United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DENYING ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO SEAL RE: DKT.
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Plaintiff ZTE (USA) Inc.'s
administrative motion to file under seal portions of
Plaintiff's Motion to Supplement the Record and the
Declaration of Bradford C. Schulz in support of the Motion to
Supplement, as well as Exhibits 1 and 2 to the Declaration of
Bradford C. Schulz in their entirety. See Dkt. No.
106. For the reasons articulated below, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's motion.
generally apply a “compelling reasons” standard
when considering motions to seal documents. Pintos v.
Pac. Creditors Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir.
2010). “This standard derives from the common law right
‘to inspect and copy public records and documents,
including judicial records and documents.'”
Id. (quoting Kamakana v. City & Cnty. of
Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006)).
“[A] strong presumption in favor of access is the
starting point.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1178
(quotations omitted). To overcome this strong presumption,
the party seeking to seal a document attached 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 (quotations omitted).
documents attached to non-dispositive motions are not subject
to the same strong presumption of access. See Id. at
1179. Because such records “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 Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 26(c). Id. at 1179-80 (quotations
omitted). This requires only 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); see also 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) (quotations omitted).
the documents Plaintiff seeks to seal relate to a
non-dispositive motion, the Court will apply the lower good
cause standard. Plaintiff seeks to file under seal Exhibits 1
and 2 to the Declaration of Bradford C. Schulz in their
entirety, as well as the portions of Plaintiff's Motion
to Supplement the Record and the Declaration of Bradford C.
Schulz in support of the Motion to Supplement that discuss
those exhibits. See Dkt. No. 106. The only basis
Plaintiff proffers for sealing is that the exhibits
“contain information that has been designated
“RESTRICTED - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY” by
Defendant AGIS Software Development, LLC
(“AGIS”). See Id. at 1. Plaintiff's
declaration in support of the motion repeats this same
explanation. See Dkt. No. 106-1, ¶¶ 2-5.
Defendant did not file a declaration establishing that
Exhibits 1 and 2, and the motion and declaration that refer
to them, are sealable within four days of Plaintiff's
motion as required under Civil Local Rule 79-5(e)(1).
Instead, as part of Plaintiff's motion to seal, the
parties included a document styled “Joint Stipulation
regarding Administrative Motion for Filing under Seal,
” which states that the parties agree to seal these
documents. See Dkt. No. 106-2.
Court finds that Plaintiff's cursory justification that
the documents were designated confidential and the parties
“joint stipulation” agreeing to seal the
documents do not adequately establish a “particularized
showing” of “specific prejudice or harm.”
See Phillips, 307 F.3d at 1210-11 (quotation
omitted); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c). As Civil
Local Rule 79-5(d)(1)(A) explains, “[r]eference to a
stipulation or protective order that allows a party to
designate certain documents as confidential is not sufficient
to establish that a document, or portions thereof, are
sealable.” “Confidential” is merely the
parties' initial designation of confidentiality to
establish coverage under the stipulated protective order.
See Verinata Health, Inc. v. Ariosa Diagnostics,
Inc., No. 12-cv-05501-SI, 2015 WL 5117083, at *5 (N.D.
Cal. Aug. 31, 2015). Thus, Plaintiffs motion does not comply
with Civil Local Rule 79-5, and the Court finds no basis to
seal the requested documents.
Court therefore DENIES Plaintiffs motion.
Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 79-5(f)(2), Plaintiff may file
unredacted versions of the motion, declaration, and exhibits,
or Plaintiff may file a new motion to seal, within seven days
of this order according to the requirements discussed above.