United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ESTATE OF DEREK WILLIAMS, JR., TANIJAH WILLIAMS, DEREK WILLIAMS III, and TALIYAH S. WILLIAMS, Plaintiffs,
CITY OF MILWAUKEE, JEFFREY CLINE, RICHARD TICCIONI, PATRICK COE, JASON BLEICHWEHL, ROBERT THIEL, TODD KAUL, ZACHARY THOMS, GREGORY KUSPA, CRAIG THIMM, CHAD BOYACK, and DAVID LETTEER, Defendants.
STANDTMUELLER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
December 20, 2016, the parties filed a stipulated request for
a confidentiality order. (Docket #18). They request the order
so that they may avoid the public disclosure of confidential
information and documents that the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (“FBI”) will produce in response to
the plaintiffs' subpoena. Id. at 1. Rule 26(c)
allows for an order “requiring that a trade secret or
other confidential research, development, or commercial
information not be revealed or be revealed only in a
specified way.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1)(G), Civil L. R.
Court sympathizes with the request and will grant it, but,
before doing so, must note the limits that apply to
protective orders. Protective orders are, in fact, an
exception to the general rule that pretrial discovery must
occur in the public eye. American Telephone &
Telegraph Co. v. Grady, 594 F.2d 594, 596 (7th Cir.
1979); Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c); see also Citizens First
Nat'l Bank of Princeton v. Cincinnati Ins.
Co., 178 F.3d 943, 945-46 (7th Cir. 1999). Litigation
must be “conducted in public to the maximum extent
consistent with respecting trade secrets…and other
facts that should be held in confidence.” Hicklin
Eng'r, L.C. v. Bartell, 439 F.3d 346, 348 (7th Cir.
the Court can enter a protective order if the parties have
shown good cause, and also that the order is narrowly
tailored to serving that cause. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c); see,
e.g., Citizens First Nat'l Bank of
Princeton, 178 F.3d at 945, Jepson, Inc. v. Makita
Elec. Works, Ltd., 30 F.3d 854, 858 (7th Cir. 1994)
(holding that, even when parties agree to the entry of a
protective order, they still must show the existence of good
cause). The Court can even find that broad, blanket orders
are narrowly tailored and permissible, when it finds that two
factors are satisfied:
(1) that the parties will act in good faith in designating
the portions of the record that should be subject to the
protective order; and
(2) that the order explicitly allows the parties to the case
and other interested members of the public to challenge the
sealing of documents.
Cty. Materials Corp. v. Allan Block Corp., 502 F.3d
730, 740 (7th Cir. 2006) (citing Citizens First Nat'l
Bank of Princeton, 178 F.3d 943, 945 (7th Cir. 1999)).
parties have requested the protective order in this case in
good faith. The parties note that the FBI has asked them to
seek the instant protective order so as to avoid incurring
civil and criminal liability when it produces the subject
records. (Docket #18 at 1). Further, this case involves the
death of Derek Williams, Jr. in the course of interactions
with various Milwaukee Police Department officers. As with
the City of Milwaukee records previously produced in this
matter, the FBI's document production will likely contain
proposed protective order is largely acceptable. The
Court's only revision is to include a provision
consistent with the Court's and this district's
standard practice of allowing any party and any interested
members of the public to challenge the sealing of documents.
Finally, the Court must note that, while it finds the
proposed order to be permissible and will, therefore, enter
it, the Court subscribes to the view that the Court's
decision-making process must be transparent and as publicly
accessible as possible. Thus, the Court preemptively warns
the parties and the DOJ that it will not enter any decision
the proposed protective order adequately complies with the
standards set forth above (after the Court's minor
changes), the Court will enter an order based on the
stipulation and proposed order to the Court.
Pursuant to the stipulation of the parties (Docket #18), the
Court finds that the exchange of sensitive information
between the parties and/or third parties other than in
accordance with this Order may cause unnecessary damage and
injury to the parties and to others. The Court further finds
that the terms of this Order are fair and just and that good
cause has been shown for entry of this Order.
THEREFORE, ORDERED that, pursuant to Civil Local Rule 26(e)
and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c)(1)(D), 1.
PURPOSES AND LIMITATIONS
purpose of this Order is to enable the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, its officers, agents, employees and
representatives to provide information to Plaintiffs in this
case which they might otherwise be prohibited from disclosing
under the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, and as to which
they might otherwise incur criminal and civil liability for
material shall include the following documents and tangible
things produced or otherwise exchanged:
(a) FBI records that include Privacy Act protected
information. Other than protection of Privacy Act protected
information, nothing in this order limits in any way any
other restrictions on the release of information, including
restrictions on release of classified or privileged
information, required or permitted by law.