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Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena

United States District Court, C.D. California

June 29, 2015



SUZANNE H. SEGAL, Magistrate Judge.

The Court has received and considered the parties' "Stipulation Regarding Confidentiality Protective Order (the "Proposed Order"). (Dkt. No. 132). The Court cannot adopt the Proposed Order as stipulated to by the parties. The parties may submit a revised stipulated protective order, but must correct the following deficiencies:

The Proposed Order states that the parties have agreed that certain information should be subject to confidentiality. (Proposed Order at 2). This information would include any "information that the producing party reasonably believes should be kept confidential and not publicly disseminated." (Id. at 1). The Proposed Order would also "govern any document or information furnished by any party to any adverse party in connection with the discovery and pre-trial phases of this action." (Id.).

However, the parties have not identified any specific privilege that applies to the information and documents included within the ambit of the Proposed Order. Moreover, the parties have not specified any other grounds that would justify imposing confidentiality on a broad and unspecified range of information and documents. Accordingly, the Proposed Order must be denied because its scope is overbroad.

In addition, parties are required to show "good cause" for a protective order. The Proposed Order fails to include an adequate statement of good cause. Foltz v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2003) (court's protective order analysis requires examination of good cause) (citing Phillips v. Gen. Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1210-11, 1212 (9th Cir. 2002)). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) requires a "particularized showing" of good cause in order for the court to enter a protective order. Kamakana v. City and Cnty. of Honolulu, 447 F.3d 1172, 1176 (9th Cir. 2006) (internal citations omitted); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c). There is no automatic right to file documents under seal. To the contrary, there is a "strong presumption in favor of [public] access to court records." Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1135.

In any revised stipulated protective order, the parties should include a statement demonstrating good cause for entry of a protective order pertaining to the specific documents, materials or information described in the order. The paragraph containing the statement of good cause should be preceded by the heading "GOOD CAUSE STATEMENT." The Good Cause Statement should be edited to discuss information that applies to the instant case, specifying any privilege or privileges being invoked and the harm or prejudice that would result from the disclosure of confidential information likely to be produced, assuming no protective order is entered. See Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1130 ("A party asserting good cause bears the burden, for each particular document it seeks to protect, of showing that specific prejudice or harm will result if no protective order is granted."). If the parties seek a "blanket" protective order, then the stipulation must state the justification for this type of protective order. See Blum v. Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith, Inc., 712 F.3d 1349, 1352 n.1 (9th Cir. 2013) (defining a "blanket" protective order as an order that is obtained without "making a particularized showing of good cause with respect to any individual document") (citing Foltz, 331 F.3d at 1138); Perry v. Brown, 667 F.3d 1078, 1086 (9th Cir. 2012) (blanket protective orders often cover materials that would not qualify for protection if subjected to individualized analysis).

The Court further cautions that any party seeking to file material under seal must comply with Civil Local Rule 79-5 and with any pertinent orders of the assigned District Judge and the undersigned Magistrate Judge, including any procedures adopted under the Pilot Project for the Electronic Submission and Filing of Under Seal Documents. Parties may not agree to file all confidential documents under seal, without court approval.

All future discovery documents shall include the following in the caption: "[Discovery Document: Referred to Magistrate Judge Suzanne H. Segal]." The Court's website (see contains additional guidance regarding protective orders and a sample protective order. This information is available in Judge Segal's section of the link marked "Judges' Procedures & Schedules." The parties may submit a revised Stipulation and [Proposed] Protective Order for the Court's consideration.


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