United States District Court, N.D. California
NONDISPOSITIVE PRETRIAL ORDER OF A MAGISTRATE JUDGE
AND ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO SEAL RE: DKT. NOS. 354,
HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM A NONDISPOSITIVE PRETRIAL
filed Rule 72 objections to Magistrate Judge Westmore's
September 24, 2019 pretrial order, Dkt. No. 350, which the
Court construes as a Motion for Relief from a Nondispositive
Pretrial Order of a Magistrate Judge under Civil Local Rule
72-2. See Dkt. No. 355. Defendants seek relief from
Judge Westmore's order compelling the production of
fifteen documents which Defendants claim they should be
allowed to withhold or redact for privilege. See
district court may refer nondispositive pretrial issues to a
magistrate judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A).
“A judge of the court may reconsider any pretrial
matter under this subparagraph (A) where it has been shown
that the magistrate's judge's order is clearly
erroneous or contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C §
636(b)(1)(A); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a). A
district court reviews the magistrate judge's factual
determinations for clear error, and reviews the magistrate
judge's legal conclusions to determine whether they are
contrary to law. Perry v.
268 F.R.D. 344, 348 (N.D. Cal. 2010). This standard is highly
deferential, and a district court “may not simply
substitute its judgment for that of the deciding
court.” Grimes v. City and Cnty. of San
Francisco, 951 F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991) (citation
Court has carefully reviewed Defendants' objections and
Judge Westmore's order. The Court finds that Defendants
have not demonstrated that Judge Westmore's order is
clearly erroneous or contrary to law. Accordingly, the Court
DENIES Defendants' motion.
ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO SEAL
seek to file under seal Exhibits 1-9 to the Declaration of
Randall Edwards, which contain confidential information
concerning BlackRock's internal business processes,
financials, and client relationships. Dkt. No. 354; Dkt. No.
354-1 ¶ 5. Defendants also seek to file under seal
portions of their motion for relief (lines 16-20 on page
three) which they allege reference the information contained
in Exhibits 1-9. Dkt. No. 354; Dkt. No. 354-1 ¶ 4.
courts generally apply a “compelling reasons”
standard when considering motions to seal documents, records
attached to nondispositive motions must meet the lower
“good cause” standard of Rule 26(c) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Kamakana v. City &
Cty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178-80 (9th Cir.
2006). Records attached to nondispositive motions “are
often unrelated, or only tangentially related, to the
underlying cause of action.” Id. at 1179- 80
(citation and quotations omitted). The good cause standard
requires 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) (citation and quotations omitted).
these documents are related to Defendants' motion for
relief from a nondispositive pretrial order, the Court will
apply the lower good cause standard. The Court finds that
there is good cause to seal Exhibits 1-9 but not the five
lines in Defendants' motion for relief. Exhibits 1-9
contain confidential business and financial information
relating to the operations of BlackRock and its relationship
with its clients, which the Court previously held constituted
a sufficiently compelling reason to seal. See Dkt.
No. 340 at 32; see also Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co.,
Ltd., No. 11-CV-01846-LHK, 2012 WL 6115623 (N.D. Cal.
Dec. 10, 2012); Agency Solutions.Com, LLC v. TriZetto
Group, Inc., 819 F.Supp.2d 1001, 1017 (E.D. Cal. 2011);
Linex Techs., Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard Co.,
No. C 13-159 CW, 2014 WL 6901744 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 8, 2014)).
With respect to the five lines in the motion for relief,
Defendants' proffered justification for sealing is that
they “characterize” and “reference”
Exhibits 1-9. Dkt. No. 354 at 1; Dkt. No. 354-1 ¶ 4.
However, the Court finds that general descriptions and
characterizations of the subject matter alleged in the
exhibits do not necessarily warrant sealing. Defendants'
basis falls short of the “particularized showing”
of “specific prejudice or harm” Defendants must
make to outweigh the public interest in access to judicial
records. See Phillips, 307 F.3d at 1210-11 (citation
and quotations omitted); see also Fed. R. Civ. P.
Court therefore GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN
PART Defendants' administrative motion to seal.
Court DENIES Defendants' motion for
relief from a nondispositive pretrial order of a magistrate
judge, Dkt. No. 355, and GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN
PART Defendants' administrative motion to file
under seal, Dkt. No. 354.
Court DIRECTS Defendants to file public
versions of all documents for which the proposed sealing has
been denied within seven days of this order. Defendants may
also file new motions to seal within seven days of this order
according to the requirements discussed above. Pursuant to
Civil Local Rule 79-5(f)(1), documents ...