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Pratt v. Allbriton

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

July 17, 2017

CONSTANCE PRATT, Plaintiff
v.
RETHA ALLBRITTON, SOPHIA ELLIS, KEISHA ADAMS, MARGARET DIXON, JANE DAWSON, and LINDA MIZELLE, Defendants

          PROTECTIVE ORDER

          ROBERT T. NUMBERS, II UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is one in which Plaintiff has sought a Protective Order to apply to the production of her medical records. In addition to this issue, the Court recognizes that certain personnel information for the Defendants is protected as confidential under the State Statutes of North Carolina (see, N.C. G.S. 153A-98). This Court directed the parties to confer to attempt to agree on a Protective order [D.E. 49]. Having been advised that the parties were unable to reach consensus on this, the Court enters this Order.

         The Court has determined it to be in the best interests of both parties to facilitate the discovery process by maintaining certain information as confidential and to restrict the dissemination of such information in compliance with HIPAA N.C. G.S. § 153A-98, and other applicable restrictions. Accordingly, pursuant to Rule 26(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, good cause having been shown and the Court deeming it just and proper to do so, it is hereby ORDERED that:

1. This Order governs the handling and disclosure of all materials produced, given, or filed herein by the parties and designated as "CONFIDENTIAL" during the discovery phase of this action. A separate order will be entered at the appropriate time regarding the use of CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION during the trial or trials of any matter or issue herein. For purposes of this Order, CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION includes, but is not limited to, confidential personnel information pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 153A-98, and confidential medical and mental health treatment records.

         2. Definitions.

         a. "Document" means all writings, drawings, graphs, charts, recordings, and any other documents as defined in Rule 34 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         b. "Material" means any document, any answer to any interrogatory or other discovery request in this action, any portion of any deposition (including deposition exhibits) in this action, and any other information produced, given, or filed in this action.

         c. "Parties" means Plaintiff CONSTANCE PRATT, and Defendants RETHA ALLBRITTON, SOPHIA ELLIS, KEISHA ADAMS, MARGARET DIXON, JANE DAWSON, and LINDA MIZELLE.

         3. Procedure for Designating Information as Confidential.

         a. A party or witness may designate as CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION any material produced in the course of discovery that contains confidential information by writing, typing, or stamping on the face of such material the words "CONFIDENTIAL, " or by otherwise notifying counsel for the parties in writing, and, in the case of deposition transcripts and exhibits, also the court reporter, at the time of the production of the document or within 20 days of receipt of the deposition transcript. In the event CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION is contained in any written response to a discovery request, in any deposition transcript, or in any exhibit thereto, the confidential portion of such response, transcript, or exhibit shall be separately bound, and the words "CONFIDENTIAL" shall be placed thereon.

         b. In the event confidential, proprietary or sensitive material is inadvertently produced without placing the designation "CONFIDENTIAL" thereon, the party or witness may, subsequent to the production (or subsequent to the 20-day period for designating deposition transcripts), designate the material as CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION. In such event, the material shall be treated in accordance with the terms of this Order from the time of the designation.

         c. Should a party object to the designation of any material as CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION, that party may appeal to the Court for a ruling that the material shall not be so treated. Until the Court enters an order, if any, changing the designation of the material, it shall be treated as CONFIDENTIAL as provided in this Order.

         4. Disclosure and Use of Confidential Information.

         a. Provided that the requesting party and that party's counsel shall adhere strictly to the provisions of this Order with respect to all materials designated as Confidential, Counsel for the requesting party may have access to, inspect and copy CONFIDENTIAL MATERIALS sought through legitimate discovery means (except as described below), and no objection shall be raised to the production of any information or documents, or the answering to any interrogatories or deposition questions, on the grounds that said information, documents or answers are or may be considered confidential ...


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