United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
NEW FLYER INDUSTRIES CANADA ULC, and NEW FLYER OF AMERICA INC., Plaintiffs,
RUGBY AVIATION, LLC d/b/a SAN JUAN AIRLINES, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO REMOVE
CONFIDENTIALITY DESIGNATIONS AND GRANTING CONTINGENT MOTION
S. Lasnik United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court on the “Motion to Remove
Confidentiality Designations and Contingent Motion to
Seal” filed by defendant Rugby Aviation, LLC d/b/a San
Juan Airlines (“San Juan Airlines”). Dkt. #48.
Juan Airlines' motion for summary judgment, Dkt. #42,
refers to various materials that plaintiffs New Flyer
Industries Canada ULC, along with its subsidiary, New Flyer
of America Inc. (together, “New Flyer”) have
designated as “confidential” pursuant to their
Stipulated Protective Order. Dkt. #20. That order defines
“Confidential” material as follows:
“CONFIDENTIAL” material shall include the
following documents and tangible things produced or otherwise
exchanged: technical information, marketing and business
plans, databases, specifications, formulations, tooling,
prototypes, sketches models, drawings specifications,
procurement requirements, engineering information, samples,
computer software (source and object codes), forecasts,
financial information, including information on sales, costs,
and/or profits, identity of or details about actual or
potential customers or projects, techniques, inventions,
discoveries, know-how and trade secrets.
Dkt. #20 at ¶ 2. The agreement does not apply to
information that is in the public domain. Id. at
¶ 3. San Juan Airlines' motion concerns (1) several
lines from the deposition of Jennifer Moen, (2) an invoice
for the creation of the New Flyer logo, (3) a list of buses
New Flyer sold to various customers, and (4) a flowchart. It
requests that the confidentiality designations be removed or,
on a contingent basis, that the documents be sealed. Dkt.
is a strong presumption of public access to the court's
files.” LCR 5(g). The presumption is “based on
the need for federal courts, although independent-indeed,
particularly because they are independent-to have a measure
of accountability and for the public to have confidence in
the administration of justice.” Ctr. for Auto
Safety v. Chrysler Grp., LLC, 809 F.3d 1092, 1096 (9th
Cir. 2016) (citation omitted). A “court may seal
records only when it finds a compelling reason and
articulates the factual basis for its ruling, without relying
on hypothesis or conjecture.” Id. at 1096-97
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted). What
constitutes a compelling reason is “best left to the
sound discretion of the trial court.” Id. at
1097 (quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc.,
435 U.S. 589, 599 (1978)).
seeking to seal a document must provide a “specific
statement of the applicable legal standard and the reasons
for keeping a document under seal, including an explanation
of  the legitimate private or public interests that
warrant the relief sought;  the injury that will result if
the relief sought is not granted; and  why a less
restrictive alternative to the relief sought is not
sufficient.” LCR 5(g)(3)(B); see Dkt. #52 at
Moen Deposition Testimony
Court has already denied San Juan Airlines' previous
motion to remove the confidentiality designations on these
portions of Jennifer Meon's deposition testimony. Dkt.
#66 at 9-10. New Flyer does not assert that the identities of
its Washington customers are confidential, only the identity
of the employee selected to manage them. Dkt. #52 at 6.
Moreover, it is not clear why San Juan Airlines needed to
refer to Ms. Moen's testimony specifically to make the
point that New Flyer does not sell buses to Whatcom
Transportation Authority. See Dkt. #46 at ¶ 15;
Ex. 1, Dkt. #46-1 at 49:1-50:25, 185:18-186:5.
New Flyer Invoice
Flyer designated as confidential an invoice dated March 31,
2004 concerning the development of its logo and tagline. Ex.
1, Dkt. #49-1 at 64. As the invoice relates to New
Flyer's marketing and finances, the Court finds that it
should be kept confidential. See Evans v. DSW, Inc.,
No. CV1603791JGBSPX, 2019 WL 91835, at *3 (CD. Cal. Jan. 2,
2019); Dkt. #52 at 8. More importantly, the Court did not
refer to the invoice at all in its ruling. It was irrelevant.
In re iPhone Application Litig., No.
11-MD-02250-LHK, 2013 WL 12335013, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 25,
2013) (“In granting Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment …, the Court did not rely on any of the
material the parties seek to seal. Because the documents that
are the subject of [the motion to seal] are unrelated to the
Court's reasoning in its … Order, public access to
these records will not further the public's understanding
of the reasoning underlying the Court's decision.”)
(citing Apple Inc. v. Samsung Elecs. Co., 727 F.3d
1214, 1226 (Fed. Cir. 2013)).
New Flyer List of Buses
Flyer designated as confidential a list, by year, of the
number of buses and bus models that it has sold to specific
customers in Washington and Canada, as well as the pricing
associated with the sales. Ex. 1, Dkt. #49-1 at 69-70. It
argues that although a member of the public might be able to
find out individual pieces of information within the
document, see Dkt. #48 at 7, New Flyer
“prepared this analytical compilation so that it
[could] evaluate all of its customer sales with this single
snapshot.” Dkt. #52 at 9. If made public, it would
cause competitive harm to New Flyer. Id. at 9-10.
The Court agrees. More importantly, the Court did not refer
to the list at all in its ruling. It was irrelevant. See
Apple Inc., 727 F.3d at 1226 (concluding that the public
had “minimal interest in [the sealed]