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HSG, LLC v. Edge-Works Manufacturing Co.

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Southern Division

May 18, 2017

HSG, LLC d/b/a “HIGH SPEED GEAR, ” Plaintiff,
v.
EDGE-WORKS MANUFACTURING COMPANY d/b/a “G-CODE” et al., Defendants.

          Andrew L. Rodenbough Thomas G. Varnum BROOKS, PIERCE, McLENDON, HUMPHREY & LEONARD, LLP Attorneys for Plaintiff and Counterdefendant HSG, LLC d/b/a High Speed Gear.

          Gregory D. Latham, Esq. Intellectual Property Consulting, LLC Attorney for Defendant and Counterclaimant Edge-Works Manufacturing Company d/b/a “G-Code”.

          Matthew C. Coxe, Esq. The Coxe Law Firm, PLLC Attorney for Defendants and Counterclaimants Albert Gene Higdon, Jr., A G Higdon LLC d/b/a “Mean Gene Leather” and Rebecca A. Higdon.

          PROTECTIVE ORDER

          Honorable Louise Wood Flanagan United States District Court Judge.

         WHEREAS, all of the parties to this civil action, through counsel, jointly represent that (i) certain information, documents and things likely to be requested and produced in this action will be confidential commercial information, such as product manufacturing materials and methods, sales records, customer lists, customer contacts and customer information, business information or marketing plans, strategies or methods, pricing and financial documents, and product cost information, and (ii) filings in this action will likely include copies of, excerpts of, or detailed references to the Global Settlement Agreement between and among the parties, dated December 8, 2015 (Exhibit A to the Amended Complaint, DE#33; the “Settlement Agreement”), which contains a confidentiality provision applicable to filings in this action; therefore, to preserve the confidential or proprietary status of such information, the parties jointly request the entry of an appropriate Protective Order pursuant to Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; and

         WHEREAS, the parties, through counsel of record in this action, have all agreed to the form and content of such an Order as hereinafter set forth; and

         WHEREAS, this Order shall also govern materials produced during discovery by any nonparty, where the nonparty or a party requests the protections provided by this Order; and

         BASED on the foregoing and upon a review of the proposed Protective Order, the Court believes that the entry of the Protective Order is fair, in the interest of justice, and should be entered.

         NOW, THEREFORE, it is ORDERED that until this Order is amended or superseded by the Court, the parties will follow the procedures set forth below with respect to the use of all produced documents, responses to interrogatories and requests for admissions, deposition transcripts and any other information, documents, objects or things that have been or will be produced by any party (“Producing Party”) during proceedings in this action:

         1. Definition of Confidential Matter.

         As used herein, “Confidential Matter” shall mean any information, documents or things furnished in the course of this litigation by any party (or nonparty) that any party (or nonparty) designates as “CONFIDENTIAL” or “ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY” pursuant to subparagraphs 1(a) or 1(b) below.

         (a) Confidential Matter may be designated “CONFIDENTIAL” if the Producing Party reasonably and in good faith believes it constitutes, reflects, contains or otherwise discloses (i) material non-public insider information, confidential and/or commercially sensitive or proprietary information, such as product manufacturing methods or materials, sales records, customer lists, customer contacts and customer information, business information or marketing plans, strategies or methods, pricing and financial documents, and product cost information; (ii) personnel files; (iii) information that a party is under a duty to preserve as confidential under a court or administrative order, pursuant to Section 14 of the Settlement Agreement, or by agreement with or obligation to a third person; or (iv) other information which the Producing Party believes in good faith must be maintained in confidence in order to protect its business or commercial interests.

         (b) Confidential Matter may be designated as “ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY” if the Producing Party reasonably and in good faith believes it constitutes, reflects, contains, or otherwise discloses material identified in paragraph 1(a) and its disclosure is likely to cause current competitive harm or significant competitive disadvantage to the Producing Party.

         (c) Any documents or things identified as Confidential Matter by the Producing Party shall be designated as such by stamping, marking or labeling on the face of the document the appropriate designation of “CONFIDENTIAL” or “ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY” pursuant to subparagraphs 1(a) and 1(b). The stamping, marking or labeling of any disk or portable USB storage device as “CONFIDENTIAL ” or “ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY” shall constitute the designation of all documents on the disk as Confidential Matter.

         (d) Any documents or things identified as Confidential Matter by a party other than the Producing Party shall be designated as such by letter to counsel for the Producing Party (with copies to other counsel) within twenty-one (21) days after receipt of the documents or things by that party. All parties shall thereafter take reasonable steps to stamp, mark or label on the face of the document or thing the word “CONFIDENTIAL” or “ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY” pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 3.

         (e) Any party shall have twenty-one (21) days after receipt of a copy of a deposition transcript to designate portions of the testimony as Confidential Matter. Until the twenty-one (21) day period has expired, the entire deposition transcript shall be treated as confidential. The transcript of the deposition that contains such Confidential Matter shall bear the notation “Confidential Information - Subject to a Protective Order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina” or shall be otherwise appropriately marked by the parties. Nothing herein shall prevent a party from orally designating testimony as Confidential Matter during a deposition, and if so designated, the Court Reporter shall be instructed to prepare the transcript of the deposition with the designated testimony marked as “CONFIDENTIAL” or “ATTORNEYS' EYES ONLY.”

         (f) Any information, documents or things not designated as Confidential Matter shall not be covered by this Order, provided, however, that inadvertent production of any information, document or thing without identification as Confidential Matter shall not by itself be deemed a waiver of the Producing Party's claim of confidentiality as to such matter, and the Producing Party thereafter may identify the same as Confidential Matter. Disclosure by any party of such matter prior to notice by the Producing Party of the confidential nature thereof shall not be deemed a violation of this Order.

         2. Confidentiality Restrictions.

         All Confidential Matter made available to any party (or its counsel) through this litigation (the “Receiving Party”) shall be treated by the Receiving Party (and its counsel) as confidential and for use solely in connection with this litigation and any appeals and not for any other purpose.

         (a) Access to Confidential Matter designated as “CONFIDENTIAL” shall be restricted to the following persons, and the Receiving Party (and its counsel) shall not disclose the designated Confidential Matter to anyone other than the following persons:

(i) attorneys of record in this litigation, attorneys at the same firm assisting in this litigation, and in-house and outside counsel for the Receiving Party, including the secretarial, paralegals, legal assistants and office/support staffs of such attorneys;
(ii) officers and employees of a party having a need to know the information related to this litigation;
(iii) the Court, including its staff and any jury selected in this case, under such safeguards as are provided in this Order or as are required by this Court in the event any confidential information is to be ...

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