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Courtney v. Ikea Holding U.S., Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

November 29, 2017


          W. Michael Workman Attorney for Plaintiff Courtney.

          Susan L. Hofer Attorney for Defendants, IKEA U.S. East, LLC, IKEA U.S. Property, Inc., IKEA Holding, U.S., Inc., and IKEA U.S. West, Inc.


          David C. Keesler United States Magistrate Judge.

         The Plaintiff, Davida Courtney, (“Plaintiff”) and the Defendants, IKEA U.S. East, LLC, IKEA U.S. Property, Inc., IKEA Holding, U.S., Inc., and IKEA U.S. West, Inc.[1] (hereinafter “Defendants”) are parties to the captioned litigation. Defendants believe that in this action they will or may be required to disclose proprietary and/or confidential information relating to the subject matter of this litigation. Defendants desire to protect such information that they believe in good faith may constitute confidential and proprietary information. In addition, Defendants reserve the right to object to any third party subpoenas that seek to disclose confidential information.

         Accordingly, upon joint motion of the parties and good cause shown pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c), the Court enters the following Stipulated Protective Order:


         1.1 Discovery in this action is anticipated to involve the disclosure of proprietary information, or confidential or commercial information of Defendants. This Stipulated Protective Order is therefore entered pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) to protect material entitled to be kept confidential, and to ensure that protection is afforded only to materials so entitled. In particular, Defendants anticipate that discovery may require the disclosure of data, materials, products, designs, plans, technology, computer programs, specifications, manuals, programs, forms, policies, procedures, schedules, business plans, software, marketing plans, financial information, and other sensitive proprietary commercial information.

         1.2 Information designated as “Confidential”, as defined below in Paragraph II, means documents that would disclose confidential and proprietary information central to the business operations and dealings of Defendant.

         This information is the subject of reasonable efforts of secrecy by Defendants who dedicate enormous economic and non-economic resources to developing, designing, and operating their business. The public disclosure of this type of proprietary information, therefore, would give competitors an opportunity to impede the Defendants' efforts to improve or increase its position in the marketplace and cause the Defendants great economic harm. And, there is no overriding public need for access to the information and documents over which the Defendants seek to maintain their confidentiality.

         1.3 The parties agree that Confidential Information should be given the protection of an order of this Court to prevent potential or claimed irreparable harm through disclosure to persons other than those persons involved in the prosecution or defense of this litigation who are defined in Paragraph V below. The parties further agree that such documents and information shall be used only for the purpose of this litigation and for no other purpose whatsoever, and shall not be given, shown, made available or distributed in any way to anyone except the individuals defined in Paragraph V below. This stipulated Protective Order shall not constitute a waiver of confidentiality with respect to any documents not specifically identified in this Stipulated Protective Order. To the extent that the parties wish to disclose documents and/or information that may not be protected by this Stipulated Protective Order, the parties reserve the right to file an agreement with the Court stipulating to the confidentiality of the specific documents and/or information.


         2.1 The terms defined in this Paragraph 2.1 (and, parenthetically, elsewhere) shall, throughout this Order, have the meanings here (and there) provided. Defined terms may be used in the singular or in the plural.

         2.1.1 “Designating Party” means the party or non-party designating any information which it either produces, is asked to produce or whose information is sought from or produced by any other person, as “Confidential.” 2.1.2 “Receiving Party” means the party receiving or requesting production of Confidential Information.

         2.1.3 “Confidential Information” means (a) any information, whether or not embodied in any physical medium, used (or commercially scheduled to be used) by the Designating Party in or pertaining to its trade or business that the Designating Party believes in good faith is not generally known in the Designating Party's trade or (b) is of a particularly competitively sensitive nature and is not known to the Receiving Party. Any summary, compilation or copy of any Confidential Information shall also constitute Confidential Information.

         2.1.4 “Termination” means the dismissal, whether with or without prejudice, or settlement of an action, or entry of final judgment in an action and the expiration of all periods of time to appeal or seek judicial review of such judgment.


         3.1 This Order shall be applicable to, and shall govern: (a) all requests for production of documents and things; (b) depositions; (c) interrogatories; (d) requests for admissions; (e) any other discovery; (f) court filings; and (g) any other letters, communications, mailings or other exchanges of information or presentation of evidence in this action not otherwise identified by the preceding descriptions in this Paragraph. With respect to the use of confidential information at trial or on appeal, the parties shall meet and confer at least thirty (30) days beforehand to attempt to agree upon appropriate procedures that are consistent with the provisions of this Stipulated Protective Order regarding confidentiality. The procedures to be used will be subject to court approval.

         3.2 This order shall not be construed: (a) to prevent or to authorize any party or its respective counsel from using, in the ordinary course of its business, information that falls within the definition of Confidential Information under Paragraph 2.1.3, which information was in its possession, independently of receipt of the information from the Designating Party, prior to entry of this Order or prior to the designation of that information as Confidential Information by the Designating Party pursuant to this Order; (b) to apply to information that is or becomes publicly known through no fault of the Receiving Party; or (c) to apply to information that the Receiving Party (or its counsel) has, prior or subsequent to the date of receipt of the information from the Designating Party, obtained from a third party, as to whom the Receiving Party (or its counsel) has no reasonable basis to believe that the third party is in breach of any duty of confidence to the Designating Party with respect to that information or shall independently develop. Documents obtained from public sources shall not be treated as Confidential Information, unless the public source produced said documents by mistake, inadvertence and/or negligence.

         3.3 All matters designated by a Designating Party as Confidential Information in accordance with this Order shall be used solely for the purposes of this action. It may not be used or made available for any business or commercial purpose (except as is contemplated in Paragraph 3.3 or for any other litigation or alternative dispute resolution procedure, except by written agreement between the Designating Party and the Receiving Party or upon an order by this Court after reasonable notice and a hearing, at which the Designating and Receiving Parties shall have an opportunity to be heard. To the extent a party wishes to use confidential information at a mediation, settlement conference or other method of alternative dispute resolution, the parties shall submit such documents in camera to the mediator, facilitator or presiding officer, from whom the documents shall be retrieved when the proceedings have concluded.

         3.4 If any party or a member of the public believes that any designated materials do not contain confidential, proprietary information, it may, at any time, contest the applicability of this Stipulated Protective Order to such material by notifying the attorneys for the producing party and identifying the material contested. Upon such notification, the parties shall first try to jointly dispose of such dispute in good faith. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the party that disagrees with the designation may seek appropriate relief from this Court, and the Designating Party shall have the burden of proving that the information is then entitled to be treated as Confidential Information for the purposes of this Order.

         3.5 A party shall not be obligated to challenge the propriety of a Confidential Information designation at the time it is made, and not doing so at that time shall not waive its right at any time during which this Order shall be in effect to request the Court to determine the propriety of ...

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