Central District Issues Rare Opinion Rejecting Stipulated Protective Order

Image via Wikipedia By CHARLES H. JUNG

Magistrate Judge Fernando M. Olguin issued a rare opinion about a stipulated protective order, rejecting the proposed  stipulated order in Murphy v. Continental Tire North America, Inc., No. CV 09-3004 GHK (FMOx), 2010 WL 3260183 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 9, 2010).  The court gave six  reasons for the rejection, including the failure to include a good cause statement (citing Makar-Wellbon v. Sony Elecs., Inc., 187 F.R.D. 576, 577 (E.D. Wis. 1999) (even stipulated protective orders require good cause showing)), lack of specificity in the description of the material to be protected (the parties used conclusory terms such as “confidential technical information”), and duration (“once a case proceeds to trial, all of the information that was designated as confidential and/or kept and maintained pursuant to the terms of a protective order becomes public and will be presumptively available to all members of the public, including the press, unless good cause is shown to the district judge in advance of the trial to proceed otherwise”).  

The court also warned that: “the fact that a protective order has not been entered in this case as to discovery material produced by defendant Ford Motor Company, does not excuse the parties from fully complying with all discovery requests. See, e.g., Garcia v. Almieda, 2006 WL 3001171, at *4 (E.D. Cal.2006) (“[F]iling a motion for a protective order does not work to immediately shield the moving party from the [duty to appear at a] deposition.”); Cima v. WellPoint Health Networks, Inc., 2008 WL 746916, at *4 (S.D. Ill.2008) (the duty to timely respond to interrogatories or requests for production is not altered by a pending protective order); see also Schwarzer, Tashima & Wagstaffe, Cal. Practice Guide: Fed. Civ. Pro. Before Trial ¶ 11:1166 (The Rutter Group 2010) (“The mere fact that a motion for protective order is pending does not itself excuse the subpoenaed party from making discovery[.]”).


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