United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO SEAL
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion to
File Papers Under Seal. Dkt. #17. Plaintiffs seek to file
documents that contain personal information of public
institution clients, healthcare information, and records
relating to a plaintiff's mental illness and treatment.
Id. at 2. Plaintiffs certify they conferred with
opposing counsel via email and phone to discuss ways to
minimize the amount of material filed under seal.
Id. Plaintiffs indicate the parties agreed redaction
of the documents would not sufficiently protect the privacy
interests of Plaintiffs and other individuals named, and
Defendants' counsel purportedly did not object to filing
the documents under seal. Id. at 2-3. No response in
opposition to Plaintiffs' motion has been filed.
Id. at 2-3. For the reasons discussed below, the
Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' motion.
is a strong presumption of public access to the court's
files.” Local Civil Rule 5(g). Given this presumption,
parties “must explore all alternative to filing a
document under seal.” LCR 5(g)(1). Parties who cannot
avoid filing documents under seal can move to seal a
document. LCR 5(g)(2). Besides certifying their attempts to
agree about the need to file documents under seal, a
party's motion to seal must include “a specific
statement of the applicable legal standard and the reasons
for keeping a document under seal.” LCR 5(g)(3). This
statement must explain the following: “i. the
legitimate private or public interests that warrant the
relief sought; ii. the injury that will result if the relief
sought is not granted; and iii. why a less restrictive
alternative to the relief sought is not sufficient.”
Id. For nondispositive motions, “this
presumption may be overcome by a showing of good
cause.” Kamakana v. City and County of
Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178-79 (9th Cir. 2006)
(internal citations omitted). For dispositive motions,
parties must make a “compelling showing” that the
public's right of access is outweighed by the
parties' interest in protecting the documents.
seek to file the following documents under seal:
1. April 2016 list of Developmental Disabilities
Administration (DDA) clients seeking Supported Living
2. December 2015 list of Residential Habilitation Center
residents seeking discharge;
3. Plaintiff J.P.'s Psychology Review from Rainier School
dated November 9, 2012;
4. Plaintiff J.P's Psychiatric Assessment from Rainier
School dated January 9, 2013; and
5. Plaintiff J.P's Individual Habilitation Plan from
Rainier School dated November 13, 2013.
these documents are attached to a declaration in support of
Plaintiffs' motions for class certification and partial
summary judgment, Plaintiff must make a compelling showing
that the public's right of access to these documents is
outweighed by their interests in protecting their disclosure.
explain Items 1 and 2, the April 2016 and December 2015 lists
from the Department of Social and Health Services
(“DSHS”), were obtained under Plaintiffs'
counsel's authority under the Developmental Disabilities
Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000. Dkt. #17 at 2
(citing 42 U.S.C. § 15043). Because federal regulations
indicate that information obtained under the Developmental
Disabilities Bill of Rights Act must be kept confidential,
Plaintiffs reason the secrecy of these lists must be
maintained. Id.; see 45 C.F.R. §
1326.28. Regarding Items 3-5, Plaintiff explains these
documents are records maintained for a client, Plaintiff
J.P., of a public institution, and these documents are all
related to Plaintiff J.P.'s mental health and treatment.
Id. Plaintiffs contend public disclosure of Items
1-5 adversely affects the privacy interests of Plaintiff J.P.
and the individuals named on the lists. Id.
Plaintiffs further argue disclosure of these lists serves no
public purpose or benefit. Id.
Court, having reviewed the documents Plaintiffs seek to seal,
agrees that compelling confidentiality concerns justify
maintaining all five documents under seal. All five documents
contain personal and healthcare-related information whose
disclosure would infringe on the privacy interests of the
individuals named in the documents. Maintaining the secrecy
of these documents protects the legitimate privacy interests
of those individuals. What's more, the Court agrees