United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
COLLINS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is Defendant's Motion for Entry of Agreed
Protective Order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
26(c), seeking the approval of a proposed protective order
stipulated to by the parties. (DE 17). Because the proposed
order is inadequate in several ways, the parties' motion
will be DENIED.
26(c) allows the Court to enter a protective order for good
cause shown. See Citizens First Nat'l Bank of
Princeton v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 178 F.3d 943, 946 (7th
Cir. 1999). A protective order, however, must only extend to
"properly demarcated categor[ies] of legitimately
confidential information." Id.; see MRS Invs. v.
Meridian Sports, Inc., No. IP 99-1954-C-F/M, 2002 WL
193140, at *1 (S.D. Ind. Feb. 6, 2002) (rejecting proposed
protective order because categories of protected information
were overly broad and vague); Cook, Inc. v. Boston Sci.
Corp., 206 F.R.D. 244, 248-49 (S.D. Ind. 2001) (same).
the proposed order fails to set forth narrow, demarcated
categories of legitimately confidential information. First,
the proposed order enables a party to designate material as
confidential if a party "believes in good faith"
that the material "contains or constitutes"
confidential or proprietary information. (DE 17-1 ¶ 2).
However, the term "believes in good faith” is a
“fudge” phrase that contributes to the vagueness
of the proposed order. See Cincinnati Ins. Co., 178
F.3d at 944 (emphasizing that the word “believed”
incorporated into the phrase “believed to contain trade
secrets” is a “fudge”); Shepard v.
Humke, No. IP 01-1103-C-H/K, 2003 WL 1702256, at *1
(S.D. Ind. Mar. 28, 2003) (articulating that a party's
attempt to qualify a “fudge” word by the phrase
“in good faith” fails to sufficiently cure the
problem is that the proposed order allows documents that
“contain” confidential information to be filed
entirely under seal (DE 17-1 ¶¶ 2, 14), rather than
solely protecting the actual confidential information through
redaction. See Cincinnati Ins. Co., 178 F.3d at 945
(stating that an order sealing documents containing
confidential information is overly broad because a document
containing confidential information may also contain material
that is not confidential, in which case a party's
interest in maintaining the confidential information would be
adequately protected by redacting only portions of the
the parties include a “catch-all” category of
material in their proposed order, that seeks to protect
“[o]ther similar confidential information or
proprietary information . . . .” (DE 17-1 ¶ 2(e)).
But in light of this category, the Court is not satisfied
that the parties know what information constitutes
confidential material. See Cincinnati Ins. Co., 178
F.3d at 946. The Seventh Circuit has repeatedly held that
overly broad protective orders are invalid. See, e.g.,
Cincinnati Ins. Co., 178 F.3d at 945 (noting that a
broad protective order granting carte blanche discretion to a
party is invalid).
to the extent that paragraphs 5 and 20 of the proposed
protective order suggest that the Court will retain
jurisdiction over this matter after the termination of this
suit, those provisions are not acceptable. (DE 17-1
¶¶ 5, 20). The Court is unwilling to enter a
protective order that suggests it will retain jurisdiction of
any kind after resolution of the case. See E.E.O.C. v.
Clarice's Home Care Serv., Inc., No. 3:07-cv-601
GPM, 2008 WL 345588, at *2 (S.D. Ill. Feb. 7, 2008)
(encouraging the parties to make a contractual agreement
among themselves for the return of sensitive documents
without court oversight); see also Large v. Mobile Tool
Int'l, Inc., No. 1:02-CV-177, 2010 WL 3120254, at *1
(N.D. Ind. Aug. 6, 2010).
it is important to remember that “the public at large
pays for the courts and therefore has an interest in what
goes on at all stages of a judicial proceeding.”
Cincinnati Ins. Co., 178 F.3d at 946. The Seventh
Circuit has “insisted that litigation be conducted in
public to the maximum extent consistent with respecting trade
secrets, the identities of undercover agents, and other facts
that should be held in confidence.” Hicklin
Eng'g, L.C. v. Bartell, 439 F.3d 346, 348 (7th Cir.
2006) (citations omitted).
for the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES the
Defendant's motion for the entry of the proposed
stipulated protective order. (DE 17). The parties may submit
a revised proposed protective order consistent with the
requirements of Rule 26(c) and Seventh Circuit case law.
 “[T]he same scrutiny is not
required for protective orders made only for discovery as for
those that permit sealed filings.” Containment
Techs. Grp., Inc. v. Am. Soc'y of Health Sys.
Pharmacists, No. 1:07-cv-997-DFH-TAB, 2008 WL 4545310,
at *3 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 10, 2008). See also Baxter
Int'l, Inc. v. Abbot Labs., 297 F.3d 544, 545 (7th
Cir. 2002) (“Secrecy is fine at the discovery stage,
before the material enters the judicial record. But those
documents, usually a small subset of all discovery, that
influence or underpin the judicial decision are open to
public inspection unless they meet the definition of trade
secrets or other categories of bona fide ...