IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
October 31, 2012
THOMAS BOTELL, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge
Presently before the court is plaintiffs' ex parte application for protective order, filed October 30, 2012. Motions for protective order, much like applications for temporary restraining orders, should not be granted without the opportunity of the opposing party to be heard except in the most exigent circumstances. See generally Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(b); E.D. Local Rule 231(a). With the exceptions related below, plaintiffs essentially request a protective order without providing a meaningful opportunity to be heard, which requests the United States, its employees, and its attorneys to obey the law which is clearly established, i.e. do not spoliate evidence and do not tamper with, intimidate etc. witnesses. A temporary protective order is not necessary at this time given that such obligations already exist under the law.
Plaintiffs also request that the United States, its employees, and attorneys have no "ex parte communication" with Gene Compton or Jessica Compton on any issue relating to the alleged spoliation of evidence or tampering with witnesses until plaintiffs have conducted their depositions. Finally, plaintiffs request that neither Darlene Koontz nor John Roth attend the depositions of Gene Compton or Jessica Compton. The relief sought in these latter two requests is different in kind from that described above and the granting of a temporary protective order with respect to these latter requests will not prejudice the government.
Therefore, the United States, its employees and attorneys will not communicate with Gene and Jessica Compton on any issue related to plaintiffs' spoliation claims or alleged intimidation, and so forth, of Gene or Jessica Compton, until further order of the court.
The United States shall file a response to plaintiffs' ex parte application by November 7, 2012.
Hearing on the ex parte application is set for November 9, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom #9.
No deposition of either Compton shall take place until after such hearing is held. IT IS SO ORDERED.
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