Courthouse News Service v. Planet, No. 16-55977 (9th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Applying Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court, 478 U.S. 1 (1986), the Ninth Circuit held that the press has a qualified right of timely access to newly filed civil nonconfidential complaints that attaches when the complaint is filed. However, the panel held that this right does not entitle the press to immediate access to those complaints. Furthermore, some reasonable restrictions resembling time, place, and manner regulations that result in incidental delays in access are constitutionally permitted where they are content-neutral, narrowly tailored and necessary to preserve the court's important interest in the fair and orderly administration of justice.
In this case, CNS filed suit seeking immediate access to newly filed civil complaints from Ventura County Superior Court. The panel affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment as to the no-access-before-process policy, but reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment as to the scanning policy. The panel vacated the district court's injunction and award of fees, remanding for further consideration.