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Ensminger v. Credit Law Center, LLC

United States District Court, D. Kansas

June 28, 2019

MARK ENSMINGER, on behalf of himself and those similarly situated, Plaintiff,

          Amy L. Wells Plaintiff.

          Timothy Hudson Defendants.


          James P. O ''Hara U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         The parties agree during the course of discovery it may be necessary to disclose certain confidential information relating to the subject matter of this action. They agree 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 a 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 documents and information have been and may be sought, produced or exhibited by and among the parties to this action which represent, relate to, reflect and/or contain trade secrets, confidential research, development, technology and other proprietary information belonging to the Defendants, as wells as financial and account information, personal income, personal identifying information, and credit and collection information related to Plaintiff and Defendants' clients. The parties seek entry of this protective order to govern the handling of documents, depositions, deposition exhibits, interrogatory responses, admissions, testimony, and any other information produced, given or exchanged by and among the Parties and any non-parties in connection with the above-captioned matter.

         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, all electronically stored information (“ESI”) and tangible things (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 are 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. trade secrets;
b. confidential, proprietary, or commercially or personally sensitive information that qualifies for protection under state and/or federal law (including, without limitation, the standards set forth in Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1)(g)) and b);
c. financial and account information, personal income, personal identifying information, and credit and collection information related to Plaintiff
d. research, technical, commercial or financial information that the party has maintained as confidential;
e. personal identifying information, including, for example, Social Security Numbers or dates of birth); and f. (f) income tax returns (including attached schedules and forms), W-2 forms and 1099 forms.

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

         A party may designate a document as “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - FOR ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY.” The Parties agree that such designations will be made judiciously. The parties anticipate this may include documents reflecting net worth or credit reports or credit information of non-parties, trade secrets or other information that has been kept confidential and would be of commercial value in the credit repair industry (which may include contracts and agreements with third parties, information regarding business methods, modes, techniques, practices, forecasts, and plans, and personal information), the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of the party from which the information was obtained.

         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” or “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL - FOR ATTORNEY'S EYES ONLY” (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 twenty-five (25) business days after discovery of the inadvertent failure.

         5. Depositions.

         In the case of depositions or other pretrial testimony, a Producing Party may, during the deposition or within ten (10) business days after receipt of the final deposition transcript, notify the other Parties that the deposition includes or reveals Confidential Information. The Party claiming confidentiality shall designate specific portions of the transcript by page and line, and shall also designate specific portions of exhibits as Confidential Information. The Parties shall treat the entire transcript as Confidential until after the deadline for designation has passed; thereafter, only specifically designated testimony and exhibits shall be treated as Confidential Information. The Parties may modify this procedure for any particular deposition, through agreement on the record, without further order of the Court. For purposes of this paragraph, “final deposition transcript” means the transcript submitted by the court reporter to the witness for signature and/or correction, whether or not the witness has signed or corrected the transcript.

         6. Protection of Confidential Material.

         (a) ...

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