United States District Court, D. Arizona
Douglas L. Rayes, United States District Judge
the Court are Defendant MD Helicopter Incorporated's
motions to seal (Docs. 439, 460, 467, 472), and Plaintiffs
Philip and Ruth Marsteller's motions to seal (Docs. 444,
462, 470, 475). No responses were filed to either party's
motions. For the following reasons, the motions are denied.
standards generally govern requests to seal documents.
“First, a ‘compelling reasons' standard
applies to most judicial records.” Pintos v. Pac.
Creditors Ass'n, 605 F.3d 665, 678 (9th Cir. 2009)
(citing Kamakana v. City & Cty. of Honolulu, 447
F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006)).
This standard derives from the common law right “to
inspect and copy public records and documents, including
judicial records and documents.” To limit this common
law right of access, a party seeking to seal judicial records
must show that “compelling reasons supported by
specific factual findings . . . outweigh the general history
of access and the public policies favoring disclosure.”
Id. (quoting Kamakana, 447 F.3d at
second standard applies to discovery materials.
“‘Private materials unearthed during
discovery' . . . are not part of the judicial
record.” Id. (quoting Kamakana, 447
F.3d at 1180). The “good cause” standard set
forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) applies to
this category of documents. Id. For good cause to
exist under Rule 26(c), “the party seeking protection
bears the burden of showing specific prejudice or harm will
result if no protective order is granted.” Phillips
v. G.M. Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1210-11 (9th Cir. 2002).
“Broad allegations of harm, unsubstantiated by specific
examples or articulated reasoning, do not satisfy the Rule
26(c) test.” Beckman Indus., Inc. v. Int'l Ins.
Co., 966 F.2d 470, 476 (9th Cir. 1992) (quotation and
citation omitted). Instead, the party seeking protection must
make a “particularized showing of good cause with
respect to [each] individual document.” San Jose
Mercury News, Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Court - N. Dist. (San
Jose), 187 F.3d 1096, 1103 (9th Cir. 1999).
good cause standard also applies to documents attached to
non-dispositive motions because those documents are often
“‘unrelated, or only tangentially related, to the
underlying cause of action.'” Phillips,
307 F.3d at 1213 (citation omitted). Documents attached to
dispositive motions, by contrast, are governed by the
compelling reasons standard. See Pintos, 605 F.3d at
678-79. This higher standard applies because the resolution
of a dispute on the merits “is at the heart of the
interest in ensuring the ‘public's understanding of
the judicial process and of significant public
events.'” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179
Amended Protective Order
addition to the legal standards governing motions to seal,
the Court's Amended Protective Order (Protective Order)
outlines the requisite procedure for sealing information
designated as confidential by the opposing party.
Specifically, the Protective Order provides, in relevant
If a Party wishes to use any CONFIDENTIAL or ATTORNEYS EYES
ONLY information designated by another Party in any papers
filed in this Action, such Party shall provide the
designating Party reasonable notice of such intention and
seek to obtain a stipulation to have CONFIDENTIAL or
ATTORNEYS EYES ONLY information under seal. To the extent a
stipulation cannot be reached, or should the Court deny a
stipulated request to file a document or information under
seal, the Party seeking to file the CONFIDENTIAL or ATTORNEYS
EYES ONLY information must contact the designating Party,
inquire into whether the designating Party intends to file
its own motion to seal the CONFIDENTIAL or ATTORNEYS EYES
ONLY information, give the designating Party the opportunity
to file its own motion, and refrain from filing such
documents or information on the public docket until the Court
has ruled on the designating Party's motion.
(Doc. 158 at 6-7 ¶ 12.) Notably, the Protective Order
appropriately aligns the burden of moving to seal with the
party who initially designated the information as
Plaintiffs' Motions to Seal
motions to seal are denied for two reasons. First,
Plaintiffs' motions do not comply with the Protective
Order's procedure for sealing documents designated as
confidential by the opposing party. Plaintiffs' motion to
file their summary judgment memorandum, statement of facts,
and exhibits under seal (Doc. 444) is based entirely on the
fact that these items contain information designated
confidential by Defendant. Likewise, Plaintiffs'
remaining motions seek, in part, to seal filings that rely on
material designated by Defendant. (See e.g., Doc.
462 (“The exhibits to the instant motion are materials
that Defendant . . . designated as protected”); Docs.
470, 475 (“The motions contain materials that Defendant
. . . designated as protected”).) For these ...