Design Basics, LLC v. Eenigengurg Builders, Inc.
OPINION AND ORDER: For the reasons stated in the Opinion and Order, the parties' 21 Joint Motion for Entry of Agreed Protective Order is DENIED with leave to refile. The parties may submit a joint motion with a revised proposed protective order consistent with the requirements of Rule 26(c) and Seventh Circuit case law. Signed by Magistrate Judge Susan L Collins on 1/4/2017. (jss)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
DESIGN BASICS, LLC,
EENIGENGURG BUILDERS, INC.,
OPINION AND ORDER
Before the Court is a Joint Motion for Entry of Agreed Protective Order (DE 21) filed by
the parties, seeking approval and entry of a proposed agreed protective order pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c). Because the proposed order is deficient in several ways, the joint
motion will be DENIED with leave to refile.
To begin, paragraph 21 of the proposed order states that the filing of any confidential
information with the Court “shall be filed in sealed envelopes . . . .” (DE 21-1 ¶ 21). Local Rule
5-3(c)(1) states, “[t]o file a sealed document . . . in a civil case, a party must file it electronically
as required by the CM/ECF User Manual.” N.D. Ind. L.R. 5-3(c)(1). Thus, the local rules
expressly require sealed documents to be filed electronically. The parties shall not file
confidential information with the Court in sealed envelopes, which would be in contravention of
the local rules, without express permission from the Court. See N.D. Ind. L.R. 1-1(c).
Next, paragraph 22 states that the Court will limit access to the courtroom whenever
Confidential Information is introduced at a hearing, trial, or other proceeding. (DE 21-1 ¶ 22).
But at this early juncture, the Court is unwilling to agree to limit access to any courtroom
proceeding. “[T]he public at large pays for the courts and therefore has an interest in what goes
on at all stages of a judicial proceeding.” Citizens First Nat’l Bank of Princeton v. Cincinnati
Ins. Co., 178 F.3d 943, 945 (7th Cir. 1999).
Another problem with the proposed order is that the parties’ process for the return and
destruction of confidential information does not provide an exception for the Court. Paragraph
23 states: “Within sixty (60) days after the final termination of this litigation, all Confidential
Information, all copies thereof, and all summaries of Confidential Information, shall either be
returned to the Producing Party or shall be destroyed by the Receiving Party and such
destruction shall be certified in writing by the Receiving Party to the Producing Party.” (DE 211 ¶ 23).
The Court, however, does not return any documents that have been made part of the record.
Finally, a problem arises in paragraphs 24 and 27 of the proposed protective order, which
provides that the Court retains jurisdiction over the protective order after the termination of this
action for the purpose of dissolving, modifying, or enforcing the protective order. (DE 21-1 ¶¶
24, 27). The Court, however, is unwilling to enter a protective order that suggests it retain
jurisdiction of any kind after resolution of the case. See EEOC v. Clarice’s Home Care Serv.,
Inc., No. 3:07-cv-601 GPM, 2008 WL 345588, at *2 (S.D. Ill. Feb. 7, 2008) (encouraging the
parties to make a contractual agreement among themselves for the return of sensitive documents
without court oversight); see also Large v. Mobile Tool Int’l, Inc., No. 1:02-CV-177, 2010 WL
3120254, at *1 (N.D. Ind. Aug. 6, 2010).
For these reasons, the parties’ Joint Motion for Entry of Agreed Protective Order (DE 21)
is DENIED with leave to refile. The parties may submit a joint motion with a revised proposed
protective order consistent with the requirements of Rule 26(c) and Seventh Circuit case law.
SO ORDERED. Entered this 4th day of January 2017.
/s/ Susan Collins
United States Magistrate Judge
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