The Defendant, International Paper Company (“IPC”) filed an application for leave to file under seal a settlement agreement between Plaintiff and IPC’s codefendants and portions of IPC’s motion to dismiss that quoted the settlement agreement.
To analyze whether the settlement agreement and the quoted portions should be filed under seal, the district court noted that: “The public has a general right to inspect and copy judicial documents so that it can monitor how public agencies work.” See Kamakana v. City & County of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1178 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing Nixon v. Warner Commc’ns, Inc., 435 U.S. 589, 597 & n.7, 598 (1978)).
The district court explained that “[t]here is a strong presumption of public access to documents falling outside a narrow class of documents—such as grand jury transcripts and warrant materials in pending pre-indictment investigations—that have ‘traditionally been kept secret for important policy reasons.’ See id. To overcome the strong presumption of public access to judicial documents, a party seeking to seal such documents in dispositive motions must ‘articulate compelling reasons supported by specific factual findings that outweigh the general history of access and the public policies favoring disclosure, such as the public interest in understanding the judicial process.’ Id. at 1178-79 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). For non-dispositive motions, the party must provide good cause to seal. See Ctr. For Auto Safety v. Chrysler Grp., LLC, 809 F.3d 1092, 1096 (9th Cir. 2016). “Good cause is established on a showing that disclosure will work a clearly defined and serious injury to the party seeking closure. The injury must be shown with specificity.” Pansy v. Borough of Stroudsburg, 23 F.3d 772, 786 (3d Cir. 1994) (quoting Publicker Indus., Inc. v. Cohen, 733 F.2d 1059, 1071 (3d Cir. 1984)). Continue reading