to
establish the requisite "compelling reasons."
See Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1182; see also Oliner
v. Kontrabecki, 745 F.3d 1024, 1026-27 (9th Cir. 2014)
(holding "conclusory statement that publication of the
[judicial record] will injure the [designating party] in the
industry and local community falls woefully short of the kind
of showing which raises even an arguable issue as to whether
it may be kept under seal") (internal quotation and
the declaration filed by defendant in support of the instant
motion does not itself address whether the specific denial
codes are properly filed under seal. Rather, it asserts that
this Court, as well as Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte,
to whom discovery disputes in the case were referred, have
granted prior requests to file "the same or similar
documents under seal." (See deVyver Decl.
¶ 3.) Each of the referenced sealing orders,
however, granted a request to file under seal documents that
detail the processes and procedures by which defendant
determines whether to provide credit to applicants, or
similar practices by defendant; none of the cited orders
addresses whether the denial codes, standing alone, would be
properly filed under seal.
also relies on a declaration it previously submitted in
support an earlier-filed administrative motion to seal,
specifically, the declaration of Pauline Reid, filed April
17, 2018. In said declaration, the declarant asserts that
certain documents filed in connection with a then-pending
motion to strike were sealable because they disclose
defendant's "credit underwriting considerations and
risk scoring," or "information relating to
eligibility and information required from applicants,"
or "information relating to [defendant's] software
and credit decision-making systems." (See Reid
Decl. ¶ 5.) The declarant does not address whether, let
alone identify any compelling reason why, denial codes,
standing alone, are properly filed under seal.
as plaintiffs point out, defendant previously has placed one
of the denial codes in the public record. (See Doc.
No. 247-1 at 15:18-22.)
light of the above, the Court finds defendant has not shown
compelling reasons exist to file the denial codes under seal
and, accordingly, plaintiff's administrative motion is
plaintiffs are hereby DIRECTED to file their Fifth Amended
Complaint in the public record and to do so no later than
July 19, 2019. See Civil L.R. 79-5(f).
IS SO ORDERED.
By order filed concurrently herewith,
the Court has approved the parties' stipulation to allow
plaintiffs to file a Fifth Amended Complaint.
The declaration also asserts that
plaintiffs have not complied with the procedures in the
parties' Joint Stipulated Protective Order as to
challenging an opposing party's designations. (See
id. ¶ 4.) Any such failure, however, is not
dispositive of the issue before the Court, which is whether
defendant has shown a compelling reason exists to ...