E-Filing Under Seal
Confidential documents must be filed under seal (see Civil Local Rule 79-5.)
The Court authorized the e-filing of confidential documents under seal in civil cases beginning in 2010 with General Order (GO) 62. This page explains the procedures required by the combination of Civil LR 79-5 and GO 62. The procedure for e-filing under seal consists of 3 steps, explained in detail on this page. To avoid unintentionally disclosing confidential information, read all instructions on this page before you begin. If you do make an e-filing mistake, follow the instructions on the Correcting E-Filing Mistakes page.
IMPORTANT: This page outlines the steps required to e-file a confidential document under seal under the authorities cited above. Opposing an Administrative Motion is not covered by the above rules, but is subject to Civil L.R. 7-11(b): an opposition must be filed within 4 days & may not exceed 5 pages (excluding exhibits and declarations) & must be accompanied by a proposed order.
|E-Filing the Administrative Motion to File Under Seal.|
|Lodging and serving IN PAPER the Administrative Motion papers AND the confidential document.|
|(If the Administrative Motion is granted) E-filing the confidential document.|
IMPORTANT : The following instructions apply if the moving party is also the party who has designated the document at issue as confidential. If a different party has designated the document as confidential, different procedures, detailed separately on this page, apply.
- In ECF, select Civil → Motions:
- Select Administrative Motion to File Under Seal:
- Enter the case number and filer information as usual.
- When prompted to upload your documents, upload your Administrative Motion as the main document; upload your Declaration and the Proposed Order as separate attachments. Type "Declaration" in the text box for the Declaration; use the pull-down menu to select Proposed Order:
IMPORTANT: Do not upload the confidential document that you plan to file under seal at this step. You will lodge it with the Court in paper in Step II.
- On the next screen, do not uncheck the box; simply hit "submit" to go to the next screen:
These documents will be given a sealed restriction. Uncheck this to remove the restriction to viewing these documents.
- On the next screen, uncheck the boxes for the "Main Document" and the Proposed Order. In most cases, you will also uncheck the box for the Declaration.
The Administrative Motion and the Proposed Order should never contain confidential information. Whenever possible, the Declaration should be drafted so that it does not contain confidential information and does not need to be filed under seal.
The Declaration should state "paragraphs 5-7 of the confidential document submitted herewith contain proprietary code," NOT "<@%&$#_>, in paragraphs 5-7 of the confidential document, is proprietary code."
Only if there is no way to avoid including confidential information in the Declaration should the Declaration be filed under seal.
A recommended practice is to e-file, attached to the Declaration, a REDACTED version of the confidential document that will be visible on the public docket of the case. (You will lodge and serve the unredacted version in Step II.)IMPORTANT: Never put confidential information in the Administrative Motion or Proposed Order: during the post-filing quality control process, Court staff will unlock motions and/or proposed orders that are improperly marked "sealed" and their contents will become readable by the public.
- Complete the remaining e-filing steps. The Motion and Proposed Order will be viewable by the public, but the Declaration will be marked *Restricted* and will not be viewable by the public or the filer.
- Email the Proposed Order to the Judge's Proposed Order email address using the procedure for Proposed Orders.
STEP II: Lodging and serving IN PAPER the Administrative Motion papers AND the confidential document
- Serve the other parties manually with the under-seal declaration, if any, and the confidential document.
- By noon the next business day after e-filing the Administrative Motion, lodge with the Clerk's Office for delivery to the Judge's chambers a copy of the entire filing, including the confidential document, contained in an 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch sealed envelope or other suitable sealed container, with a cover sheet affixed to the envelope or container, setting out the information required by Civil L.R. 3-4(a) and (b) prominently displaying the notation: "DOCUMENT SUBMITTED UNDER SEAL AND CHAMBERS COPY" no later than noon on the business day following the day that the Administrative Motion is filed electronically. See GO 62(3) and Civil L.R. 79-5(c)(3) & (4).
- A recommended practice is to lodge and serve BOTH the confidential document AND a proposed redacted version of the confidential document (preferably a redacted version that you have e-filed pursuant to the recommended practice in Step I-6).
- When using the e-filing procedures on this page, omit lodging a copy with the Clerk's Office per Civil L.R. 79-5(b)(3) & (c)(3); those provisions are deemed amended by GO 62. The Clerk's Office no longer keeps lodged copies of documents to be filed under seal.
Wait for the Judge to rule on the Administrative Motion to File Under Seal.
A. If your Administrative Motion is DENIED, GO 62(4) spells out your options:
- Denied in full: refrain from using the document in the case OR e-file the document unsealed within 4 days;
- Denied in part: resubmit the document in conformance with the Court's order within 4 days.
B. If your motion is GRANTED in whole or in part, promptly follow these steps to e-file the confidential document. Do not resubmit the document to the Court in paper format:
- In ECF, click on Civil → Other Documents, then select Document E-filed Under Seal.
- Enter the case number and filer information as usual.
- When prompted to upload your documents, upload the document to be e-filed under seal as the main document and hit "submit."
- You must link this filing to the Order granting your Administrative Motion. Make sure the box for that Order is checked on this screen:
- On the "Docket Text: Modify as Appropriate" screen, enter the title of the document that you are filing under seal, if appropriate. As this docket text will be displayed to the public, do not enter any confidential information in the docket text.
- Complete the e-filing process. Once the filing is completed, the document will not be viewable by the public or the filer; only the Judge and Court staff will be able to view the document.
- Unless you have been granted permission to maintain the entire document under seal, e-file a version of the document redacted in conformance with the Court's order.
Procedures that apply when one party wishes to e-file a document that has been designated confidential by another party
- The moving party files and serves an Administrative Motion and serves and lodges the confidential document AND, if less than the entire document is designated confidential, a redacted version of the document.
- The moving party does not file the declaration described in Civil L.R. 79-5(b)(1) & (c)(1) and does not submit the proposed order described in 79-5(b)(2) & (c)(2).
- Within 7 days of the filing and service of the Administrative Motion, the party who designated the document at issue as confidential must file and serve a declaration establishing that the designated information is sealable, and must lodge and serve a narrowly tailored proposed sealing order, or must withdraw the designation of confidentiality.
- If the designating party takes no action in response to the Administrative Motion, the document will be made part of the public record.