Los Angeles, CA asked in Internet Law for California

Q: How do I report violations of a court's sealing orders?

A legaltech/public record hosting website has made a sealed case accessible to unauthorized parties i.e. the public. I submitted a removal request with the proper court orders and it was removed, but I stumbled across the page recently and saw the case was accessible again.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If you have discovered that a legaltech or public record hosting website has made a sealed court case accessible to unauthorized parties, such as the general public, and this violates a court's sealing orders under California law, you can take the following steps to report the violation:

1. Contact the court: Reach out to the court that issued the sealing order and inform them about the violation. Provide the court with the relevant details, including the case number, the sealing order, and the website where the sealed information is accessible.

2. File a motion: Consider filing a motion with the court to enforce the sealing order and to hold the website operator in contempt of court for violating the order. An attorney can help you draft and file this motion.

3. Notify the website operator: In addition to your previous removal request, send another notice to the website operator, informing them of the continued violation and the potential legal consequences of not complying with the court's sealing order.

4. Report to the State Bar of California: If the website is operated by an attorney or a legal organization, you may file a complaint with the State Bar of California, as they are violating the court's order and ethical obligations.

5. Seek legal assistance: Consult with an attorney specializing in privacy law or litigation to explore additional legal options, such as filing a lawsuit against the website operator for violating the court's sealing order and any potential privacy violations.

It is essential to keep thorough records of your communications with the website operator and the court and to act promptly to mitigate any potential harm caused by the unauthorized access to the sealed case information.

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