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Moley v. McCormick & Schmick Restaurant Corp.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

August 15, 2016

FRANCES MOLEY, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
McCORMICK & SCHMICK RESTAURANT CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

          PROTECTIVE ORDER

          GREG KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Defendant McCormick & Schmick Restaurant Corporation (“M&S”) has moved for a protective order (Doc. 28), filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c)(1). Plaintiffs and M&S generally agree that a protective order is appropriate and necessary for some of M&S’s proprietary information. However, Plaintiffs argue M&S proposes having the unilateral ability to deem any document as confidential information, which Plaintiffs fear can be abused, thereby complicating this relatively straightforward personal injury lawsuit.

         The Court finds that M&S’s proposed protective order is amply narrow, and does not give any Defendant the unilateral ability to deem any document as confidential information. Further, Plaintiffs have proposed no alternative language. Therefore, the motion is GRANTED.

         1. Purpose of Order. The purpose of this Order is to prevent the disclosure of matters deemed confidential under the terms of this Order and to facilitate the exchange of information among the parties. This Order is necessary to protect Defendants, their employees and other persons from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, undue burden, or expense, and to protect the confidential and proprietary business information of Defendants, including their proprietary recipes, supplier relationships, and contracts. The privacy interests of Defendants substantially outweigh the public’s right of access to judicial records. Good cause exists for the issuance of a protective order under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1) in order to limit the disclosure of documents and information appropriately deemed confidential.

         2. Confidential Information. Certain categories of documents and information, if produced or disclosed during this litigation, must be used only for purposes of this lawsuit and will be treated as Confidential Information. Confidential Information includes only:

a. Confidential and proprietary information relating to Defendants’ business practices and finances, including: trade secrets, recipes, internal policies, financial records, tax records, and by-laws;
b. Confidential and proprietary information relating to Defendants’ business relationships and expectancies with third parties, such as: business agreements and contracts; confidential correspondence; terms and nature of payments; and planned business openings or expansions;
c. Confidential and proprietary information relating to Defendants’ intellectual property, such as: documents concerning the development of trademarks, copyrights, and trade-dress; market studies; and marketing and branding plans;
d. Personal and confidential information about past or present employees of Defendants, including: employee personnel files, evaluations, wage or benefits information; tax forms and other tax documentation; personal information such as social security number, telephone number and residential address; and information relating to the employee’s job performance.

         3. Designating Material as Confidential. Any party may designate as confidential any document or discovery response produced after entry of this Order that qualifies as “Confidential Information” under Section 2 by conspicuously stamping or labeling the document or discovery response with the word “Confidential.” Any “Confidential” indication or designation applies not only to the original materials, but also to all copies, excerpts, abstracts, analyses, and summaries thereof. Except as otherwise provided in this Order, documents and information produced by a party may not be treated as confidential pursuant to this Order unless they are stamped or labeled in such a fashion. The inadvertent failure to designate material as “Confidential” does not preclude a party from subsequently making such a designation; in that case, the material (and any copy of the material) is treated as confidential only after the material has been properly designated.

         A party may designate deposition testimony as Confidential Information by advising opposing counsel in writing within 30 days after receiving a copy of the transcript-or at such other time as may be mutually agreed upon by the parties-of the pages and lines of the deposition that the designating party requires to be treated as confidential. All deposition transcripts must be treated as Confidential Information until the expiration of 30 days after receiving a copy of the transcript, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties in writing or on the record at the deposition. A party may, on the record at the deposition, designate deposition testimony as Confidential Information by advising all persons present that the party believes that the portion of the deposition in question falls under the scope of this Order.

         4. Disclosure of Confidential Information. Confidential Information must be treated as such by the parties or other persons receiving such materials, and must be utilized by such parties or other persons only for the prosecution or defense of this case and in accordance with the provisions of this Order.

         Disclosure of Confidential ...


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