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Holick v. Burkhart

United States District Court, D. Kansas

May 14, 2018

MARK HOLICK, Plaintiff,
v.
JULIE A. BURKHART, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER ON OBJECTION TO CONFIDENTIALITY DESIGNATIONS

          HON. KENNETH G. GALE, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Now before the Court is “Plaintiff's Objection to Defendant's Confidentiality Designation” (Doc. 155), in which asks the Court to “require [D]efendant to establish the necessity for confidentiality of each page” in Defendant's third document production. Having reviewed the submissions of the parties, Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED in part as more fully set forth herein.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In 2013, Defendant received a temporary order of protection from stalking against Plaintiff in Kansas state court (state court action). Plaintiff, who is a resident of Oklahoma, filed the present matter in federal district court on June 9, 2016, alleging malicious prosecution and abuse of process against Defendant, a Kansas resident, relating to the allegations levied against him in the state court action. (See generally, Doc. 84.)

         The Protective Order in effect in this case indicates that “[t]he 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, ” but acknowledges that the parties did not agree as to “the scope and mechanics” of the Order. (Doc. 79, at 1.) Defendant asserts that “protection of” certain categories of “confidential information is necessary to avoid the invasion of her privacy and risk of harassment and harm to her and others that could result from public disclosure of materials in this litigation.” (Id.) In conjunction with protections afforded to Plaintiff, the Court found this to be sufficient cause for entry of the Order. (Id.)

         In entering the Protective Order, the Court acknowledges the “presumption in favor of open and public judicial proceedings in the federal courts” and indicates the Order “will be strictly construed in favor of public disclosure and open proceedings wherever possible.” (Id., at 2.) The Protective Order defines “confidential information” as that which “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 disclosing party or nonparties.” (Id., at 2.) The Court ordered the parties to limit their designation of ‘Confidential Information' to the following categories of information or documents:

(a) private information, including but not limited to personal information not currently available to the public, non-public financial records or information, and non-public personnel or employee information;
(b) information that could jeopardize the safety of the parties or other individuals, or expose them to an increased risk of harm;
(c) any information about minor children.
Information or documents that are available to the public may not be designated as Confidential Information.

(Id., at 2-3.)

         The Protective Order continues that any party may challenge a confidential” designation by filing a motion after conferral with opposing counsel. (Id., at 7.) That stated, “[t]he burden of proving the necessity of a confidentiality designation remains with the party asserting confidentiality.” (Id., at 7-8.)

         Defendant produced 357 pages to Plaintiff in her third document production. (Doc. 155, at 1; Doc. 165, at 2.) All 357 pages were designated as “confidential” pursuant to the Protective Order entered in this case. (Doc. 155, at 1; see also Doc. 79.) Plaintiff brings the present motion “challeng[ing] the designation . . . and moves to require defendant to establish the necessity for confidentiality of each page in the Third Production.” (Doc. 155, at 1.) Since that original designation, Defendant submitted a “re-production” of documents, which “de-designated over 100 pages of ...


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