Tuesday, November 5, 2013

“Hourly Rates, Total Hours, and Total Fees” May Not Be Submitted Under Seal

The court denied without prejudice defendant's motion to file under seal declarations in support of its motion for attorneys' fees. "The Court is unable to hold that good cause exists on the submitted papers. The Application provides only a perfunctory assertion that [the exhibits] contain 'proprietary business information for both [defendant] and [its counsel] and reflect the relationship and communication between attorneys and client.' [Defendant] does not discuss in any detail why the invoices and summary chart should not be revealed to the public, nor why any danger cannot be mitigated by redacting confidential information or privileged communications. District courts in this circuit have refused to seal documents relating to the hourly rates, total hours, and total fees paid to attorneys. . . . The Court notes that it has granted [a co-defendant’s] Application to File Under Seal . . . [That] Application sought only to seal detailed records of attorneys’ actions in the matter, while leaving public summaries showing hourly rates and total hours. [The co-defendant] convincingly argued that good cause exists to protect the detailed information because review of those records may provide insight into how [the co-defendant] pursues patent litigation. [Movant] may wish to proceed in the same manner.

SmartMetric Inc. v. MasterCard International Incorporated, et. al., 2-11-cv-07126 (CACD November 1, 2013, Order) (Fitzgerald, J.)

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