This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/18/2019 at 23:11:42 (UTC).

JANE DOE VS SUNTRUST BANKS INC ET AL

Case Summary

On 06/13/2017 JANE DOE filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against SUNTRUST BANKS INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is ROBERT L. HESS. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****4898

  • Filing Date:

    06/13/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

ROBERT L. HESS

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

DOE JANE

JAIKUMAR SROOTHI

Defendants and Respondents

SUNTRUST BANKS INC

DOES 1 TO 50

SUNTRUST ROBINSON HUMPHREY INC

DOES 1 THROUGH 50

SUNTRUST ROBINSON HUMPHREY INC.

SUNTRUST BANKS INC.

EICHLER AARON

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

GERAGOS & GERAGOS

GERAGOS & GERAGOS APC

GERAGOS MARK J.

Defendant Attorneys

ALSTON & BIRD LLP

DOTY MARTHA S.

GARCIA LISA L.

 

Court Documents

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF AARON EICHLER

2/9/2018: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF AARON EICHLER

PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS SUNTRUST BANKS, INC.'S AND SUNTRUST ROBINSON HUMPHREY, INC.'S DEMURRER

4/20/2018: PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS SUNTRUST BANKS, INC.'S AND SUNTRUST ROBINSON HUMPHREY, INC.'S DEMURRER

Minute Order

5/8/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

5/10/2018: Minute Order

NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT AND OF ORDER FOR PLAINTIFF TO GIVE NOTICE

6/21/2018: NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT AND OF ORDER FOR PLAINTIFF TO GIVE NOTICE

Unknown

9/13/2018: Unknown

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

10/18/2018: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

Stipulation and Order

12/10/2018: Stipulation and Order

Stipulation and Order

1/24/2019: Stipulation and Order

Reply

3/21/2019: Reply

Declaration

3/25/2019: Declaration

Minute Order

3/28/2019: Minute Order

Request for Dismissal

4/10/2019: Request for Dismissal

Unknown

1/4/2018: Unknown

Unknown

1/9/2018: Unknown

Minute Order

1/11/2018: Minute Order

STIPULATION AND ORDER TO EXTEND TIME FOR SUNTRUST DEFENDANTS TO RESPOND TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

8/10/2017: STIPULATION AND ORDER TO EXTEND TIME FOR SUNTRUST DEFENDANTS TO RESPOND TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

STIPULATION AND ORDER TO EXTEND TIME FOR SUNTRUST DEFENDANTS TO RESPOND TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

8/25/2017: STIPULATION AND ORDER TO EXTEND TIME FOR SUNTRUST DEFENDANTS TO RESPOND TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

88 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/07/2019
  • at 2:07 PM in Department 34; Non-Appearance Case Review

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  • 06/07/2019
  • Notice of Settlement; Filed by SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 06/07/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Non-Appearance Case Review) of 06/07/2019); Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/07/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Non-Appearance Case Review)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/05/2019
  • at 09:00 AM in Department 34; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 04/12/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 34; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

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  • 04/10/2019
  • Request for Dismissal; Filed by Sroothi Jaikumar (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/28/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 34; Hearing on Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (CCP 877.6) - Held - Motion Denied

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  • 03/28/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement ...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/28/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by Aaron Eichler (Defendant)

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170 More Docket Entries
  • 08/08/2017
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/08/2017
  • NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 06/22/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 06/22/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 06/22/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/22/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/13/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff); AN SROOTHI JAIKUMAR (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/13/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. SEXUAL HARASSMENT CIVIL CODE 51.9; ETC

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  • 06/13/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 06/13/2017
  • Summons; Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC664898    Hearing Date: January 10, 2020    Dept: 34

SUBJECT: Motion to Seal Motion for Good Faith Settlement Papers

Moving Party: Defendant Aaron Eichler

Resp. Party: None

Defendant Eichler’s motion to seal records is DENIED.

BACKGROUND:

Plaintiff Sroothi Jaikumar commenced this action against Defendants SunTrust Banks, Inc., SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., and Aaron Eichler on June 13, 2017, asserting causes of action for (1) Sexual Harassment- Civil Code Section 51.9; (2) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; and (3) negligent retention and supervision. Plaintiff then filed a first amended complaint on February 22, 2018. On May 18, 2018, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint (“SAC”) for the same causes of action as the complaint and first amended complaint. Plaintiff alleges Defendant Aaron Eichler sent a sexually graphic picture Plaintiff through LinkedIn (SAC, Exh. 3) and that one SunTrust entity was Defendant Eichler’s employer at the time of the alleged incident involving the transmission of the picture, and that the other SunTrust entity was a parent company. (See SAC, ¶ 4.)

On March 28, 2019, the Court granted Defendant Aaron Eichler’s motion for determination of good faith settlement.

On April 10, 2019, dismissal of the entire against Defendant Aaron Eichler was entered.

On June 7, 2019, Suntrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc. filed a notice of settlement.

On July 19, 2019, dismissal of the entire action was entered.

On December 17, 2019, Defendant Aaron Eichler filed the instant unopposed motion to seal the motion for good faith settlement papers.

ANALYSIS:

A. Relevant Law

A party that requests that a record or portion of a record be filed under seal must file a motion or an application for an order sealing it. The motion must be accompanied by a supporting memorandum and a declaration containing facts sufficient to justify the sealing. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.551(b)(1); Savaglio v Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 588, 597-601.) All parties that have appeared in the case must be served with a copy of the motion or application. Unless the judge orders otherwise, a party that already possesses copies of the records to be sealed must be served with a complete, unredacted version of all papers as well as a redacted version. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.551(b)(2).)

The moving party must lodge the record with the court in a separate envelope when the motion or application is made, unless good cause exists for not lodging it or it has been lodged previously. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.551(b)(4) and (d).) The lodged record is conditionally under seal pending the judge's determination of the motion or application. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.551(b)(4).)

Pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 2.550(d), a judge may order that a record be filed under seal only if the judge expressly finds facts that establish all the following:

(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 (4) No less restrictive means exist to achieve the overriding interest. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.550(d).)

In ruling on a motion to seal, the court must weigh the competing interests and concerns. This process necessitates (1) identifying the specific information claimed to be entitled to protection from public disclosure, (2) identifying the nature of the harm threatened by disclosure, and (3) identifying and accounting for countervailing considerations. (H.B. Fuller Co. v. Doe (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 879, 894.) Therefore, in order to prevail on his motion, the moving party must present a specific enumeration of the facts sought to be withheld and the specific reasons for withholding them. (H.B. Fuller Co., 151 Cal.App.4th at 904.)

The California Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment provides “a right of access to ordinary civil trial and proceedings.” (NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV), Inc. v. Superior Court (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1178, 1212.) The court further noted its belief that “the public has an interest, in all civil cases, in observing and assessing the performance of its public judicial system.” (Id., at 1210.) There is a presumption of openness in civil court proceedings. (Id., at 1217.) This presumption may apply to seemingly private proceedings. (Burkle v. Burkle (2006) 135 Cal. App.4th 1045, 1052 (divorce proceedings).) Therefore, it is up to this Court to determine if that presumption has been overcome.

Courts must find compelling reasons, prejudice absent sealing and the lack of less-restrictive means, before ordering filed documents sealed. (Hurvitz v. Hoefflin (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 1232, 1246; NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV), Inc. v. Sup. Ct. (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1178, 1208-09 n. 25; Champion v. Sup. Ct. (1988) 201 Cal.App.3d 777, 787.) A proposed sealing must be narrowly tailored to serve the overriding interest, such as by sealing portions of pleadings or redacting particular text. (In re Marriage of Burkle (2006) 135 Cal.App.4th 1045, 1052, 1070.) An application to seal must be accompanied by a declaration containing facts sufficient to justify sealing. (Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 2.551(b)(1).)

A “contractual obligation not to disclose can constitute an overriding interest” is sufficient to justify sealing the requested documents so long as the moving party establishes that disclosure of the information will result in substantial prejudice. (Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Superior Court (2003) 110 Cal. App. 4th 1273, 1283-1284.)

B. Discussion

Defendant Eichler moves to seal the following documents:

1. Eichler’s Motion for Good Faith Settlement Determination;

2. The Declaration of Amitabh Banerji, including all exhibits attached to that declaration, filed in support of Eichler’s Motion for Good Faith Settlement Determination;

3. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc.’s opposition to Eichler’s Motion for Good Faith Settlement Determination;

4. Declaration of Martha S. Doty, including all exhibits attached to that declaration, in support of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc.’s opposition to Eichler’s Motion for Good Faith Settlement Determination;

5. Plaintiff’s Reply in support of Eichler’s Motion for Good Faith Settlement Determination;

6. Declaration of Ben Meiselas, including all exhibits attached to that declaration, in support of Plaintiff’s Reply in support of Eichler’s Motion for Good Faith Settlement Determination;

7. Declaration of Mallory Whitelaw, including all exhibits attached to that declaration, in support of Plaintiff’s Reply in support of Eichler’s Motion for Good Faith Settlement Determination;

8. Eichler’s Reply in support of his Motion for Good Faith Settlement Determination;

9. The Court’s Order Granting Eichler’s Motion for Good Faith Settlement Determination. (Notice of Motion, p. 2:7-27.)

Defendant Eichler agues that “the terms of the settlement between Eichler and Plaintiff were intended to be confidential, and that settlement would be undermined if the terms of the settlement remain publicly accessible.” (Id. at p. 3:1-3.) Defendant Eichler explains that “because there was another Defendant in the case when Eichler and Plaintiff settled (SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc. (‘Suntrust’)), Eichler had to file a motion for good faith settlement determination.” (Motion, p. 1:7-9.) Defendant Eichler seeks “to seal all papers referencing the terms of Plaintiff and Eichler’s settlement so that the parties’ agreement regarding confidentiality can be honored.” (Id. at p. 1:10-12.)

Defendant Eichler maintains that “the parties’ interests in maintaining the confidentiality of a private settlement outweighs any public interest in accessing a private, confidential settlement.” (Id. at p. 2:8-9.) Defendant Eichler asserts that “the parties’ settlement will be undermined if all court documents related to Eichler’s motion for good faith determination are not sealed” because “part of the purpose of the settlement was to put the dispute behind the parties, and for the resolution of the sensitive dispute to remain confidential.” (Id. at p. 2:10-14.) Defendant Eichler argues that “allowing the settlement to be publicly accessible defeats the purpose of the settlement.” (Id. at p. 2:14-15.) Defendant Eichler also asserts that “the proposed sealing is narrowly tailored, and no less restrictive means exist to achieve the parties’ interest” because “the proposed sealing is limited to documents that reveal the terms of the settlement: the motion and related documents, the opposition and related documents, the reply, and the order granting the motion.” (Id. at p. 2:16-19.)

The Court finds that Defendant Eichler has not meet his burden to show that compelling reasons, prejudice absent sealing and the lack of less-restrictive means, to justify ordering filed documents sealed. Defendant Eichler does not demonstrate that this these documents in their entirety should be sealed. The proposed sealing is not narrowly tailored to achieve the parties’ interest in keeping confidential only the sensitive material in the settlement, as Defendant Eichler does not request to seal only portions of pleadings, or redact particular text, but rather seeks to seal nine different documents in their entirety.

The Court recognizes that this motion is unopposed. The Court also recognizes that the parties’ agreement in a settlement agreement not to disclose can constitute an overriding interest. However, as was the case in Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Superior Court, the moving party has not established that the disclosure of the entirety of these documents will result in substantial prejudice. (See Id. at p. 1284 [“no substantial prejudice to the contractual obligation not to disclose has been proven. . . .Defendant has failed to make any showing of prejudice to any of its legitimate commercial interests if the . . . agreement is unsealed.”])

The Court DENIES Defendant Eichler’s motion to seal the motion for good faith settlement papers.