United States District Court, E.D. California
DOUGLAS J. STEVENSON, Plaintiff,
K. HOLLAND et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING REQUEST TO LIFT PROTECTIVE ORDER FOR
CERTAIN DOCUMENTS (DOC. NO. 86)
lawsuit is about a prisoner, Plaintiff Douglas Stevenson, who
allegedly was physically abused by prison officers on
November 11, 2012, and December 7, 2012. Plaintiff sued the
prison officers for cruel and unusual punishment, assault,
battery, and negligence. During discovery the parties entered
into a stipulated protective order, which the Court issued.
See Doc. No. 48. The protective order permits the
parties to designate certain materials as
“Confidential, ” and the protective order largely
precludes the parties from publicly disclosing materials
designated as “Confidential.” Defendants recently
moved the Court for summary judgment. In opposing
Defendants' summary judgment motion, Plaintiff wants to
publicly file certain “Confidential” documents.
Accordingly, Plaintiff has asked the Court to lift the
protective order's applicability to the documents at
issue. For the reasons discussed herein, the Court will grant
Plaintiffs Request to Lift the Protective Order
has six “batches” of documents that he wants to
publicly file in conjunction with his opposition to
Defendants' summary judgment motion:
1) “Exhibit AA, ” which is a document from the
prison that shows the bed history and cell locations of
inmates on December 7, 2012.
2) “Exhibit BB, ” which are documents from the
prison that report and summarize the use-of-force incident
with Plaintiff on December 7, 2012. Also included is the
prison's “Use of Force Participant Workbook.”
3) “Exhibit CC, ” which are excerpts of Defendant
M. Crotty's deposition transcript in this lawsuit.
Defendant M. Crotty is one of the prison officers who
allegedly abused Plaintiff.
4) “Exhibit DD, ” which are documents about
use-of-force incidents on March 13, 2014, and December 26,
2014, involving Defendant M. Crotty and another prisoner
(i.e., not Plaintiff). The documents include
information about the prison's response to the
use-of-force incidents, including disciplinary action imposed
on Defendant M. Crotty.
5) “Exhibit V-2, ” which is a supplemental expert
report from plaintiffs use-of-force expert, Daniel Fulks,
that discusses Defendant M. Crotty's disciplinary history
with the prison and his involvement in the use-of-force
incident on March 13, 2014, including his reporting
obligations for the use-of-force incident and his alleged
failure to fulfill those obligations. Fulks relied on
Exhibits AA, BB, CC, and DD to form the opinions in his
supplemental expert report.
6) Plaintiffs unredacted memorandum of points and authorities
in opposition to Defendants' summary judgment motion. The
memorandum discusses some of the information in Fulks'
supplemental expert report, Exhibit V-2, about Defendant M.
argues that the protective order should be lifted as to the
foregoing documents because, first, the documents are
material to Plaintiffs claims and, second, there is no
compelling reason or good cause for keeping the documents
sealed from the public. Plaintiff also correctly notes that
since Defendants want the documents sealed, then the burden
is on Defendants to show either compelling reasons or good
cause for keeping the documents sealed from the public.
oppose Plaintiffs request, arguing that the documents should
remain subject to the protective order and sealed from the
public because the documents are irrelevant to
Defendants' summary judgment motion. According to
Defendants, Plaintiffs “only reason” for publicly
filing the documents is to “promote public scandal and
satisfy the private spite that Plaintiff may hold against
Defendants.” Doc. No. 88 at 10.
documents filed with the Court are presumptively public.
San Jose Mercury News, Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Court, 187
F.3d 1096, 1103 (9th Cir. 1999). “[T]he courts of this
country recognize a general right to inspect and copy public
records and documents, including judicial records and
documents.” Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrysler Grp.,
LLC, 809 F.3d 1092, 1096 (9th Cir. 2016) (citations
standards generally govern the sealing of documents filed
with the Court: the “compelling reasons” standard
for materials directly related to the underlying causes of
action, such as documents attached to summary judgment
briefs, and the lesser “good cause” standard for