JOHNSON v. HOUSTON COUNTY GEORGIA et al
ORDER granting 42 Motion for Protective Order. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE C ASHLEY ROYAL on 4/5/17 (lap)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
TIMOTHY R. JOHNSON,
HOUSTON COUNTY, et al,
Civil Action File
ORDER ON CONSENT MOTION FOR
THE COURT ALERTS THE PARTIES THAT IT HAS ADDED A FINAL PARAGRAPH
TO THIS PROTECTIVE ORDER THAT WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE CONSENT
ORDER SUBMITTED TO THE COURT.
This lawsuit is presently in the discovery stage. It appears that such discovery
will involve review of confidential business information, personnel and
employment-related documents, personal, sensitive medical and other confidential
information relating to the parties and persons not parties to this litigation. Plaintiff
Timothy R. Johnson (“Plaintiff”) and Defendants Margaret Hays, Cullen Talton,
Michael Garrett, John Stinson, Jr., General Granville, Jr., the City of Warner Robins,
Deborah Miller, Malcolm Derrick, Jr., H.D. Dennard, R.G. West, Brad Mules, and
Stephen Lynn (“Defendants”) (collectively the “parties”), by and through their
counsel, desire to avoid the needless dissemination of the above-referenced
information outside of this lawsuit and, further, to avoid a dispute over the
production of such information.
Accordingly, good cause having been shown within the meaning of Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c), and it appearing that Plaintiff and Defendants consent
to entry of this Protective Order, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
(1) As used in this Order, the following definitions and terms shall apply:
a. “Confidential Information” means documents, information, testimony,
and other tangible items to be produced or disclosed in this action that
contain (A) trade secrets, confidential, commercially private,
proprietary, sensitive business, financial, and/or otherwise privileged
information or (B) private personal information about individuals,
including current or former employees’ personnel files, in which the
affected persons enjoy rights and expectations of privacy and protection
from disclosure, including under state and federal law or (C) medical
information concerning Plaintiff. All such documents, information, or
testimony will be referred to and treated as “Confidential Information”
if stamped or designated “CONFIDENTIAL.”
b. “Disclosed” is used in its broadest sense and includes, inter alia,
directly or indirectly shown, divulged, revealed, produced, described,
transmitted or otherwise communicated, in whole or in part.
c. “Document” is defined as the term is used in Rule 34(a) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure.
d. “Counsel” means the counsel of record in this action and their law
firms, as well as (i) other attorneys or consultants employed or retained
by such law firms, or (ii) any attorney subsequently retained or
designated by any party to appear in this action.
e. “Disclosing Party” means any party who furnishes confidential
information or discovery material.
f. “Recipient” means any party who receives confidential information or
Any party may designate any document, information, testimony, or
other tangible item containing Confidential Information as defined in Paragraph
(1)(a) by clearly marking each page as “CONFIDENTIAL” at the time of
production. All documents and information provided by the parties which are
designated as “CONFIDENTIAL” shall be treated as such by the Parties. Such
Confidential Information, and all copies, summaries, compilations, notes, or
abstracts thereof, shall be exclusively for use in this action and for no other purpose,
and shall not be disclosed to any person except as permitted in this Order.
Deposition testimony and exhibits may be designated as Confidential
Information by identification on the record during any deposition or other
proceeding or by written notice to opposing counsel not later than ten (10) business
days after receipt of the deposition transcript. During the ten (10) business day
period and from the date of the deposition, the entire deposition transcript and
testimony and all exhibits shall be deemed to be Confidential Information for all
purposes. Thereafter, only those portions of the transcript and exhibits that have
been designated as Confidential Information shall be so treated. At the depositions
taken in this action, the reporter will be informed of the existence of this Order and
will be required to operate in a manner consistent with its terms.
Entering into, agreeing to, and/or complying with the terms of this
Order shall not: (a) operate as an admission by any party that any particular
documents, material or information contain or reflect currently valuable trade secrets
or proprietary or commercial information; or (b) prejudice in any way the right of a
party at any time: (i) to seek a determination by the Court of whether any particular
document, item of material or piece of information should be subject to the terms of
this Order; (ii) to seek relief on appropriate notice from any provision(s) of this
Order, either generally or as to any particular document, item of material or piece of
information; (iii) to object to any discovery request, including the right to assert that
no discovery should be had of certain documents or information; (iv) to seek
documents or other information from any source; or (v) to prohibit disclosure of
Confidential Information pursuant to a requirement of a governmental agency or by
operation of law (including a subpoena); provided however that, with respect to this
clause, the Recipient shall first promptly notify Disclosing Party at the addresses
listed herein on the signature lines prior to disclosure in order to give Disclosing
Party a reasonable opportunity to seek an appropriate protective order and/or waive
compliance with the terms of this Order and shall disclose only that part of the
Confidential Information which the Recipient is required to disclose.
Inadvertent production of or failure to designate any information as
“CONFIDENTIAL” shall not be deemed a waiver of the Disclosing Party’s claim
of confidentiality or privilege as to such information. With respect to inadvertently
produced information—the information shall be returned upon request. With respect
to information that was not designated as Confidential but is deemed to be
Confidential by the Disclosing Party, the Disclosing Party may thereafter designate
information as “CONFIDENTIAL” as appropriate.
If information entitled to protection under this Order is to be submitted
to the Court in support of a pleading, motion, or other document, the party seeking
to introduce the information shall notify the party designating the material as
“CONFIDENTIAL” at least five (5) business days prior to such proposed use so that
the designating parting may file a motion requesting that the information be filed
Parties wishing any document filed as part of the record under seal must
first present a motion and/or consent order regarding said document to the Court.
The Clerk of the Court is not authorized to accept for filing any document designated
as sealed without an Order from the Court approving specific documents to be filed
Documents and other material designated as “CONFIDENTIAL”
pursuant to the terms of this Order may only be disclosed to the Court, the parties,
counsel of record and their associated attorneys, employees or professional
assistants, including independent consultants, of counsel of record, stenographic
reporters and their personnel, witnesses who have a bona fide need to review the
contents of the documents to aid in the preparation of this case for trial, and such
other persons as may have a legitimate need to review the Confidential Information
to assist counsel of record in preparing this case, subject to the requirements in
Paragraph (10) of this Order.
The parties shall confer and attempt to agree, before any hearing, on the
procedures under which Confidential Information may be introduced into evidence
or otherwise used at such hearing. Absent agreement, the Court shall be asked to
issue an order governing the use of such Confidential Information at any such
hearing upon reasonable notice to all parties who have produced such information.
(10) Persons other than the Court, counsel of record and their associated
attorneys, employees and/or professional assistants of counsel of record, the parties,
and stenographic reporters and their personnel shall not be afforded access to
Confidential Information unless they first agree, by signing a statement identical to
Exhibit “A” attached hereto, to be bound by the letter and the spirit of this Order and
not to disclose the Confidential Information to anyone other than counsel of record
for the parties to this case. Such statements shall be retained by counsel of record
for the parties.
(11) Although personnel files may be designated as Confidential
Information, witnesses can be shown their own personnel files without having to
satisfy the requirements in Paragraph (10) of this Order.
(12) The party seeking discovery shall have the right to challenge any
designation of confidentiality by notifying the other party in writing and with
specificity no later than the close of discovery or within ten (10) days of receipt of
the document, whichever last occurs. Before a motion is filed regarding the dispute,
the parties must try to resolve the dispute between counsel or by telephone
conference with the Judge within fourteen (14) days of the recipient’s receipt of the
writing. The party challenging the designation will treat all materials or information
designated as “CONFIDENTIAL” in accordance with the requirements of this Order
during the pendency of such motion.
(13) Within sixty (60) business days following the conclusion of this action,
by settlement or adjudication, including any appellate proceedings or the running of
any applicable time for appeal, the parties shall either (i) return to the producing
party all copies of materials or information designated as “CONFIDENTIAL” in this
action or (ii) certify to the producing party that all such materials have been
destroyed; except that counsel may retain an archival copy of documents containing
Confidential Information, as well as an archival copy of any pleadings, motions and
supporting memoranda, and evidence that was filed with the court, that contain
Confidential Information, subject to continuing compliance with this Order. No
information that has been retained may be used in the representation of other clients.
(14) Nothing in this Order shall prejudice the right of any party to move the
Court to broaden or restrict the rights of access to and use of particular Confidential
Information, or to seek modifications of this Order upon due notice to all parties.
(15) This Order shall survive and remain in full force and effect after entry
of final judgment in this action, including any appellate proceedings, whether by
settlement or adjudication. The Court shall retain jurisdiction throughout to
construe, enforce, and amend this Order.
ADDED BY THE COURT: The Court finds that good cause exists for the entry of
this order with the following condition. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in
the foregoing order, the Court finds that it shall not apply to exclude evidence from
public disclosure when that evidence is relied upon in support of or opposition to any
motion or relevant in any hearing or trial. If a party seeks to rely upon any evidence
covered by this protective order in support of or in opposition to any motion or
during any hearing or trial, that party shall notify the opposing party at least 14 days
prior to filing the motion and/or 14 days prior to the hearing or trial. The opposing
party shall have 7 days to respond objecting to the public disclosure of the
information, and the opposing party shall also file a motion to allow the materials to
be filed under seal, which shall state a compelling reason in support of that motion.
The Court will closely scrutinize any such requests at that time, with the presumption
that any evidence relied upon in a filed motion or in opposition to any such motion
or to be used in a hearing or trial shall be a public record. Accordingly, when
materials are to be used in the foregoing manner, a party will not be allowed to file
the materials under seal just because they are covered by this discovery protective
SO ORDERED, THIS 5th DAY OF April, 2017.
S/ C. Ashley Royal
C. ASHLEY ROYAL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
TIMOTHY R. JOHNSON,
HOUSTON COUNTY, et. al.,
CIVIL ACTION FILE NO.
Exhibit A- STATEMENT OF CONFIDENTIALITY
By signing this document, I hereby acknowledge that I am about to or have
received Confidential Information. I certify my understanding that such information
is to be provided to me pursuant to the terms and restrictions of the Consent
Protective Order in the above captioned case. I have been given a copy of and have
read this Order and agree to be bound by its terms. I agree to submit to the
jurisdiction of the Court for the sole purpose of having the terms of this Order
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