Oliner v. Kontrabecki

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Bankruptcy Law
  • Date Filed: 03-20-2014
  • Case #: 12-15107
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge McKeown for the Court; Circuit Judges Wallace and Gould
  • Full Text Opinion

In order to seal all records of a civil proceeding, the party must show that there is an overriding compelling government interest in sealing the record.

Kontrabecki appeals the district court's refusal during an interlocutory motion to seal all records of the bankruptcy proceeding. The district court dismissed the motion citing jurisdictional issues. The Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction because motions to seal are appealable under Foltz v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co. The panel reviews district court decisions for abuse of discretion. The panel views judicial proceedings as having a presumption of being open and free to the public access and will only seal those records which are usually kept secret. Civil proceedings may be sealed and kept secret, when there is a compelling governmental interest. A lower “good cause” standard exists and can apply to non-dispositive information found during discovery. Both Oliner and Kontrabecki argue that the “good cause” standard should apply, however, and seal the entire judicial record. Kontrabecki argues that information contained within the judicial proceedings would be embarrassing and potential injurious to his business. However, the panel affirmed the lower courts decision to dismiss the motion citing that neither party has carried the heavy “compelling interest” burden that would effectuate the type of seal the parties wish for. AFFIRMED.

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