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Owens v. Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co. LLC

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

May 13, 2013

BRANDON W. OWENS, Individually And On Behalf Of All Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
DART CHEROKEE BASIN OPERATING CO. LLC, and CHEROKEE BASIN PIPELINE, LLC, Defendants.

John F. Edgar #18080, EDGAR LAW FIRM LLC, Kansas City, Missouri,

Rex A. Sharp, KBA # 12350, Barbara C. Frankland, KBA # 14198, GUNDERSON, SHARP & WALKE, L.L.P.

David E. Sharp KBA#10624, Gunderson Sharp & Walke, LLP, Houston, TX, ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF Brandon Owens.

Julia Gilmore Gaughan, Jeffery L. Carmichael, KS #11085, Will B. Wohlford, KS #21773 Morris Laing Evans Brock & Kennedy, Wichita, KS, and Julia Gilmore Gaughan, KS #23919, Topeka, KS, ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANTS, Dart Cherokee Basin Operating, Company, LLC and Cherokee Basin Pipeline, LLC.

AGREED PROTECTIVE ORDER

JAMES P. O'HARA, Magistrate Judge.

THIS MATTER for an Agreed Protective Order is before the Court on the Joint Motion of the parties. Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c) and the Guidelines for Agreed Protective Orders (District of Kansas), the Court finds that good cause exists for the entry of a protective order.

Plaintiff, Brandon W. Owens ("Plaintiff"), alleges that his lease for royalties arising from natural gas production was breached, and seeks relief for himself and a putative class of royalty owners against Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company, LLC and Cherokee Basin Pipeline, LLC ("Defendants") for the claimed underpayment of gas royalties on Kansas working interest wells. Documents already sought, and likely to be sought, in discovery include confidential commercial information of Defendants, including but not limited to well, gathering, and processing plant revenues and expenses, and sales of gas and its constituent products, as well as Defendants' internal financial analysis and business planning, pricing, and customers, such that disclosure of this information outside of this litigation might harm Defendants' business. The volume of documents and information already sought, and likely to be sought, in discovery is substantial, and the time required to review the entire universe of potentially responsive documents and information for responsiveness and privilege would materially delay the discovery process. Therefore, under the authority of Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c) and D. Kan. Rule 26.2, the Court has formulated a procedure that will facilitate discovery in this action, maintain the confidentiality of information produced in discovery that contains confidential commercial or proprietary information and protect privileged communications or information and trial preparation materials. The Court being fully advised on the premises and finding good cause for granting said Motion, it is hereby

ORDERED AS FOLLOWS:

Plaintiff and Defendants (collectively, "Parties, " or individually, a "Party"), through their respective counsel, having conferred, hereby stipulate and agree to the entry of the following protective order in the above captioned case (the "Litigation"). Defendants believe that its business is highly competitive and involves sensitive technical and commercial information, including trade secrets, and that the unrestricted use and disclosure of such information could cause irreparable injury to Defendants. Accordingly, good cause exists for entry of a protective order regarding the use and disclosure of commercially sensitive and trade secret information that is produced in discovery in the Litigation.

WHEREFORE, in recognition of the Parties' foregoing stipulated agreement,

IT IS ORDERED THAT:

1. This Order establishes procedures to facilitate discovery while maintaining the confidentiality of commercially sensitive and trade secret information (referred to here as "Confidential Information"). The Order establishes the parameters of Confidential Information, the protection and use of Confidential Information and for post-trial disposition of Confidential Information. This Order also governs the procedures for challenging designations of confidentiality. Further, this Order governs disposition of all confidential material produced or revealed during the course of this action.

2. This Order applies to all information and materials produced by Parties or non-parties during discovery in this Litigation designated as "Confidential, " including deposition testimony and transcripts; documents or tangible things produced by the Parties; and answers to interrogatories, requests for admissions and subpoenas.

3. Confidential Information shall not be used for any purpose unrelated to the prosecution or defense of the Litigation (including, without limitation, discovery, other pre-trial proceedings, trial, appeal, or settlement), provided that this restriction on use shall not be construed to prevent counsel or experts to whom Confidential Information is disclosed from representing or being retained by parties in other litigation, even though that other litigation may involve issues similar or identical to those involved in this Litigation. Confidential Information shall not be shown, made available, provided, communicated, or ...


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