United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
THOSE CERTAIN UNDERWRITERS AT LLOYD'S, LONDON, SUBSCRIBING TO CERTIFICATE NO. SUA WS20114-1601, Plaintiffs,
ISTREAM FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC., KRIS AXBERG, RICHARD JOACHIM, and CHET ANDREWS, Defendants.
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge.
25, 2017, the parties filed a joint motion for entry of a
protective order. (Docket #17). The parties request that the
Court enter a protective order so that they may avoid the
public disclosure of confidential information and documents.
Id. 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. 26(e).
Court sympathizes with the parties' 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. Am. Tel. & Tel. 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. 2006).
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.
County 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 at 945). The
parties have requested the protective order in this case in
good faith; they seek the order so that they might freely
exchange sensitive information including, for example,
sensitive employee information, proprietary business
information, and confidential information collected by the
Federal Trade Commission pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 57b.
(Docket #17 at 1-2). The Court thus finds that there is good
cause to issue the requested protective order.
the Court finds that two slight changes are necessary to
maintain compliance with the above-cited precedent. First,
the proposed order requires sealing, in whole or in part, of
all confidential documents. This departs from the Court's
desire to ensure that every phase of the trial occurs in the
public eye to the maximum extent possible. See Hicklin
Eng'r, L.C., 439 F.3d at 348. While the Court
understands that some documents will need to be sealed
entirely, other documents may contain only small amounts of
confidential information, and so redaction of those documents
may be more appropriate. The Court has modified the
parties' proposed language to that effect. See
supra Paragraph 4. Second, consistent with the
Court's and this district's standard practice, the
Court will allow members of the public to challenge the
confidentiality of documents filed in this case. See
supra Paragraph 5.
the Court must note that, while it finds the parties'
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 that it will not enter any decision under seal.
Based on the parties' joint motion, (Docket #17), and the
factual representations set forth therein, the Court finds
that exchange of sensitive information between or among the
parties and/or third parties other than in accordance with
this Order may cause unnecessary damage and injury to the
parties or 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 a protective order governing the
confidentiality of documents produced in discovery, answers
to interrogatories, answers to requests for admission, and
ORDERED that, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c) and Civil L. R.
CERTAIN UNDERWRITERS AT LLOYD'S, LONDON, SUBSCRIBING TO
CERTIFICATE NO. SUA WS20114-1601
(“Underwriters”), iSTREAM FINANCIAL SERVICES,
INC. (“iStream”), KRIS AXBERG
(“Axberg”), RICHARD JOACHIM
(“Joachim”), CHET ANDREWS (“Andrews”)
(iStream, Axberg, Joachim and Andrews are referred
collectible herein as the “iStream Defendants”)
(individually a “Party” or collectively the
“Parties”), recognize that in the course of
discovery proceedings it will be necessary for the Parties to
disclose certain confidential information, but all Parties
wish to ensure that such confidential information shall not
be used for any purpose other than the proceedings in this
case (the “Litigation”).
the Parties recognize that in the course of these proceedings
it will be necessary for the Parties to disclose confidential
business information, such as materials that a Party believes
in good faith contain trade secrets, non-public information
relating to customers of any Party, personal information
regarding that Party or current and former employees of that
Party, information that the Party has otherwise agreed to
keep confidential, or sensitive commercial, financial,
technical, marketing or proprietary business information
(“Confidential Business Information”). Each Party
wishes to ensure that such Confidential Business Information
shall not be used for any purpose other than the proceedings
in the Litigation.
Parties further recognize that in the course of these
proceedings it may be necessary for the Parties to disclose
to the Court or to each other certain confidential and
proprietary insurance information, claims communications and
other documents and information that may be deemed ...