Robert Heath v. Google LLC, No. 5:2015cv01824 - Document 412 (N.D. Cal. 2018)

Court Description: ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART 406 , 409 UNOPPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE MOTIONS TO SEAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge Beth Labson Freeman on 12/7/2018. (blflc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/7/2018)
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1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 SAN JOSE DIVISION 6 7 ROBERT HEATH, ET AL., Plaintiffs, 8 v. 9 10 GOOGLE LLC, Defendant. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Case No. 15-cv-01824-BLF ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART UNOPPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE MOTIONS TO SEAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE [Re: ECF 406, 409] 12 Before the Court are two unopposed administrative motions to file under seal portions of 13 14 Defendant’s summary judgment motion and Plaintiff’s opposition thereto. ECF 406, 409. For the 15 reasons stated below, the motion at ECF 406 is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART, 16 and the motion at ECF 409 is GRANTED. 17 18 I. LEGAL STANDARD “Historically, courts have recognized a ‘general right to inspect and copy public records 19 and documents, including judicial records and documents.’” Kamakana v. City & Cty. Of 20 Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 21 U.S. 589, 597 & n. 7 (1978)). Accordingly, when considering a sealing request, “a ‘strong 22 presumption in favor of access’ is the starting point.” Id. (quoting Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. 23 Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003)). Parties seeking to seal judicial records relating to 24 motions that are “more than tangentially related to the underlying cause of action” bear the burden 25 of overcoming the presumption with “compelling reasons” that outweigh the general history of 26 access and the public policies favoring disclosure. Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrysler Grp., 809 F.3d 27 1092, 1099 (9th Cir. 2016); Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1178–79. 28 However, “while protecting the public’s interest in access to the courts, we must remain United States District Court Northern District of California 1 mindful of the parties’ right to access those same courts upon terms which will not unduly harm 2 their competitive interest.” Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Ltd., 727 F.3d 1214, 1228–29 (Fed. 3 Cir. 2013). Records attached to motions that are “not related, or only tangentially related, to the 4 merits of a case” therefore are not subject to the strong presumption of access. Ctr. for Auto 5 Safety, 809 F.3d at 1099; see also Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179 (“[T]he public has less of a need 6 for access to court records attached only to non-dispositive motions because those documents are 7 often unrelated, or only tangentially related, to the underlying cause of action.”). Parties moving 8 to seal the documents attached to such motions must meet the lower “good cause” standard of 9 Rule 26(c). Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179 (internal quotations and citations omitted). This 10 standard requires a “particularized showing,” id., that “specific prejudice or harm will result” if the 11 information is disclosed. Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v. Gen. Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 12 1210–11 (9th Cir. 2002); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c). “Broad allegations of harm, unsubstantiated by 13 specific examples of articulated reasoning” will not suffice. Beckman Indus., Inc. v. Int’l Ins. Co., 14 966 F.2d 470, 476 (9th Cir. 1992). A protective order sealing the documents during discovery 15 may reflect the court’s previous determination that good cause exists to keep the documents 16 sealed, see Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179–80, but a blanket protective order that allows the parties 17 to designate confidential documents does not provide sufficient judicial scrutiny to determine 18 whether each particular document should remain sealed. See Civ. L.R. 79-5(d)(1)(A) (“Reference 19 to a stipulation or protective order that allows a party to designate certain documents as 20 confidential is not sufficient to establish that a document, or portions thereof, are sealable.”). 21 In addition to making particularized showings of good cause, parties moving to seal 22 documents must comply with the procedures established by Civ. L.R. 79-5. Pursuant to Civ. L.R. 23 79-5(b), a sealing order is appropriate only upon a request that establishes the document is 24 “sealable,” or “privileged or protectable as a trade secret or otherwise entitled to protection under 25 the law.” “The request must be narrowly tailored to seek sealing only of sealable material, and 26 must conform with Civil L.R. 79-5(d).” Civ. L.R. 79-5(b). In part, Civ. L.R. 79-5(d) requires the 27 submitting party to attach a “proposed order that is narrowly tailored to seal only the sealable 28 material” which “lists in table format each document or portion thereof that is sought to be 2 1 sealed,” Civ. L.R. 79-5(d)(1)(b), and an “unredacted version of the document” that indicates “by 2 highlighting or other clear method, the portions of the document that have been omitted from the 3 redacted version.” Civ. L.R. 79-5(d)(1)(d). “Within 4 days of the filing of the Administrative 4 Motion to File Under Seal, the Designating Party must file a declaration as required by subsection 5 79-5(d)(1)(A) establishing that all of the designated material is sealable.” Civ. L.R. 79-5(e)(1). 6 II. DISCUSSION The Court has reviewed Defendant’s and Plaintiff’s sealing motions and the declarations of 7 8 the designating parties submitted in support. The Court finds that the parties have articulated 9 compelling reasons to seal certain portions of the submitted documents. The Court’s rulings on 10 the sealing requests are set forth in the tables below. United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 A. ECF No. 406-4 (407) 14 ECF 406 Document to be Sealed: Portions of Google’s Motion for Summary Judgment 15 16 17 18 19 Result Reasoning GRANTED as to redacted portions, except those citing Heath deposition. All redacted portions except those citing the Heath deposition reference sealable material in the below exhibits and are thus sealable. DENIED as to redacted portions citing the Heath deposition. The request is denied as to the redacted portions citing the Heath deposition because Plaintiff, the designating party, has not filed a declaration in support of the sealing. Civ. L.R. 79-5(e). GRANTED as to redacted portions. Google is ORDERED to file a version of this document with the Heath deposition cites unredacted in the public record no earlier than 4 days and no later than 10 days from the date of this order. There are compelling reasons to seal the redacted portions because they contain highly confidential and sensitive information relating to Google’s strategies and techniques for interviewing candidates, the release of which could harm Google. Mot. at 3, ECF 406; Ong. Decl. ¶¶ 4, 7, ECF 406-1; see ECF 105; ECF 198; ECF 253; ECF 298. 20 21 22 23 24 25 406-6 (407-1) Portions of Declaration of Brian Ong In Support of Google’s Motion to for Summary Judgment (“Ong Decl.”) 26 Because the redacted portions of the document may be sealed, no further action is required. Because Google has filed a redacted version of this document on the docket, no further action is required. 27 28 3 1 406-6 (407-1) Ong Decl. Ex. 1 (gHire dossier) 2 GRANTED as to entire document. 3 4 5 6 7 406-8 (407-2) 8 9 10 406-8 (407-2) United States District Court Northern District of California 11 Portions of Declaration of Elizabeth Falcone In Support of Google’s Motion for Summary Judgment (“Falcone Decl.”) Falcone Decl. Ex. 1 (Heath deposition excerpts) Because the entirety of the document may be sealed, no further action is required. Google includes this document in its proposed order, but the document contains no redactions. DENIED. Because the entirety of the document was filed in the public record, no further action is required. The request is denied because Plaintiff, the designating party, has not filed a declaration in support of the sealing. Civ. L.R. 79-5(e). DENIED. 12 13 14 406-8 (407-2) 15 Falcone Decl. Ex. 2 (Ong deposition excerpts) GRANTED as to entire document. 16 17 18 19 20 406-8 (407-2) Falcone Decl. Ex. 3 (Chun deposition excerpts) There are compelling reasons to seal the gHire dossier because it contains competitively sensitive information, and disclosure of the dossier could compromise the objectivity of interviewers’ assessments. Ong. Decl. ¶ 4. Similar documents were previously filed under seal pursuant to Court order. ECF 253. GRANTED as to entire document. 21 22 23 Google is ORDERED to file a version of this document in the public record no earlier than 4 days and no later than 10 days from the date of this order. There are compelling reasons to seal the entire excerpt because it contains highly confidential and sensitive information relating to Google’s strategies and techniques for training interviewers and interviewing candidates, the release of which could harm Google. Mot. at 3; Ong. Decl. ¶¶ 3(c), 5–7. Because the entirety of the document may be sealed, no further action is required. There are compelling reasons to seal the entire excerpt because it contains highly confidential and sensitive information relating to Google’s strategies and techniques for interviewing candidates, as well as confidential gHire dossier documents, the release of which could harm Google. Mot. at 3; Ong. Decl. ¶¶ 3(a), 5–7. Because the entirety of the document may be sealed, no further action is required. 24 25 26 27 28 4 1 406-8 (407-2) 2 Falcone Decl. Ex. 4 (Tang deposition excerpts) GRANTED as to entire document. 3 4 5 There are compelling reasons to seal the entire excerpt because it contains highly confidential and sensitive information relating to Google’s strategies and techniques for interviewing candidates, as well as confidential gHire dossier documents, the release of which could harm Google. Mot. at 3; Ong. Decl. ¶¶ 3(b), 5–7. Because the entirety of the document may be sealed, no further action is required. 6 7 B. 8 9 10 ECF No. 409-3 (408) United States District Court Northern District of California 11 ECF 409 Document to be Sealed: Plaintiff’s Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment Result Reasoning GRANTED as to redacted portions. 12 13 409-5 (408-3) 14 15 Exhibit A to Declaration of Dow W. Patten (Frank Tang Deposition Excerpts) GRANTED as to entire document. 16 17 18 409-6 (408-4) 19 20 Exhibit B to Declaration of Dow W. Patten (Documents Produced by Google) GRANTED as to entire documents. 21 22 23 24 25 409-7 (408-7) Exhibit E to Declaration of Dow W. Patten (Ong 30(b)(6) Deposition Excerpts) GRANTED as to entire document. 26 References sealable material in below exhibits. Because the redacted portions of the document may be sealed, no further action is required. There are compelling reasons to seal the entire excerpt because it contains highly confidential and sensitive information relating to Google’s strategies and techniques for interviewing candidates, release of which could harm Google. Ong Decl. ISO Pl. Mot. ¶¶ 3(a), 5–6, ECF 410. Because the entirety of the document may be sealed, no further action is required. There are compelling reasons to seal the documents because they contain highly confidential and sensitive information relating to Google’s strategies and techniques for interviewing candidates, release of which could harm Google. Ong Pl. Decl. ¶¶ 3(b), 5–6. Because the entirety of the documents may be sealed, no further action is required. There are compelling reasons to seal the entire excerpt because it contains highly confidential and sensitive information relating to Google’s strategies and techniques for training interviewers and interviewing candidates, the release of which could harm Google. Ong. Pl. Decl. ¶¶ 3(c), 5–6. Because the entirety of the document may be sealed, no further action is required. 27 28 5 1 2 3 4 III. ORDER For the foregoing reasons, the sealing motion at ECF 406 is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART, and the sealing motion at ECF 409 is GRANTED. 5 Google must file redacted versions of its summary judgment motion and the Heath 6 Declaration into the public record no earlier than 4 days and no later than 10 days from the filing 7 of this order. 8 IT IS SO ORDERED. 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 Dated: December 7, 2018 ______________________________________ BETH LABSON FREEMAN United States District Judge 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6