United States District Court, S.D. California
LOU BAKER, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
SEAWORLD ENTERTAINMENT, INC., et al., Defendants.
ORDER RE: MOTIONS TO FILE UNDER SEAL [DOC. NOS. 345,
348, 350, 352, 356, 360, 368, 371, 374, 377, 382, 384, 387,
403, 405, 408, 412, 415, 418, 421]
MICHAEL M. ANELLO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Representatives Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System
and Pensionskassen for Børne-Og Ungdomspædagoger
(collectively, “Plaintiffs”) and Defendants
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (“SeaWorld”), James
Atchison, James M. Heaney, Marc Swanson, and the Blackstone
Group L.P. (collectively, “Defendants”) move to
file under seal more than six hundred exhibits and various
documents in connection with Defendants' motion for
summary judgment and the parties' respective
Daubert motions. In total, there are twenty (20)
motions to file under seal pending before the Court.
17, 2019, the Court ordered the parties to meet and confer on
every exhibit and document sought to be sealed. See
Doc. No. 429 at 3. The Court further ordered the parties to
file a joint report that includes two charts for each pending
motion to file under seal. See Id. at 3-4. The
parties filed their joint report, including the charts, on
August 10, 2019. See Doc. No. 431. “[T]hrough
the meet-and-confer process, the parties trimmed the number
of disputed Exhibits from over 600 to fewer than 25 unique
exhibits.” Id. at 3.
review of the joint report, the Court finds these matters
suitable for determination on the papers and without oral
have historically recognized a “general right to
inspect and copy public records and documents, including
judicial records and documents.” Nixon v. Warner
Commc'ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 n.7 (1978).
“Unless a particular court record is one
‘traditionally kept secret,' a ‘strong
presumption in favor of access is the starting point.”
Kamakana v. City and 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)). “The presumption of access is ‘based on
the need for federal courts, although independent- indeed,
particularly because they are independent-to have a measure
of accountability and for the public to have confidence in
the administration of justice.” Ctr. for Auto
Safety v. Chrysler Group, LLC, 809 F.3d 1092, 1096 (9th
Cir. 2016) (quoting United States v. Amodeo, 71 F.3d
1044, 1048 (2d Cir. 1995)).
party moves to file under seal a motion or documents attached
to a motion, the focus is on the underlying motion and
whether it is “more than tangentially related to the
underlying cause of action.” Ctr. for Auto
Safety, 809 F.3d at 1099. If the motion is more than
tangentially related to the merits, like here, the movant
must show compelling reasons for overcoming the presumption
in favor of public access. See Id. at 1096-99.
a party seeking to seal a judicial record can overcome the
presumption in favor of access by “articulat[ing]
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.” Kamakana,
447 F.3d at 1178 (citations omitted) (internal quotation
marks omitted). “In turn, the court must
‘conscientiously balance[ ] the competing
interests' of the public and the party who seeks to keep
certain judicial records secret.” Id. at 1179
(quoting Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1135). “Compelling
reasons must continue to exist to keep judicial records
sealed.” In re Midland Nat. Life Ins. Co. Annuity
Sales Practices Litig., 686 F.3d 1115, 1119 (9th Cir.
2012) (citing Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179).
constitutes a ‘compelling reason' is ‘best
left to the sound discretion of the trial court.'”
Ctr. For Auto Safety, 809 F.3d at 1097 (quoting
Nixon, 435 U.S. at 599). “Examples include
when a court record might be used to ‘gratify private
spite or promote public scandal,' to circulate
‘libelous' statements, or ‘as sources of
business information that might harm a litigant's
competitive standing.'” Id. (quoting
Nixon, 435 U.S. at 598-99). “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.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179
(citing Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1136).
the Court has conducted a thorough review of each document
and exhibit sought to be filed under seal. The Court sets
forth its rulings in the far-right column of the charts in
Appendix A. Where the Court concludes that a document or
exhibit should be restricted from the public's view, in
whole or in part, the Court finds that the compelling reasons
standard has been met and adopts the compelling reasons
articulated for that document or exhibit. Where the Court
concludes that only certain portions of a document or exhibit
should be sealed, the Court has so noted and instructed the
parties to file an appropriately redacted version of the
document or exhibit on the docket within three (3) days of
the date of this Order. Moreover, where the Court concludes
that a document or exhibit should not be sealed, the parties
must similarly file the document or exhibit on the docket
within three (3) days of the date of this Order.
on the foregoing, the Court rules on the pending motions as
set forth in Appendix A.