United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Collins United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is the parties' Joint Motion for Entry of
Stipulated Protective Order (DE 17), seeking approval of a
proposed stipulated protective order submitted by the parties
(DE 17-1). Because the proposed order is inadequate, the
motion will be DENIED.
Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 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. It
allows a party to designate as “Confidential Personal
Information” any “proprietary business processes,
confidential information or portions thereof, of Defendant
General Motors, and the non-party JustUs Programs . . .
.” (DE 17-1 ¶ 5(A)). Elsewhere in the proposed
order, the parties define “Confidential” as
“non-public . . . information that is by federal or
state law or common practice, confidential or
non-public.” (DE 17-1 ¶ 4(C)). However, defining
the term “Confidential” by using the general
terms of “confidential, ” “non-public,
” “commercially sensitive, ” or
“proprietary” is rather vague. Filter
Specialists, Inc. v. Hendi, No. 3:08-cv-365, 2008 WL
4367594, at *2 (N.D. Ind. Sept. 17, 2008). Therefore, the
Court is not satisfied that the parties know what information
constitutes “Confidential” material. See
Cincinnati Ins. Co., 178 F.3d at 946.
the proposed subcategory of “Confidential Personal
Information” includes “proprietary business
processes, confidential information or portions thereof, of
Defendant General Motors and the non-party JustUs Programs .
. . .” (DE 17-1 ¶ 5(A)). Clearly, the proprietary
information of Defendant and the non-party JustUs Programs is
not “personal information.” Furthermore, the
proposed order is confusing in that it uses the defined terms
“Confidential, ” “Confidential Materials,
” and “Confidential Personal Information.”
“If the parties seek non-trade secret protection for
any . . . information, they must present reasons for
protection and criteria for designation other than simply
that the information is not otherwise publicly
available.” Cook, Inc., 206 F.R.D. at
249. “They must describe a category or categories of
information and show that substantial privacy interests
outweigh the presumption of public access to discovery
material.” Id. For material to be protected,
it “must give the holder an economic advantage
and threaten a competitive injury-business
information whose release harms the holder only because the
information is embarrassing or reveals weaknesses does not
qualify for trade secret protection.” Id. at
248. Accordingly, “merely asserting that a disclosure
of the information ‘could' harm a litigant's
competitive position is insufficient; the motion must explain
how.” Shepard v. Humke, IP 01-1103-C-H/K, 2003
WL 1702256, at *1 (S.D. Ind. Mar. 28, 2003) (citing
Baxter Int'l, Inc., 297 F.3d at 547).
to the extent that paragraphs 3(D) and 14 of the proposed
order may suggest that the Court will retain jurisdiction
over this matter after the termination of this suit, the
Court will not 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).
for the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES the parties'
motion for the entry of an agreed protective order. (DE 17).
The parties may submit a revised stipulated 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 long-term