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Easterwood v. Family Dollar, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. California

January 7, 2020

FAMILY DOLLAR, INC., and DOES 1 TO 50 Defendant(s).

         Assigned to the Hon. Anthony W. Ishii, Courtroom 2

         (Superior Court, County of Kings, No. 19C-0066)


          PROTECTIVE ORDER (DOC. 19)


         The Court having read the parties' Joint Stipulation for Entry of a Protective Order in this matter, finding no objection and good cause appearing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Joint Stipulation for Entry of a Protective Order is GRANTED, and the following protective order is entered:


         Discovery in this action is 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 hereby stipulate to and petition the Court to enter the following Stipulated Protective Order. The parties acknowledge that 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. The parties further acknowledge, as set forth in Section 12.3, below, that this Stipulated Protective Order does not entitle them to file confidential information under seal; Civil Local Rule 141 sets forth the procedures that must be followed and the standards that will be applied when a party seeks permission from the court to file material under seal.


         Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 26(c)(1) states in pertinent part, that the Court, upon a showing of good cause may “issue an order to protect a party from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). In the instant matter, Defendant Family Dollar, Inc.'s Confidential Documents contain proprietary and confidential trade secret information relating to Defendant Family Dollar, Inc.'s business practices and its safety protocol. Defendant Family Dollar, Inc. (“Defendant” or “Family Dollar”) derives independent economic value from maintaining the confidentiality of the policies and procedures set forth in these Confidential Documents.

         Defendant is a retailer in the home goods industry. The home goods industry is very competitive. As a result of years of investing time and money in research and investigation, Defendant developed the policies contained in the Confidential Documents for the purposes of maintaining the security and accessibility of its merchandise, providing quality customer service, and ensuring the safety of its employees and customers. These policies and procedures, as memorialized in the Confidential Documents, were created and generated by Family Dollar for Family Dollar, and are used for the purposes of maintaining safety at its stores and creating efficient and organized work environments for its employees. As a result, Defendant is able to minimize the waste of any resources, which is a key factor in generating profitability for its business.

         Defendant derives economic value from maintaining the secrecy of its Confidential Documents. If disclosed to the public, the trade secret information contained in Defendant's Confidential Documents would reveal Defendant's internal operations and could potentially be used by competitors as a means to compete for its customers, interfere with its business plans and thereby gain unfair business advantages. If Defendant's safety protocol were revealed to the general public, it would hinder Defendant's ability to effectively resolve and minimize liability claims, and its goal of protecting its customers and employees from theft and other crimes. Unrestricted or unprotected disclosure of such information would result in prejudice or harm to Defendant by revealing Family Dollar's competitive confidential information, which has been developed at the expense of Family Dollar and which represents valuable tangible and intangible assets.

         Defendant's employee/personnel files and records are confidential records, subject to the privacy rights of the employees. Defendant's employees have a fundamentally protected right to privacy under both our state and federal Constitutions which enjoys special safeguard from governmental interference. Cal. Const., art. I, §§ 1, 2, 3; U.S. Const., 1st Amend. California law provides protections for parties when their private information is subpoenaed, even when the information sought is relevant and not privileged. Defendant's employee/personnel records and the information contained therein, such as salary data, background checks, work history, health insurance information, social security number, financial information including sensitive tax information, and wage information are highly sensitive, the disclosure of which would be an invasion of Defendant's employees' right of privacy. Such employee/personnel files are maintained by Defendant Family Dollar as confidential and are not disclosed or otherwise made available to the general public.

         Furthermore, discovery in this case will involve the production of Plaintiffs' financial, tax, and other records that contain sensitive and confidential information. Unrestricted or unprotected disclosure of such information would result in prejudice or harm to the Plaintiffs. Accordingly, the parties respectfully submit that there is good cause for the entry of this Protective Order.

         2. DEFINITIONS

         2.1 Action: this pending federal law suit.

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

         2.3 “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 Procedure 26(c), and as specified above in the Good Cause Statement.

         2.4 Counsel: Outside Counsel of Record and House Counsel (as well as their support staff).

         2.5 Designating Party: a Party or Non-Party that designates information or items that it produces in disclosures or in responses to discovery as “CONFIDENTIAL.”

         2.6 Disclosure or Discovery Material: all items or information, regardless of the medium or manner in which it is generated, stored, 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.

         2.7 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.

         2.8 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.

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

         2.10 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, and includes support staff.

         2.11 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).

         2.12 Producing Party: a Party or Non-Party that produces Disclosure or Discovery Material in this Action.

         2.13 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.

         2.14 Protected Material: any Disclosure or Discovery Material that is designated as “CONFIDENTIAL.” 2.15 Receiving Party: a Party that receives ...

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