United States of America v. Hatfield
PROTECTIVE ORDER. Signed by Magistrate Judge David Keesler on 2/7/2018. (tmg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
CIVIL NO. 5:17-CV-121-MOC-DCK
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ROBERT NEAL HATFIELD,
CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT AND PROTECTIVE ORDER
The parties agree that during the course of discovery it may be necessary to disclose
certain confidential information relating to the subject matter of this action. They agree that
certain categories of such information should be treated as confidential, protected from
disclosure outside this litigation, and used only for purposes of prosecuting or defending this
action and any appeals. The parties jointly request entry of this proposed Protective Order to
limit the disclosure, dissemination, and use of certain identified categories of confidential
information, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 5.2(e) and 26(c).
The United States asserts, in support of this request, that protection of the identified
categories of confidential information is necessary because this case involves allegations of
sexual harassment against multiple female victims who fear adverse consequences to their
housing and safety stemming from their involvement in this litigation. Disclosure of documents
in this case will involve the exchange of sensitive personal information with respect to credit
applicants, actual and prospective tenants, and purchasers of Robert Hatfield’s properties,
including information of a private nature that is covered by the scope of the Privacy Act of 1974,
5 U.S.C. § 552a. In addition, discovery in this case may involve financial information of the
parties and proprietary, private, and confidential information concerning non-parties.
Accordingly, the parties stipulate and agree to, and the Court finds good cause for, entry of this
Confidentiality Agreement and Protective Order pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
5.2(e) and 26(c).
The Court hereby enters the following Confidentiality Agreement and Protective Order:
Contact Between the Defendant and Victims or Witnesses.
anyone operating on behalf of or at the direction of him (excluding counsel of record, their
employees, or anyone hired by Defendant’s counsel for the purpose of representing Defendant in
this action) shall not contact or attempt to contact any persons identified by the United States in
its initial disclosures or other discovery responses as witnesses to, or victims of, the Defendant’s
alleged discriminatory housing practices. In addition, the Defendant shall not speak to current
tenants or debtors about the allegations in the complaint without counsel present. If Defendant
proceeds pro se at any time during this action, he shall interact with alleged victims identified in
this lawsuit by the United States only in the course of discovery in accordance with the methods
and procedures permitted under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. If the Defendant proceeds
pro se at any time during this action, he shall speak to current tenants or debtors about the
allegations in the complaint only in the course of discovery in accordance with the methods and
procedures permitted under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. However, should the
Defendant proceed pro se, he may, consistent with paragraph 7, discuss this case with witnesses.
Scope. All documents and materials produced in the course of discovery in this
case, including initial disclosures, responses to discovery requests, all deposition testimony and
exhibits, and information derived directly therefrom (hereinafter collectively “documents”), are
subject to this Order concerning Confidential Information as set forth below. As there is a
presumption in favor of open and public judicial proceedings in the federal courts, this Order will
be strictly construed in favor of public disclosure and open proceedings wherever possible.
Definition of Confidential Information.
As used in this Order, “Confidential
Information” is defined as information that the producing party designates in good faith should
be protected from disclosure and use outside the litigation because the disclosure and use of such
information is restricted by statute or could potentially cause harm to the interests of the parties
and/or nonparties. For purposes of this Order, the parties will limit their designation of
“Confidential Information” to the following categories of information or documents: names,
social security numbers, taxpayer identification numbers, and birth dates; financial information
such as financial account numbers, income tax returns, or other personal financial records;
personnel records; criminal records and histories, if any; information related to any medical or
psychological condition or treatment or effort to seek treatment, including names or types of
healthcare providers and dates of visits to providers; and current or past home addresses and
telephone numbers and any other personally identifying information regarding any person
identified as a witness or potential witness. Confidential Information shall further include the
identities of such persons’ minor children. Information or documents that are available to the
public may not be designated as Confidential Information. The parties may move the Court for
the inclusion of additional categories of information as Confidential Information.
Form and Timing of Designation. The producing party may designate
documents as containing Confidential Information and therefore subject to protection under this
Order by marking or placing the words “CONFIDENTIAL - SUBJECT TO PROTECTIVE
ORDER” (hereinafter “the marking”) on the document and on all copies in a manner that will not
interfere with the legibility of the document. For computer data, the medium of which makes
such marking impracticable, the producing party shall mark the diskette case and/or
accompanying cover letter. As used in this Order, “copies” includes electronic images,
duplicates, extracts, summaries, or descriptions that contain the Confidential Information. The
marking will be applied prior to or at the time the documents are produced or disclosed.
Applying the marking to a document does not mean that the document has any status or
protection by statute or otherwise except to the extent and for the purposes of this Order.
Copies that are made of any designated documents must also bear the marking, except that
indices, electronic databases, or lists of documents that do not contain substantial portions or
images of the text of marked documents and do not otherwise disclose the substance of the
Confidential Information are not required to be marked. By marking a designated document as
confidential, the designating attorney or party appearing pro se thereby certifies that the
document contains Confidential Information as defined in this Order.
Inadvertent Failure to Designate. Inadvertent failure to designate any
document or material as containing Confidential Information will not constitute a waiver of an
otherwise valid claim of confidentiality pursuant to this Order, so long as a claim of
confidentiality is asserted within a reasonable time after discovery of the inadvertent failure.
Depositions. Deposition testimony will be deemed confidential only if
designated as such when the deposition is taken or within a reasonable time period after receipt
of the deposition transcript. Such designation must be specific as to the portions of the
transcript and/or any exhibits to be protected.
Protection of Confidential Material.
General Protections. Designated Confidential Information and the identities
of such individuals’ children shall not be used or disclosed other than when necessary to
prosecute or defend this lawsuit, including any appeals.
Who May View Designated Confidential Information. Except with the
prior written consent of the designating party or prior order of the Court, designated Confidential
Information may only be disclosed to and shared among the following persons:
defendant, except information related to any medical or
psychological condition or treatment, including names or types of
healthcare providers and dates of visits to providers as limited by
counsel to the parties, and partners, supervisors, associates,
secretaries, paralegal assistants, and employees of such counsel
only to the extent reasonably necessary to render professional
services in this action;
the Court, officers of the Court, and court personnel, including
administrative staff, and members of the jury;
any special master or mediator appointed by the Court or jointly
selected by the parties;
persons retained by the parties or their counsel to assist in their
investigations or discovery, to prepare for any hearing, or to serve
as expert witnesses, provided that such disclosure is reasonably
calculated to aid in litigating this action;
witnesses and potential witnesses (and their counsel) who may
testify as witnesses at any deposition or hearing, provided that such
disclosure is reasonably and in good faith calculated to aid in
litigating this action;
court reporters and videographers retained to take depositions,
under the terms and limitations specified in this Order;
independent providers of document reproduction, electronic
discovery, or other litigation services retained or employed
specifically in connection with this litigation; and
if applicable, employees of Defendant’s insurance company only
to the extent necessary for representation of Defendant in this
counsel for Plaintiffs as identified in paragraph 20
Disclosure of Medical/Psychological Information. The parties
acknowledge that information related to certain aggrieved individuals’ medical or psychological
condition or treatment, including names or types of healthcare providers and dates of visits to
providers, may be exchanged during discovery in this case. The parties further acknowledge the
need to protect such sensitive and private information from inadvertent or unnecessary
disclosure. As such, medical/psychological information shall be disclosed solely to attorneys
for the parties in the case and shall not be disclosed to Defendant unless he proceeds pro se.
Defendant may attend portions of depositions where medical/psychological information is
discussed only after he makes a statement on the record that he will abide by this Order and not
disclose the medical/psychological information to any person other than those designated in
subparagraph (b) and only to the extent necessary to defend the claims against him. Defendant
is bound by the terms of this agreement with respect to any medical/psychological information
he obtains through any other means during the course of this litigation, such as review of
pleadings filed in this case or communications between the parties in this case. Nothing in this
section shall limit or otherwise affect any of the parties’ ability to use this information during
depositions or in the litigation of this matter.
Control of Documents. The parties must make reasonable efforts to prevent
unauthorized or inadvertent disclosure of documents designated as containing Confidential
Information pursuant to the terms of this Order. Counsel for the parties must maintain a record
of those persons, including employees of counsel, who have reviewed or been given access to the
documents. Any persons described in paragraph 7(b)(i), (v), (vi), (ix), or (x) to whom
Confidential Information is disclosed must complete the certification contained in Attachment A,
Acknowledgment and Agreement to be Bound, the originals of which shall be retained by
counsel for the disclosing party until such time as this litigation, including any appeals, is
concluded. If the parties wish to disclose Confidential Information to any persons other than
those indicated in paragraph 7(b), above, the disclosing party shall obtain written consent from
all other parties in advance of such disclosure. If consent to the proposed disclosure is not
given, then the disclosing party may, on motion after conferring with opposing counsel, seek
modification of this Order from the Court.
Filing of Confidential Information. In the event a party seeks to file any
document containing Confidential Information subject to protection under this Order with the
Court, that party must take appropriate action to insure that the document receives proper
protection from public disclosure, including: (a) filing a redacted document with the consent of
the party who designated the document as confidential; (b) where appropriate (e.g., in relation to
discovery and evidentiary motions), submitting the document solely for in camera review; or (c)
when the preceding measures are inadequate, seeking permission to file the document under seal
by filing a motion for leave to file under seal in accordance with Local Civil Rule 6.1.
Nothing in this Order will be construed as a prior directive to allow any document to be
filed under seal. The parties understand that the requested documents may be filed under seal
only with the permission of the Court after proper motion. If the motion is granted and the
requesting party permitted to file the requested documents under seal, only counsel of record and
unrepresented parties will have access to the sealed documents. Pro hac vice attorneys must
obtain sealed documents from local counsel.
Challenges to a Confidential Designation. The designation of any material or
document as Confidential Information is subject to challenge by any party. Before filing any
motion or objection to a confidential designation, the objecting party must meet and confer in
good faith with the designating party to resolve the objection informally without judicial
intervention. A party that elects to challenge a confidentiality designation may file and serve a
motion under seal that identifies the challenged material and sets forth in detail the basis for the
challenge. The burden of proving the necessity of a confidentiality designation remains with the
party asserting confidentiality. Until the Court rules on the challenge, all parties must continue
to treat the materials as Confidential Information under the terms of this Order.
Discovery. The parties agree that nothing in this Order shall be deemed to affect
the scope of discovery permitted by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Use of Confidential Information at Trial or Hearing. Nothing in this Order
will be construed to affect the use of any document, material, or information at any trial or
hearing. A party that intends to present or that anticipates that another party may present Confidential Information at a hearing or trial must bring that issue to the attention of the Court and the
other parties without disclosing the Confidential Information. The Court may thereafter make
such orders as are necessary to govern the use of such information at the hearing or trial.
Obligations on Conclusion of Litigation.
Order Remains in Effect. Unless otherwise agreed or ordered, all
provisions of this Order will remain in effect and continue to be binding after conclusion of the
Destruction of Confidential Information. Within 60 days after this
litigation concludes by settlement, final judgment, or final order, including all appeals, each
party shall, upon request of the opposing party, certify that it has destroyed all documents
designated as containing Confidential Information, including copies as defined above, in a
manner that eliminates the possibility of retrieval of such documents, except for documents that
have been offered into evidence or filed without restriction as to disclosure. Notwithstanding
the above, e-mails (including attachments to e-mails) that may include Confidential Information
or Confidential Information contained in deposition transcripts or drafts or final expert reports
need not be destroyed, provided such information is separately sequestered or otherwise
protected from inadvertent disclosure.
Retention of Work Product. Notwithstanding the above requirements to
return or destroy documents, counsel may retain attorney work product, including an index
which refers or relates to designated Confidential Information, so long as that work product does
not duplicate verbatim substantial portions of the text or images of designated documents. This
work product will continue to be confidential under this Order. An attorney may use his or her
own work product in subsequent litigation provided that its use does not disclose Confidential
Order Subject to Modification. This Order is subject to modification by the
Court sua sponte or on motion of any party or any other person with standing concerning the
subject matter. If the Order modification is made by motion, then the non-moving party shall
receive notice and an opportunity to be heard on the proposed modification.
No Prior Judicial Determination. This Order is entered based on the
representations and agreements of the parties and for the purpose of facilitating discovery.
Nothing in this Order will be construed or presented as a judicial determination that any
document or material designated as Confidential Information by counsel or the parties is entitled
to protection under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) or otherwise until such time as the
Court may rule on a specific document or issue.
Persons Bound by Protective Order. This Order will take effect when entered
and is binding upon all counsel of record and their law offices, the parties, and persons made
subject to this Order by its terms.
Jurisdiction. The Court’s jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this Order
will terminate on the final disposition of this case. But a party may file a motion to seek leave
to reopen the case to enforce the provisions of this Order.
Applicability to Parties Later Joined. If additional persons or entities become
parties to this lawsuit, they must not be given access to any Confidential Information until they
execute and file with the Court their written agreement to be bound by the provisions of this
Protections Extended to Third-Party’s Confidential Information. The parties
agree to extend the provisions of this Protective Order to Confidential Information produced in
this case by third parties, if timely requested by the third party. Third parties will be notified of
this Protective Order to Confidential Information when any party to this lawsuit requests
documents from them.
Confidential Information Subpoenaed or Ordered Produced in Other
Litigation. If a receiving party is served with a subpoena or an order issued in other litigation
that would compel disclosure of any material or document designated in this action as
Confidential Information, the receiving party must so notify the designating party, in writing,
immediately and in no event more than three (3) business days after receiving the subpoena or
order. Such notification shall be made to the attorney of record in this case, or to the actual
party in the case of a pro se litigant, and must include a copy of the subpoena or court order.
The receiving party also must immediately inform in writing the party who caused the
subpoena or order to issue in the other litigation that some or all of the material covered by the
subpoena or order is the subject of this Order. In addition, the receiving party must deliver a
copy of this Order promptly to the party in the other action that caused the subpoena to issue.
The purpose of imposing these duties is to alert the interested persons to the existence
of this Order and to afford the designating party in this case an opportunity to try to protect
its Confidential Information in the Court from which the subpoena or order issued. The
designating party bears the burden and the expense of seeking protection in that court of its
Confidential Information, and nothing in these provisions should be construed as authorizing
or encouraging a receiving party in this action to disobey a lawful directive from another
The obligations set forth in this paragraph remain in effect while the party has in its
possession, custody, or control Confidential Information by the other party to this case.
20. No provision of this order is intended to limit the Defendant’s ability to defend
this action or another action pending in this Court captioned Miranda Russell and Ruth
Heckman v. Robert Hatfield, 5:17-CV-16-MOC-DSC. Further, the disclosure of
information received by the Defendant from the United States or otherwise and identified as
Confidential in this lawsuit shall not be deemed a violation of this Order if the information
is disclosed in discovery, in a hearing, or at trial in Miranda Russell and Ruth Heckman v.
Robert Hatfield, 5:17-CV-16-MOC-DSC, provided that such disclosure is consistent with
the terms of this Order, specifically paragraphs
6-7 and 10.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Signed: February 7, 2018
WE SO MOVE and agree to abide by the terms of this Order.
For the Plaintiff UNITED STATES:
R. ANDREW MURRAY
United States Attorney
Western District of North Carolina
KATHERINE T. ARMSTRONG
Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina
227 West Trade Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 338-3104
Fax: (704) 344-6629
For the Defendant ROBERT NEAL
s/Ryan D. Bolick
Ryan D. Bolick
Virginia M. Wooten
CRANFILL SUMNER & HARTZOG LLP
P.O. Box 30787
Charlotte, NC 28230
JOHN M. GORE
Acting Assistant Attorney General
s/ Colin Stroud
SAMEENA SHINA MAJEED
MICHAEL S. MAURER
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Northwest Building, 7th Floor
Washington, DC 20530
Phone: (202) 514-4737
Fax: (202) 514-1116
AGREEMENT TO BE BOUND
The undersigned hereby acknowledges that s/he has read the Protective Order dated
in the case captioned United States v. Hatfield, Case No. 5:17-cv-121-MOCDCK (W.D.N.C.), and understands the terms thereof and agrees to be bound by its terms. The
undersigned submits to the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Western District
of North Carolina in matters relating to this Protective Order and understands that the terms of the
Protective Order obligate him/her to use materials designated as Confidential Information in
accordance with the order solely for the purposes of the above-captioned action, and not to disclose
any such Confidential Information to any other person, firm, or concern, except in accordance with
the provisions of the Protective Order.
The undersigned acknowledges that violation of the Protective Order may result in
penalties for contempt of court.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?