United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS FOR PROTECTIVE
CHARLES S. HAIGHT, JR., Senior United States District Judge
are two defense Motions for Protective Order [Doc. 54, 59],
regarding the ongoing discovery in this civil rights
litigation. This ruling will resolve both.
Liberty Bank ("the Bank" or "Defendant")
first requested a protective order by its Motion [Doc 54] of
November 17, 2017. I deferred resolution of that Motion, by
text order, on December 27, 2017:
The Court is in no position to adjudicate Defendant's
present request, where Plaintiff has not provided the
requests for production and/or interrogatories which
occasioned Defendant's Motion, and where Defendant, for
its part, has not complied with Local Rule 7(a)(1)'s
requirement to provide a memorandum as to the disputed issues
of law. Absent any information on the nature of discovery
sought, and the legal basis for denying that discovery, the
Court is unable to rule.
renewed Motion [Doc. 59], Defendant asks the Court to enter a
protective order, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
26(c)(1), in order to exclude certain materials from the
Defendant's initial disclosures required of Defendant by
Rule 26(a)(1), and to prospectively preclude the discovery of
those same materials during the later stages of discovery.
Plaintiff Anthony Nwachukwu ("Plaintiff") has filed
an Objection [Doc. 61] to the instant Motion, and Defendant
has filed a Reply [Doc. 62].
argues that federal law and regulation
prohibit a financial institution from disclosing certain
documents, which would otherwise be subject to disclosure
under Rule 26(a)(1) or discovery under the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure. Without confirming or denying their
existence, if Liberty Bank is in possession of documents
encompassed by 12 U.S.C.A. § 3420 and 18 U.S.C. §
1510(b)(2), any disclosure thereof would violate the law and
could subject the bank to criminal penalties.
Br. 4. Defendant therefore seeks "a Protective Order
from this Court prohibiting the disclosure or discovery of
documents or information which might otherwise be subject to
disclosure under Rule 26(a)(1), or other discovery."
Defendant is asking for two forms of protection: first,
specific relief from the requirements of initial disclosures
under Rule 26(a)(1), and, second, prospective and broader
protection from anticipated interrogatories and requests for
production. Defendant's reply brief attempts to clarify
and particularize these alternate bases for protection:
The Defendant filed the Motion for Protective Order in
conjunction with its disclosures under Rule 26(a)(1) so as to
prohibit the disclosure of discovery of certain documents,
should they exist. The Motion for Protective Order was not
filed in response to the Plaintiff's interrogatories or
requests for production. The impetus for its filing was the
requirements of 26(a)(1), which could potentially require a
party to violate the law by requiring the disclosure of
certain protected documents. Liberty Bank acknowledges that
the Protective Order might extend to information or documents
also sought in Plaintiff's discovery. However, Defendant
intends to respond or object to Plaintiff's discovery in
course. The Protective Order is merely an attempt to deal
with potential disclosure conflicts that may exist. In that
sense, it is reactive to Rule 26(a)(1) and proactive
concerning expected discovery.
Doc. 62 at 1-2.
STANDARD FOR ISSUANCE OF PROTECTIVE ORDER
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c), "[a] party or any
person from whom discovery is sought may move for a
protective order in the court where the action is pending . .
. . The court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect
a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression,
or undue burden or expense."
26(c) confers broad discretion on the trial court to decide
when a protective order is appropriate and what degree of
protection is required." In re Zyprexa
Injunction, 474 F.Supp.2d 385, 415 (E.D.N.Y.2007)
(quoting Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S.
20, 36 (1984)). "The touchstone of the court's power
under Rule 26(c) is the requirement of 'good cause.'
The party wishing to seal materials bears the burden of
demonstrating good cause as to why the material should be
concealed from the public." Gomez v.
Resurgent Capital Servs., LP, 129 F.Supp.3d 147, 152-53
(S.D.N.Y. 2015) (Sweet, J.). See also Penthouse
Int'l, Ltd. v. Playboy Enters., 663 F.2d 371, ...