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Liu v. Kell

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

January 23, 2018

LI LIU, Plaintiff,
v.
KEEGAN KELL, Defendant.

          ORDER

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's motion for a protective order (Dkt. No. 37). Having thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the relevant record, the Court GRANTS the motion in part and DENIES the motion in part.

         Defendant seeks certain financial information from Plaintiff to assist in his defense to Plaintiff's action seeking enforcement of her I-864 support obligation. (Dkt. No. 40 at 1-2.) Namely, Defendant seeks Plaintiff's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”) application, PayPal transaction history, bank statements, and food assistance applications. (Dkt. No. 37 at 6.) Plaintiff agrees the information is discoverable. (Dkt. No. 41 at 2.) But she believes Defendant will misuse this information. (Id. at 2-4.) Plaintiff sought a stipulated protective order, which Defendant refused to provide. (Id.) Plaintiff now moves the Court for a protective order precluding disclosure of the information described above for purposes outside of this dispute. (See Dkt. No. 37-2.)

A party or any person from whom discovery is sought may move for a protective order in the court where the action is pending -- or as an alternative on matters relating to a deposition, in the court for the district where the deposition will be taken . . . The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c).

         Plaintiff “has the burden of proving ‘good cause, ' which requires a showing that specific prejudice or harm will result if the protective order is not granted.” In re Roman Catholic Archbishop of Portland in Oregon, 661 F.3d 417, 424 (9th Cir. 2011). Plaintiff has demonstrated good cause for entering the order Plaintiff seeks, but only to the extent Defendant does not have a disclosure obligation for that information. See Phillips Estates of Byrd v. Gen. Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1211 (9th Cir. 2002) (the Court must balance “the public and private interests to decide whether a protective order is necessary.”).

         For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion (Dkt. No. 37) in part and DENIES the motion in part. The Clerk is DIRECTED to enter the protective order below. The discovery period for the documents referenced in the order, see infra section 2, is EXTENDED as necessary for Plaintiff to produce the documents, but not for any other purpose. The Court DENIES Plaintiff's request for attorney fees. (Dkt. No. 37 at 7.) The parties reasonably dispute whether Plaintiff has shown good cause for a protective order. As such, an award of fees would be unjust. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(a)(5)(A)(iii).

         1. PURPOSES AND LIMITATIONS

         Discovery in this action is likely to involve production of confidential, proprietary, or private information for which special protection may be warranted. Accordingly the Court enters the following Protective Order. This Order is consistent with Local Civil Rule 26(c). It does not confer blanket protection on all disclosures or responses to discovery, 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, and it does not presumptively entitle parties to file confidential information under seal.

         2. “CONFIDENTIAL” MATERIAL

         “Confidential” material shall include the following documents and tangible things produced or otherwise exchanged: all Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applications signed by Plaintiff; Plaintiff's applications for food assistance; and Plaintiff's PayPal transaction history and bank statements (including those jointly held with Plaintiff's husband Adam Higley).

         3. SCOPE

         The protections conferred by this agreement cover not only confidential material (as defined above), but also (1) any information copied or extracted from confidential material; (2) all copies, excerpts, summaries, or compilations of confidential material; and (3) any testimony, conversations, or presentations by parties or their counsel that might reveal confidential material.

         However, the protections conferred by this agreement do not cover information that in the public domain or that which becomes part of the public domain through trial or otherwise.

         4. ACCESS TO AND USE OF CONFIDENTIAL MATERIAL

         4.1 Basic Principles. A receiving party may use confidential material that is disclosed or produced by another party or by a non-party in connection with this case only for prosecuting, defending, or attempting to settle this litigation. Confidential material may be disclosed only to the categories of persons and under the conditions described in this agreement. Confidential material must be stored and maintained by a receiving party ...


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