The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge
STIPULATED PROTECTIVE ORDER
The parties to this action, by their respective counsel, hereby agree and stipulate to the following protective order in the above-captioned case:
1. Scope of Order. The purpose of this Stipulated Protective Order is to protect against the unnecessary disclosure of confidential and/or proprietary information by parties and non-parties. All such documents and information protected by this Stipulated Protective Order will hereafter be referred to as "Protected Information." The Protected Information shall be used solely in connection with the litigation and trial of this case, and for no other purpose or in any other case.
2. Definitions. Materials and information protected by this Stipulated Protective Order shall mean any documents, materials, items, or information designated by Plaintiff, Defendant or any other third party as "Confidential" and produced in response to a party's requests for production of documents, interrogatories, stipulation, subpoena, motion or deposition. "Protected Information" is limited to the following categories: (i) the proprietary and trade secret information contained in Sun Life's Processing Disability Claims: LTD Guide, and any other internal manuals for handling, processing and adjusting long term disability claims or related guidelines, instructions, policies and procedures used in the handling of Plaintiff's claim; (ii) any sensitive financial information of Plaintiff that may allow for the identification or misuse of Plaintiff's personal financial information, including but not limited to social security numbers, account numbers or information from the Social Security Administration, State of California- Employment Development Department, or the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS); and (iii) any sensitive information relating to Plaintiff's psychological condition including doctor's or therapist's notes, diagnoses or treatment notes, or records of office visits contained in Plaintiff's medical or psychological records.
Protection of documents in Category (i) is required because these proprietary, commercially-sensitive documents are a product of Sun Life's experience and expertise in the insurance industry, and are not disseminated to the general public or to Sun Life's insureds. Only Sun Life employees are granted access to these documents.
Protection of documents in Categories (ii) and (iii) is required to protect the financial security of Plaintiff and ensure that documents are protected that might allow for misuse of Plaintiff's identity or identity theft. In addition, this protection is required due to the fact that one element of this case involves Plaintiff's psychological state and these records related to her psychiatric treatment reveal confidential and sensitive personal information.
"Protected Information" does not include information that: (i) is in the public domain at the time of disclosure, through no fault of the party challenging the designation; (ii) becomes part of the public domain through no fault of the party challenging the designation, (iii) was in the receiving party's rightful and lawful possession at the time of disclosure; or (iv) is lawfully received by the receiving party from a third party at a later date without restriction as to disclosure, provided such third party has the right to make the disclosure to the receiving party; and such information shall not be designated as "Confidential". Designations shall be made by counsel in good faith.
The parties assert that the "Protected Information" should be protected by a Court order rather than by a private agreement because the entry of a protective order would carry the weight of the Court's imprimatur and authorize the exercise of its contempt power over any potential violations of this protective order. A private agreement between the parties would not serve to fully protect the confidential nature of the "Protected Information" from unwarranted disclosure, would not be as strong of a deterrent against such disclosure, and would not provide sufficient remedies in the event of disclosure.
3. Category of Protection. There shall be only one category of protection. Documents or other material may be designated as "Confidential" by a party or a producing nonparty if they contain information of the type referred to in Paragraph 2 of this Stipulated Protective Order. Confidential Material may not be photocopied, reproduced or duplicated in any manner, whether in hard copy or electronic format, subject to the explicit exceptions contained in this Order.
4. Qualified Persons. Protected Information as designated above shall be used only for the purposes of conducting this litigation and shall be disclosed only to "Qualified Persons" which, as used herein, shall mean:
(a) Outside counsel who have made an appearance in this litigation and outside counsel for any third party required to produce documents or give testimony in this lawsuit and secretarial, clerical, litigation support and paralegal personnel regularly employed by such outside counsel to whom it is necessary that the Protected Information be shown for purposes of this litigation.
(b) Bonafide outside consultants and experts and their clerical and support staff specifically engaged by counsel or the parties to assist in this litigation, provided such experts are not a competitor of any party to or third party required to produce documents or give testimony in this litigation.
(c) Officers, in-house counsel, or other employees of any party or any "third party required to produce documents or give testimony in this lawsuit.
(d) The Court, other court officials (including court reporters and videographers) and the ...