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San Pedro-Salcedo v. The Haagen-Dazs Shoppe Co., Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

November 20, 2019

MELANIE G. SAN PEDRO-SALCEDO, Plaintiff,
v.
THE HAAGEN-DAZS SHOPPE COMPANY, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER RE MOTIONS TO FILE UNDER SEAL RE: DKT. NOS. 92, 99, 104, 111, 117, 118, 119, 121, 123, 124, 127, 128

          EDWARD J. DAVILA United States District Judge

         The parties have filed numerous administrative motions to file under seal in connection with Plaintiff's motion for class certification and Defendant's motion for summary judgment. The order addresses these motions.

         U.S. courts recognize that the public has “a general right to inspect and copy public records and documents, including judicial records and documents.” Whitewater W. Indus., Ltd. v. Pac. Surf Designs, Inc., 2019 WL 1590470, at *1 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 12, 2019) (quoting Nixon v. Warner Communications, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 (1978)). “When considering a sealing request, ‘a strong presumption in favor of access is the starting point.'” Space Data Corp. v. Alphabet Inc., 2019 WL 2305278, at *1 (N.D. Cal. May 30, 2019) (quoting Kamakana v. City & Cty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006)). This right is not absolute though. Whitewater W. Indus., 2019 WL 1590470, at *1 (quoting Nixon, 434 U.S. at 598). In order to seal judicial records that are “more than tangentially related to the underlying cause of action, ” the moving party must show “compelling reasons” for maintaining confidentiality that outweigh the presumption in favor of disclosure. Space Data, 2019 WL 2305278, at *1 (citing Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrysler Grp., 809 F.3d 1092, 1099 (9th Cir. 2016)). To make this showing, the moving party must provide “specific factual findings that outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring disclosure.” Opperman v. Path, Inc., 2017 WL 1036652, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 17, 2017). Courts applying the compelling reasons standard have upheld the sealing of trade secrets, marketing strategies, product development plans, detailed product-specific financial information, customer information, internal reports and other such materials that could harm a party's competitive standing. See, e.g., In re Elec. Arts, Inc., 298 Fed.Appx. 568, 569 (9th Cir. 2008); Opperman, 2017 WL 1036652; Lucas v. Breg, Inc., 2016 WL 5464549, at *1 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 28, 2016); Rodman v. Safeway Inc., 2015 WL 13673842 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 4, 2015).

         However, courts should exercise caution not allow these exceptions swallow the strong presumption in favor of disclosure. “There 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.” Lucas, 2016 WL 5464549, at *1 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 28, 2016) (quoting Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179). “Broad allegations of harm, unsubstantiated by specific examples of articulated reasoning” will not carry the compelling standards burden. Space Data, 2019 WL 2305278, at *1 (quoting Beckman Indus., Inc. v. Int'l Ins. Co., 966 F.2d 470, 476 (9th Cir. 1992)). Mere designation of a document as confidential under a protective order is not sufficient to establish that said document, or portions thereof, are sealable. Civil L.R. 79-5(d)(1)(A).

         It is well established among District Courts in this Circuit that motions for class certification are more than tangentially related to the underlying merits of a case and are therefore subject to the compelling reasons standard to file under seal. See, e.g., Waldrup v. Countrywide Fin. Corp., 2018 WL 4586188, at *4 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 17, 2018); Opperman, 2017 WL 1036652, at *3; Cohen v. Trump, 2016 WL 3036302, at *3 (S.D. Cal. May 27, 2016). Motions for summary judgment are also more than tangentially related to the merits of a lawsuit. The court will apply the compelling reasons standard to all of the instant motions to seal.

         A. Administrative Motions to File Under Seal Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification. Dkt. Nos. 119, 121, 127.

Document

Portions Requested Sealed

The Court's Ruling

Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification

4:19-21; 5:1-12; 5:15-17; 5:23- 24; 5:26-27; 6:1-3; 10:25-11:2; 17:23-24; 14:15-18.

Denied. The court finds Defendant has not met the compelling reasons standard. In addition, the material largely concerns Defendant's communications to the public and is therefore not subject to sealing.

Exhibit 3 to the Declaration of Michael Jaurigue

Its entirety.

Denied. The court finds Defendant has not met the compelling reasons standard. In addition, the material largely concerns Defendant's communications to the public and is therefore not subject to sealing.

Exhibit 4 to the Declaration of Michael Jaurigue

Its entirety.

Denied. The court finds Defendant has not met the compelling reasons standard. In addition, the material largely concerns Defendant's communications to the public and is therefore not subject to sealing. Moreover, the request is not narrowly tailored.

         B. Administrative Motions to File Under Seal Defendant's Opposition to Class Certification. Dkt. Nos. 117, 118.

Document

Portions Requested Sealed

The Court's Ruling

Defendants The Häagen-Dazs Shoppe Company, Inc., Nestlé Dreyer's Ice Cream Company, and Nestlé USA, Inc.'s Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification

Lines 1:17-20, 1:22-24, 4:12-15, and 4:16-18.

Denied. The court finds Defendant has not met the compelling reasons standard. In addition, the material largely concerns Defendant's communications to the public and is therefore not subject to sealing.

Declaration of Jennifer McLean in Support of Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification

Lines 3:21-28, 4:2-5, 4:7-9, and 4:12-20.

Granted as to ¶ 15; otherwise denied. The court finds Defendant has not met the compelling reasons standard.

Exhibit A to the Declaration of Jennifer McLean in Support of Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification

In its entirety.

Granted. Denied.

Exhibit B to the Declaration of Jennifer McLean in Support of Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification

In its entirety.

The court finds Defendant has not met the compelling reasons standard

Declaration of Matthew Bishop in Support of Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification

Lines 3:21-24, 3:26-4:1, and 4:7-15.

Granted as to ¶ 11, otherwise denied. The court finds Defendant has not met the compelling reasons standard. In addition, the material largely concerns Defendant's communications to the public and is therefore not subject to sealing.

Exhibit A to the Declaration of Matthew Bishop in Support of Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification

In its entirety.

Granted.

Exhibit B to the Declaration of Matthew Bishop in Support of Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification

In its entirety.

Denied. The court finds Defendant has not met the compelling reasons standard

Exhibit C to the Declaration of Matthew Bishop in Support of Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification

In its entirety.

Denied. The court finds Defendant has not met the compelling reasons standard. In addition, the material largely concerns Defendant's communications to the public and is therefore not subject to sealing.

         C. Administrative Motions to File Under Seal Plaintiff's Reply in Support of Class Certification. Dkr. Nos. 123, 124, 128

Document

Portions Requested Sealed

The Court's Ruling

Plaintiff's Reply in Support of Her Motion for Class Certification

7:11-13; 14:4-8.

Denied. The court finds Defendant has not met the compelling reasons standard. In addition, the material largely concerns Defendant's communications to the public and is therefore not subject to sealing.

         D. Defendant's Administrative Motion to File Under Seal Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. No. 92.

         This motion does not comply with the civil local rules for the reasons expressed in the court's previous order denying without prejudice motions to file under seal. The motion is denied without prejudice. Within seven days of this order, Defendant may re-file a compliant motion to file under seal. In the renewed motion to file under seal, Defendant shall not seek to seal any material as to which the court has already denied a motion to file under seal.

         E. Administrative Motions to File Under Seal Plaintiffs Opposition to ...


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