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Reinhardt v. Aerotek, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

February 9, 2017

AEROTEK, INC., Defendant.

          R. Anthony Costello William E. Corum (KS # 17324) R. Anthony Costello (KS # 21964) HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP Attorneys for Defendant Aerotek, Inc.

          Darren E. Fulcher Darren E. Fulcher (KS # 19373) THE FULCHER FIRM, P.C., Attorney for Plaintiff Rachel Reinhart.



         The parties agree that during the course of discovery it may be necessary to disclose certain confidential information relating to the subject matter of this action. They agree that certain categories of such information should be treated as confidential, protected from disclosure outside this litigation, and used only for purposes of prosecuting or defending this action and any appeals. The parties jointly request entry of this proposed Protective Order to limit the disclosure, dissemination, and use of certain identified categories of confidential information.

         The parties assert in support of their request that protection of the identified categories of confidential information is necessary because Plaintiff alleges that: (a) she was deprived of a bonus to which she was entitled; (b) similarly-situated male employees were not similarly-deprived; and (c) she suffered financial and emotional damages. Discovery is likely to involve the production of information and documents regarding Aerotek's Sales Compensation Policy, which Aerotek deems highly confidential and proprietary information, because the manner and terms in which Aerotek pays its sales employees is essential to how it attracts and retains internal talent. Aerotek's compensation policies and philosophies give it a competitive advantage over other staffing companies in the marketplace.

         Discovery is also likely to involve the compensation received by Plaintiff and current or former employees of Aerotek to whom Plaintiff will compare herself. These Aerotek employees are non-parties and trust Aerotek to keep their personal information confidential. Salary information is private to each employee and should be held private unless each employee's personal consent has been granted. The same is true of any other personal and confidential information found in such employees' personnel files and other personnel documents.

         In light of Plaintiff's alleged damages, discovery is also likely to involve Plaintiff's tax returns and medical records. Such information is personal and confidential to Plaintiff and, thus, should be protected.

         For good cause shown under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c), the court grants the parties' joint request and hereby enters the following Protective Order:

         1. Scope.

         All documents and materials produced in the course of discovery of this case, including initial disclosures, responses to discovery requests, all deposition testimony and exhibits, and information derived directly therefrom (hereinafter collectively “documents”), are subject to this Order concerning Confidential Information as set forth below. As there is a presumption in favor of open and public judicial proceedings in the federal courts, this Order will be strictly construed in favor of public disclosure and open proceedings wherever possible.

         2. Definition of Confidential Information.

         As used in this Order, “Confidential Information” is defined as information that the producing party designates in good faith has been previously maintained in a confidential manner and should be protected from disclosure and use outside the litigation because its disclosure and use is restricted by statute or could potentially cause harm to the interests of the disclosing party or nonparties. For purposes of this Order, the parties will limit their designation of “Confidential Information” to the following categories of information or documents:

a. Aerotek's written Sales Compensation Policy and closely-related information and documents;
b. The specific compensation paid by Aerotek and received by other Aerotek Account Managers;
c. Personal and confidential information regarding non-parties, including that found in the personnel files and other personnel documents of non-parties;
d. Plaintiff's medical records; and
e. Plaintiff's tax returns.

         Information or documents that are available to the public may not be designated as Confidential Information.

         3.Form and Timing of Designation.

         The producing party may designate documents as containing Confidential Information and therefore subject to protection under this Order by marking or placing the words “CONFIDENTIAL - SUBJECT TO PROTECTIVE ORDER” (hereinafter “the marking”) on the document and on all copies in a manner that will not interfere with the legibility of the document. As used in this Order, “copies” includes electronic images, duplicates, extracts, summaries or descriptions that contain the Confidential Information. The marking will be applied prior to or at the time the documents are produced or disclosed. Applying the marking to a document does not mean that the document has any status or protection by statute or otherwise except to the extent and for the purposes of this Order. Copies that are made of any designated documents must also bear the marking, except that indices, electronic databases, or lists of documents that do not contain substantial portions or images of the text of marked documents and do not otherwise disclose the substance of the Confidential Information are not required to be marked. By marking a designated document as confidential, the designating attorney or party appearing pro se thereby certifies that the document contains Confidential Information as defined in this Order.

         4. Inadvertent Failure to Designate.

         Inadvertent failure to designate any document or material as containing Confidential Information will not constitute a waiver of an otherwise valid claim of confidentiality pursuant to this Order, so long as a claim of confidentiality is asserted within seven (7) days after discovery of the inadvertent failure.

         5. ...

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