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Doe v. County of Kern

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 8, 2017

JANE DOE, an individual, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF KERN, a municipality, GEORGE ANDERSON, an individual, and DOES 1-10, Defendants.

          CHAIN | COHN | STILES Neil K. Gehlawat Neil K. Gehlawat Attorney for Plaintiff

          LAW OFFICE OF THOMAS C. SEABAUGH Thomas C. Seabaugh Attorney for Plaintiff

          COUNTY COUNSEL, COUNTY OF KERN Kathleen Rivera [1] Attorney for Defendant County of Kern

          WEAKLEY & ARENDT. LLP James D. Weakley [2] Attorney for Defendant Anderson


         COME NOW the Parties in this matter and jointly present this Protective Order for the Court's approval.



         Disclosure and discovery activity in this action are likely to involve production of confidential, proprietary, or private information for which special protection from public disclosure and from use for any purpose other than prosecuting this litigation may be warranted. Accordingly, the parties in this matter petitioned the Court to enter the following Protective Order. Good Cause appearing, the Court ORDERS as follows:

         This Order does not confer blanket protections on all disclosures or responses to discovery and that the protection it affords from public disclosure and use extends only to the limited information or items that are entitled to confidential treatment under the applicable legal principles. As set forth in Section 12.3, below, this Protective Order does not entitle the parties to file confidential information under seal.


         Pursuant to the requirements of Local Rule 141.1(c), the parties through their counsel stipulate:

         (1) Defendants contend that certain documents that have been requested in discovery are eligible for protection under a protective order, namely information from peace officer personnel files. Under California law, peace officer personnel files are subject to statutory protection by the Peace Officer Bill of Rights (Cal. Gov. Code § 3301), the Official Information Privilege, as well as other statutes and doctrines. The Kern County Probation Department conducted an internal investigation into the incident that is subject to this litigation, which Defendants contend is likewise entitled to protection under California law. Accordingly, the types of documents eligible for production under this order include peace officer personnel files, documents incorporating information from peace officer personnel files, and documents constituting or reflecting internal investigations conducted by the Kern County Probation Department.

         (2) Without conceding the merits of any privilege asserted any party, and without waiving any of their respective substantive or procedural rights, the parties all agree that a protective order would allow discovery to proceed in a more speedy and efficient manner. Defendants contend that the personnel files of County employees are not public record, and the County's internal investigations into the alleged misconduct of its employees are likewise generally not subject to public disclosure. Defendants contend that to the extent that such documents are made publicly available, it may violate the privacy rights of Defendant Anderson or other third parties who are current or former County employees. In addition, the Bakersfield Police Department has recommended the filing of criminal charges against Defendant Anderson.

         (3) In light of the above, the parties submit that a protective order issued by this Court, rather than a private agreement between the parties, is necessary and appropriate.


         3.1 Challenging Party: a Party or Non-Party that challenges the designation of information or items under this Order.

         3.2 “CONFIDENTIAL” Information or items: information (regardless of how it is generated, stored or maintained) or tangible things that qualify for protection under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure26(c).

         3.3 Counsel (without qualifier): Outside Counsel of Record and House Counsel (as well as their support staff).

         3.4 Designating party: a Party or Non-Party that designates information or items that it produces in disclosures or in responses to discovery as “CONFIDENTIAL.” 3.5 Disclosure or Discovery Material: all items or information, regardless of the medium or manner in which it is generated, store, or maintained (including, among other things, testimony, transcripts, and tangible things), that are produced or generated in disclosures or responses to discovery in this matter.

         3.6 Expert: a person with specialized knowledge or experience in a matter pertinent to the litigation who has been retained by a Party or its counsel to serve as an expert witness or as a consultant in this action.

         3.7 House Counsel: attorneys who are employees of a party to this action. House Counsel does not include Outside Counsel of Record or any other outside counsel.

         3.8 Non-Party: any natural person, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity not names as a Party to this action.

         3.9 Outside Counsel of Record: attorneys who are not employees of a party to this action but are retained to represent or advise a party to this action and have appeared in this action on behalf of that party or are affiliated with a law firm which has appeared on behalf of that party.

         3.10 Party: any party to this action, including all of its officers, directors, employees, consultants, retained experts, and Outside Counsel of Record (and their support staffs).

         3.11 Producing Party: a Party or Non-Party that produces Disclosure or Discovery Material in this action.

         3.12 Professional Vendors: persons or entities that provide litigation support services (e.g., photocopying, videotaping, translating, preparing exhibits or demonstrations, and organizing, storing, or retrieving data in any form or medium) and their employees and subcontractors.

         3.13 Protected Material: any Disclosure or Discovery Material that is designated as “CONFIDENTIAL.” 3.14 Receiving Party: a Party that receives Disclosure or Discovery Material from a Producing Party.

         4. SCOPE

         The protections conferred by this Order cover not only Protected Material (as defined above), but also (1) any information copied or extracted from Protected Material; (2) all copies, excerpts, summaries, or compilations of Protected Material; and (3) any testimony, conversations, or presentations by Parties or their Counsel that might reveal Protected Material. However, the protections conferred by this Order do not cover the following information: (a) any information that is in the publicdomain at the time of disclosure to a Receiving Party or becomes part of the public domain after its disclosure to a Receiving Party as a result of publication not involving a violation of this Order, including becoming part of the public record through trial or otherwise; and (b) any information known to the Receiving Party prior to the disclosure or obtained by the Receiving Party after the disclosure from a source who obtained the information lawfully and under no obligation of confidentiality to the Designating Party. Any use of Protected Material at trial shall be governed by a separate agreement or order.

         5. ...

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