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Chester v. King

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 10, 2019

RAYMOND D. CHESTER, Plaintiff,
v.
AUDREY KING, et al., Defendants.

         ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT POWERS' IN CAMERA REQUEST TO FILE EXHIBITS UNDER SEAL ORDER FOR CLERK TO FILE UNDER SEAL: (1) DEFENDANT POWERS' REQUEST TO FILE EXHIBITS UNDER SEAL; AND (2) EXHIBIT “D” TO ANOUSH HOLADAY'S DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT POWERS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          GARY S. AUSTIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. BACKGROUND

         Raymond D. Chester (“Plaintiff”) is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case now proceeds with Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint filed on August 31, 2017 against defendants Audrey King (Executive Director), Jagsir Sandhu, M.D. (Chief Medical Officer), Bradley Powers, M.D. (Unit Physician), and Robert Withrow, M.D. (Medical Director of CSH) (collectively, “Defendants”) for failing to provide adequate medical care to Plaintiff in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. (ECF No. 10.)

         On June 21, 2019, Defendants filed a Stipulation and [proposed] Protective Order regarding disclosure of confidential health information and personal information. (ECF No. 30.) On July 2, 2019, the court approved the stipulated Protective Order (ECF No. 32.)

         On August 19, 2019, defendant Bradley Powers, M.D. (“Powers”) filed a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 36.) On the same date, Powers filed a Notice of Request to Seal Exhibits in support of the motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 36-11.) Also on August 19, 2019, Defendant emailed to chambers:

(1) an in camera Request to Seal Exhibit “D” to Anoush Holaday's Declaration in support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment;
(2) a copy of Anoush Holaday's Declaration and its Exhibits A, B, and C (ECF No. 36-3, 36-4, 36-5, 36-6); and
(3) an in camera unredacted copy of Exhibit “D” to Anoush Holaday's Declaration consisting of Plaintiff's supporting medical records to be sealed.

         On or about August 19, 2019, Plaintiff was served with Powers' Notice of Request to Seal, Request to Seal, and the Exhibit “D” documents proposed to be sealed, but has not filed an opposition to the Request to Seal.[1]

         Powers' request to seal exhibits is now before the court. Local Rule 230(l).

         II.SEALING DOCUMENTS

         Federal courts have recognized a strong presumption that judicial records are accessible to the public. Kamakana v. City and County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006). “Unless a particular court record is one ‘traditionally kept secret,' a ‘strong presumption in favor of access' is the starting point.” Id. (quoting Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003). Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.2(d), a court “may order that a filing be made under seal without redaction, ” and the Supreme Court has acknowledged that the decision to seal documents is “one best left to the sound discretion of the trial court, a discretion to be exercised in light of the relevant facts and circumstances of the particular case, ” Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 599, 98 S.Ct. 1306, 1312 (1978). Courts should consider “the interests [of] the parties in light of the public interest and the duty of the courts.” Hagestad v. Tragesser, 49 F.3d 1430, 1434 (9th Cir. 1995) (quoting Nixon, 435 U.S. at 602).

         There are two standards for a party to consider when it seeks to file a document under seal: the compelling reasons standard and the good cause standard. See Center for Auto Safety v. Chrysler Group. LLC, 809 F.3d 1092, 1096-97 (9th Cir. 2016). Under the compelling reasons standard, “a court may seal records only when it finds ‘a compelling reason and articulate[s] the factual basis for its ruling, without relying on hypothesis or conjecture.” Id. (quoting Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179). “The court must then ‘conscientiously balance[ ] the competing interests of the public and the party who seeks to keep certain judicial records secret.” Id. The Ninth Circuit has clarified that the key in determining which standard to apply in assessing a motion for leave to file a document under seal is whether the documents proposed for sealing accompany a ...


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