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Sheila Gooden v. Suntrust Mortgage

September 7, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: John A. Mendez United States District Court Judge


Plaintiff Sheila Gooden, and Defendant SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. (collectively, the 2 "Parties"), file this Stipulated Proposed Protective Order and Confidentiality Agreement to 3 preserve the confidentiality of certain individually or commercially sensitive, confidential and/or 4 proprietary information that has been requested or will be requested and produced by any party 5 pursuant to the rules of discovery in the above-captioned matter, Gooden v. SunTrust Mortgage, 6 Inc., Case no. 2:11-cv-02595-JAM-DAD (E.D. Cal.). The Parties agree that a confidentiality 7 agreement concerning discovery materials is necessary to protect the integrity of certain 8 information defined below. 9 THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED AND AGREED THAT: 10 1. The Parties shall have the right to designate as confidential any documents, things 11 and information produced in compliance to a discovery request or other requirement of the rules 12 of discovery which contains trade secrets, confidential research, development, commercial or 13 financial information or any other proprietary or confidential business information. 14 2. The Parties may designate as "Confidential Information" any Information 15 produced to any Party pursuant to or as a result of discovery in this case. Any such designation 16 shall be made in good faith, designating material that is reasonably confidential. If timely 17 corrected, an inadvertent failure to designate qualified information or items does not, alone, 18 waive the right to secure protection under this Stipulation and Order for such material. Upon 19 timely correction, the receiving party must make reasonable efforts to assure that the material is 20 treated in accordance with the provision of this Order. 21 3. All documents, things and information designated as Confidential Information 22 pursuant to this Agreement provided in the course of this litigation and any information 23 contained therein or derived therefrom shall be used solely for the purposes of preparing for trial 24 and the trial and appeal of this action and for no other purposes whatsoever, and shall not be 25 disclosed to any person or entity except in accordance with the terms of this Agreement. The 26 protections conferred by this Stipulation and Order cover not only material designated as 27 Confidential Information, but any information copied or extracted from such Confidential Information, all copies, excerpts, summaries, or compilations of such Confidential Information 2 and any testimony, conversations, presentations, or compilations of such Confidential 3 Information. 4 4. The designation of Information as Confidential Information shall be made by a 5 Party by placing or affixing a stamp or marking upon the document (in such a manner as will not 6 interfere with the legibility thereof) an appropriate notice such as "CONFIDENTIAL 7 INFORMATION", "CONFIDENTIAL", or similar legend, or by any other means or method 8 reasonably designed to place an inspecting party upon notice of the confidential nature of the 9 Information. Where the Information is in such a form that such a stamp or mark cannot be 10 reasonably placed thereon, then such Information shall be designated "CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION," or "CONFIDENTIAL," in such a manner as is reasonable under the 12 circumstances. 13

5. Challenging Confidentiality Designations:

(a) Any Party or Non-Party may challenge a designation of confidentiality at any time. Unless a prompt challenge to a confidentiality designation is necessary to avoid foreseeable, substantial unfairness, unnecessary economic burdens, or a significant disruption or delay of the litigation, a party does not waive its right to challenge a confidentiality designation by electing not to mount a challenge promptly after the original designation.

(b) The Challenging Party shall provide written notice of each designation it is 21 22 challenging and describe the basis for each challenge. To avoid ambiguity as to 23 whether a challenge has been made, the written notice must recite that the 24 challenge to confidentiality is being made in accordance with this specific 25 paragraph of the Protective Order and Confidentiality Agreement. The Parties 26 shall attempt to resolve each challenge in good faith and must begin the process 27 by conferring directly (either in person or telephonically) within fourteen (14) 28 days of the date of service of notice challenging the designation. In conferring, the Challenging Party must explain the basis for its belief that the confidentiality designation was not proper and must give the Designating Party an opportunity to review the designated material, to reconsider the circumstances, and, if no change in designation is offered, to explain the basis for the chosen designation. A Challenging Party may proceed to the next stage of the challenge process only if it has engaged in this meet and confer process or establishes that the Designating Party is unwilling to participate in the meet and confer process in a timely manner.

(c) If the parties cannot resolve a challenge without court intervention, the Designating Party shall file and serve a motion under Local Rule 251 to retain confidentiality within twenty-one (21) days of the initial notice of challenge or within fourteen (14) days of the parties agreeing that the meet and confer process will not resolve their dispute, whichever is earlier. Each such motion must be accompanied by a competent declaration affirming that the movant has complied with the meet and confer requirements imposed in the preceding paragraph.

Failure by the Designating Party to make such a motion, including the required declaration, within the applicable time period shall automatically waive the confidentiality designation for each challenged designation. In addition, the Challenging Party may file a motion challenging a confidentiality designation at any time if there is good cause for doing so, including a challenge to the designation of a deposition transcript or any portions thereof. Any motion brought 21 22 pursuant to this provision must be accompanied by a competent declaration 23 affirming that the movant has complied with the meet and confer requirements 24 imposed by the preceding paragraph. 25 (d) The burden of persuasion in any such challenge proceeding shall be on the 26 Designating Party. Frivolous challenges, and challenges made for an improper 27 purpose (e.g., to harass or impose unnecessary expenses and burdens on other 28 parties) may expose the Challenging Party to sanctions. Unless the Designating Party has waived the confidentiality designation by failing to file a motion to retain confidentiality as described above, all Parties shall continue to treat the designated material as confidential under the terms of this Protective Order and Confidentiality Agreement until the court rules on the challenge.
6. Unless otherwise ordered by the court or permitted in writing by the Designating Party, a Receiving Party may disclose any information or item designated CONFIDENTIAL only to:

(a) The parties' Counsel, as well as employees of said Counsel to whom it is reasonably necessary to disclose the information for this litigation;

(b) Any parties' expert(s), including both disclosed and consulting experts, who have signed the "Agreement to Be Bound by Confidentiality Agreement";

(d) The Court and its personnel;

(e) Court reporters, their staffs, and professional vendors (e.g., litigation support services, including photocopying, videotaping, translating, preparing exhibits or demonstrations, and organizing, storing, or retrieving data in any form or medium) and their employees and subcontractors;

(f) Witnesses in the action to whom disclosure is reasonably necessary and who have signed the "Agreement to Be Bound by ...

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