United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR A
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motion for a
protective order. Dkt. 36. The Court has considered the
pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motion
and the remainder of the file and hereby grants the motion
for the reasons stated herein.
parties in this case agree that a protective order should be
entered to protect confidential information disclosed by all
parties, but Plaintiffs and Defendants have been unable to
agree on the scope of protection. See Dkt. 37. They
have attempted in good faith to resolve their concerns,
including multiple exchanges of drafts of a proposed
stipulated protective order. Id. On November 7,
2017, the parties conferenced and determined that they could
not resolve their differences.
December 1, 2017, the parties filed a joint request regarding
their disagreement. Dkt. 32. On December 4, 2017, the Court
denied the request, stating:
The problem with the parties' submission is that they
have not come to an agreement on a stipulated protective
order nor specified any discovery that they seek to protect
or compel. Stipulated protective orders are allowed under
Local Civil Rule precisely because they are stipulated.
See W.D. Wash. Local Rules LCR 26(c). Absent such a
stipulation, the Court is unaware of any authority to enter
such a protective order unless the party seeking a limitation
on a discovery disclosure has satisfied its burden under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1).
Similarly, the Court cannot compel discovery unless a party
seeking discovery has appropriately moved and carried its
burden under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37. Fed.R.Civ.P.
The parties have failed to carry their burden under the
applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to either compel
or limit discovery. Accordingly, Defendants' motion for a
protective order is denied. If Plaintiff seeks discovery of
confidential information, Defendants may move for protective
relief on the specified discovery and seek an order
appropriately limiting such discovery under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 26(c)(1).
Dkt. 34 at 2.
January 31, 2018, Defendants filed a new motion for a
protective order. Dkt. 36. On February 13, 2018, Plaintiffs
responded. Dkt. 38. On February 15, 208, Defendants replied.
Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) governs the issuance of
protective orders in civil matters. A court may enter a
protective order “to protect a party or person from
annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or
expense . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1). Information
sought during pre-trial discovery is presumptively open to
the public, but a party seeking a protective order may
override this presumption by demonstrating “good
cause” that the information should be protected from
public disclosure. Phillips ex rel. Estates of Byrd v.
General Motors Corp., 307 F.3d 1206, 1210 (9th Cir.
moving party bears the burden of showing that “specific
prejudice or harm will result if no protective order is
granted.” Id. at 1210. The Court may limit
discovery or enter a protective order where the moving party
shows that the interests in limiting discovery
“outweigh [the discovery's] likely benefit,
considering the needs of the case, the amount in controversy,
the parties' resources, the importance of the issues at
stake in the action, and the importance of discovery in
resolving the issues.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(2) (C)(iii).
See Brown Bag Software v. Symantec Corp., 960 F.2d
1465, 1469-70 (9th Cir. 1992).
seek a protective order regarding two specific categories of
information. First, Defendants seek to limit the public
disclosure of State employees' home addresses, emergency
contact information, telephone numbers, and social security
numbers. Second, Defendants seek to limit the public
disclosure of a somewhat broad and vague category of
information that it describes as “enforcement
information, ” including “records related to
do not argue that such information should not be protected
generally from public disclosure, although they do comment
that arguments could be made regarding overbreadth of the
purportedly confidential information. Instead Plaintiffs
highlight that the parties' dispute revolves around the
extent to which the disclosure of the discoverable
information should be limited by any ...