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ZTE (USA) Inc. v. Agis Software Development LLC

United States District Court, N.D. California

November 5, 2019

ZTE (USA) INC., Plaintiff,
v.
AGIS SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING RENEWED ADMINISTRATIVE MOTION TO SEAL RE: DKT. NO. 131

          Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr., United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff ZTE (USA) Inc.'s renewed 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. 131. For the reasons articulated below, the Court GRANTS the motion.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         Courts 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).

         However, 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).

         II. DISCUSSION

         Because the documents that 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 two exhibits. See Dkt. No. 131; see also Dkt. No. 106. The Court had previously denied the motion to seal these documents because the parties failed to make the requisite showing of prejudice or harm. See Dkt. No. 124 at 2-3 (citing Phillips, 307 F.3d at 1210-11). Instead, the parties relied on their designation of the material as “RESTRICTED - ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY.” See id.

         However, in response to the renewed motion, Defendant AGIS Software Development LLC filed a declaration detailing that these documents contain confidential business and proprietary information relating to the operations of non-party Advanced Ground Information Systems, Inc. (“AGIS Inc.”). See Dkt. No. 136. Exhibits 1 and 2 are deposition transcripts taken in connection with Advanced Ground Information Systems, Inc. v. Life360, Inc., Case No. 9:14-cv-80651-DMM (S.D. Fl.), and contain information about AGIS Inc.'s technology, business strategies, and classified dealings with the government and military, which if public, would place AGIS Inc. in financial risk and give competitors an unfair advantage. Id. at ¶¶ 4-6.

         Accordingly, the Court finds that the parties have provided good cause for sealing Exhibits 1 and 2 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, as indicated in the table below. See Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Ltd., No. 11-CV-01846-LHK, 2012 WL 6115623 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 10, 2012); see also 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).

Docket Number Public/(Sealed)

Document

Portions Sought to be Sealed

Ruling

Plaintiff's Renewed Admin. Motion to Seal, Dkt No. 131

106-8; 106-9; 131-7; and 131-8;

Exhibits 1-2 to the to the Declaration of Bradford C. Schulz filed in support of Plaintiff's Motion to Supplement the Record

Entire Exhibits

GRANTED: confidential business information.

106-5; 131-4

Excerpts of Plaintiff's Motion to Supplement the Record

Pages and lines: 1:9-11; 2:20-3:3, & n.1; 4:8-12, 4:14-16; 4:26-5:5; 5:16-19; 5:21.

GRANTED: confidential business information

106-7; 131-6

Excerpts of the Declaration of Bradford C. Schulz filed in support of the Motion to Supplement the Record

Pages and lines: 1:25-27; 2:5-7.

GRANTED: confidential business information

         III. CONCLUSION

         The Court GRANTS Plaintiffs motion, and pursuant to Civil Local Rule 79-5(f)(1), the documents identified above will remain under seal.

         IT ...


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