United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING TGS TRANSPORTATION, INC.'S REQUEST
TO SEAL DOCUMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH REPLY TO ITS MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. NOS. 228, 230)
7, 2019, TGS Transportation (“TGS”) filed a
motion for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 218.) On July 9, 2019,
TGS filed a request to seal, seeking to file a redacted
version of its reply in support of its motion for summary
judgment. (See Doc. Nos. 228, 230). Having
considered TGS's submissions, the court will grant
TGS's request and permit TGS to file a redacted copy of
its reply on the docket.
documents filed with the court are presumptively public.
San Jose Mercury News, Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Court, 187
F.3d 1096, 1103 (9th Cir. 1999) (“It is
well-established that the fruits of pretrial discovery are,
in the absence of a court order to the contrary,
presumptively public.”).“Historically, 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)).
standards generally govern requests to seal documents.
Pintos v. Pac. Creditors Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665,
677 (9th Cir. 2010). The Ninth Circuit has recognized as
[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). The
reason for the two different standards is that
“[n]ondispositive motions are often unrelated, or only
tangentially related, to the underlying cause of action, and,
as a result, the public's interest in accessing
dispositive materials does not apply with equal force to
non-dispositive materials.” Pintos, 605 F.3d
at 678 (quotations omitted).
the “compelling reasons” standard:
[T]he court must conscientiously 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 1178-79 (internal quotation marks, omissions,
and citations omitted). The party seeking to seal a judicial
record bears the burden of meeting the “compelling
reasons” standard. Id. at 1178; Foltz v.
State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th
the terms “dispositive” and
“non-dispositive” motions are often used in this
context, the Ninth Circuit has clarified that the
“compelling reasons” standard applies whenever
the motion at issue “is more than tangentially related
to the merits of a case.” Ctr. for Auto Safety v.
Chrysler Grp., LLC, 809 F.3d 1092, 1101 (9th Cir. 2016).
In some instances, the proposed filing of documents under
seal in connection with motions for preliminary injunction,
for sanctions, or in limine-though such motions are not
dispositive-may be governed by the “compelling
reasons” test, predicated on the right of access and
the need to “provide the public with a more complete
understanding of the judicial system and a better perception
of its fairness.” Id. at 1097-1101 (quoting
Leucadia, Inc. v. Applied Extrusion Techs., Inc.,
998 F.2d 157, 161 (3d Cir. 1993)).
general, ‘compelling reasons' sufficient to . . .
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, 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.
the pending request to seal has been filed in connection with
a motion for summary judgment, the “compelling
reasons” standard applies. See Xie v. De Young
Properties 5418, LP, No. 1:16-cv-01518-DAD-SKO, 2018 WL
3241068, at *2 (E.D. Cal. July 2, 2018); Figueroa v. City