United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO SEAL
L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court are: (1) Plaintiff Edifecs, Inc.'s
(“Edifecs”) motion to seal a document related to
its motion for evidentiary sanctions (1st MTS (Dkt. # 29)),
(2) Defendant Welltok, Inc.'s (“Welltok”)
motion to seal documents related to its opposition to
Edifecs's motion for evidentiary sanctions (2d MTS (Dkt.
# 36)), and (3) Edifecs's motion to seal documents
related to its reply in support of its motion for evidentiary
sanctions (3rd MTS (Dkt. # 40)). The motions are
unopposed. (See generally Dkt.; see
also 1st MTS at 2; 2nd MTS at 2.) The court has
considered the motions, the parties' submissions
concerning the motions, the relevant portions of the record,
and the applicable law. Being fully advised,  the court GRANTS
the three motions to seal.
September 20, 2019, Edifecs filed a motion for evidentiary
sanctions. (See MFS (Dkt. # 27).) Welltok filed its
response on October 9, 2019. (MFS Resp. (Dkt. # 34).) Edifecs
filed its reply on October 11, 2019. (MFS Reply (Dkt. # 38).)
The parties now seek to seal the following documents filed in
conjunction with these filings:
• Exhibit 7 to the Declaration of Robert Uriarte.
(See 1st MTS at 2 (citing Uriarte Decl. (Dkt. # 29)
¶ 8, Ex. 7).)
• Exhibits 1A and 3A to the Declaration of Anne Cohen.
(See 2d MTS at 2 (citing Cohen Decl. (Dkt. # 35)
¶ 2, Ex. 1A; id. ¶ 4, Ex. 3A).)
• Portions of Exhibits 2 through 11 to the Declaration
of Aravind Swaminathan. (See 3rd MTS at 2 (citing
Swaminathan Decl. (Dkt. #39) ¶¶ 4-13, Exs. 2-11).)
deciding a motion to seal, courts “start with a strong
presumption in favor of access to court records.”
Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d
1122, 1135 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing Hagestad v.
Tragesser, 49 F.3d 1430, 1434 (9th Cir. 1995)). This
presumption, however, “is not absolute and can be
overridden given sufficiently compelling reasons for doing
so.” Id. (citing San Jose Mercury News,
Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Ct. N. Dist. (San Jose), 187 F.3d
1096, 1102 (9th Cir. 1999)). The standard for determining
whether to seal a record depends on the filing that the
sealed record is attached to. See Id. at 1136-37.
Because the sealed documents at issue here are attached to
motions that are “more than tangentially related to the
merits of [this] case, ” the court applies the
compelling reasons standard to determine if sealing is
appropriate. See Ctr. for Auto Safety v. Chrysler
Grp., 809 F.3d 1092, 1098-1102 (9th Cir. 2016).
the compelling reasons standard, the party seeking to seal a
judicial record bears the burden of showing that
“compelling reasons supported by specific factual
findings . . . outweigh the general history of access and the
public policies favoring disclosure.” Kamakana v.
City & Cty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178-79 (9th
Cir. 2006) (internal citations omitted). A failure to meet
that burden means that the record will be filed in public.
Id. at 1182. If a court decides to seal a record, it
must “base its decision on a compelling reason and
articulate the factual basis for its ruling.”
Id. at 1179 (quoting Hagestad, 49 F.3d at
1434). “In general, ‘compelling reasons'
sufficient to outweigh the public's interest in
disclosure and justify sealing court records exist when such
‘court files might have become a vehicle for improper
purposes,' such as the use of records to . . . release
trade secrets.” Kamakana, 447 F.3d at 1179
(quoting Nixon v. Warner Commc'ns, Inc., 435
U.S. 589, 598 (1978)). The final determination of what
constitutes a compelling reason is “best left to the
sound discretion of the trial court.” Nixon,
435 U.S. at 599.
addition, in the Western District of Washington, parties
seeking to file documents under seal must follow the
procedure laid out in Local Rule 5(g). See Local
Rules W.D. Wash. LCR 5(g). Pursuant to Local Rule 5(g), a
party filing a motion to seal must include “a
certification that the party has met and conferred with all
other parties in an attempt to reach agreement on the need to
file the document[s] under seal.” Id. LCR
5(g)(3)(A). The party seeking to seal the documents must also
explain the bases for requiring the relief. Id. LCR