Judge: Serena R. Murillo, Case: BC706417, Date: 2022-08-16 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: BC706417    Hearing Date: August 16, 2022    Dept: 29



Defendant Turo, Inc.’s motion to seal is GRANTED.


Legal Standard


The procedure for filing records under seal is governed by California Rules of Court, Rules 2.550-51.  


The motion or application must be accompanied by a memorandum and a declaration containing facts sufficient to justify the sealing.  (CRC 2.551(b)(1).)  “The court may order that a record be filed under seal only if it expressly finds facts that establish:  


(1) There exists an overriding interest that overcomes the right of public access to the record;  


(2) The overriding interest supports sealing the record;  


(3) A substantial probability exists that the overriding interest will be prejudiced if the record is not sealed;  


(4) The proposed sealing is narrowly tailored; and  


(5) No less restrictive means exist to achieve the overriding interest. 


(CRC 2.550(d).)  Pursuant to Rule 2.550(e), “[a]n order sealing the record must: (A) Specifically state the facts that support the findings; and  (B) Direct the sealing of only those documents and pages, or, if reasonably practicable, portions of those documents and pages, that contain the material that needs to be placed under seal. All other portions of each document or page must be included in the public file.”  “Unless confidentiality is required by law, court records are presumed to be open.”  (CRC 2.550(c).)  


“Substantive courtroom proceedings in ordinary civil cases, and the transcripts and records pertaining to these proceedings, are presumptively open.” (McNair v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2015) 234 Cal.App.4th 25, 31.)  “A request to seal a document must be filed publicly and separately from the object of the request. It must be supported by a factual declaration or affidavit explaining the particular needs of the case.”  (In re Marriage of Lechowick (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 1406, 1416.)  “[A]t a minimum that the party seeking to seal documents, or maintain them under seal, must come forward with a specific enumeration of the facts sought to be withheld and specific reasons for withholding them.”  (H.B. Fuller Co. v. Doe (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 879, 894.)  



Defendant’s motion to seal is supported by the declaration of its counsel who attests that there is an overriding interest to seal its propriety business information contained in the deposition of its Person Most Qualified and which is subject to a protective order between the parties in this case. Defendant argues that the overriding interest overcomes the public interest to access the record.

Based on the confidential nature of the deposition testimony of Defendant’s PMQ and due to the parties’ protective order in this case, the court finds that there exists an overriding interest that overcomes the right of public access to documents reflecting Defendant’s confidential proprietary business information. Competitive harm may serve as an overriding interest that overcomes the right of public access to the record. (Universal City Studios v. Superior Court (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 1273, 1285-1286.) Moreover, the information is already subject to a Protective Order which supports the conclusion that the documents should be sealed. (See, e.g., Overstock.com, Inc. v. Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (2014) 231 Cal.App.4th 471, 484 [“As a practical matter, this has meant documents subject to a protective order often remain outside public purview on a ‘good cause’ showing akin to that which supported issuance of the protective order in the first place.”] [citing Phillips v. General Motors Corp. (9th Cir.2002) 307 F.3d 1206, 1213 [“When a court grants a protective order for information produced during discovery, it already has determined that ‘good cause’ exists to protect this information from being disclosed to the public by balancing the needs for discovery against the need for confidentiality.”]].) Additionally, the “enforcement of binding contractual obligations not to disclose” can form the basis of an order to seal. (NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV), Inc. v. Superior Court (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1178, 1207 fn. 46.)


Further, the motion is not opposed, and the parties have stipulated to a protective order.




Accordingly, Defendant’s motion to seal (1) the Deposition Transcript of Michael Wilkins as the Person Most Qualified for Defendant Turo Inc., (2) Turo’s Notice of Motion and Motion for Summary Adjudication, and (3) Turo’s Separate Statement of Undisputed Facts in Support of Motion for Summary Adjudication is GRANTED.


Moving party is ordered to give notice.