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Danford v. Lowe's Companies Inc

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

December 11, 2019

DANIEL DANFORD, individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated individuals, Plaintiffs,


          David C. Keesler United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Daniel Danford and the opt-in plaintiffs (together, the “Plaintiffs”) and Defendants Lowe's Companies, Inc. and Lowe's Home Centers, LLC (together, “Lowe's”) have stipulated and requested that the Court enter a protective order pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c), to ensure and maintain the confidentiality of certain records and materials Plaintiffs and Lowe's produce in response to pretrial discovery requests.

         Need for Protective Order

         Danford has asserted claims on behalf of himself and other similarly situated individuals pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), North Carolina Wage and Hour Act (“NCWHA”), and North Carolina state law alleging certain wage payment violations. (ECF No. 17). This Court conditionally certified this litigation as a collective action. (ECF No. 50). Lowe's denies the material allegations made by Danford and the opt-in plaintiffs in this action, and denies that the claims in this litigation should be certified as a collective or class action.

         Because of the nature of the factual issues involved in this case, the parties anticipate that the discovery in this litigation will include production and disclosure by the parties and by third parties of information that may be confidential or proprietary including, without limitation, financial information, tax information, personnel information, and employment records. Accordingly, the parties believe that entry of this Consent Protective Order is in the interest of all parties and in the interest of the fair and efficient administration of justice.


         Confidential Information

         1. Pursuant to Rule 26(c), the parties may designate documents, information, and other materials as “Confidential.” All documents, information, and other materials marked as “Confidential” shall be entitled to the protections provided in this Order.

         2. “Confidential Information” shall mean any type or classification of information which is designated as “Confidential” in the manner specified below, in the good faith belief that such information falls within the scope of Rule 26(c) and is subject to this Order. For purposes of this Order, “Confidential Information” means proprietary, business, commercial, financial, tax, and personal information, including, but not limited to, employee personnel files, pay information, medical records, customer or client information, corporate policies and procedures, employee training materials, trade secrets, business information as to which disclosure would pose a threat of competitive injury to Lowe's, and other competitively sensitive materials. “Confidential Information” may include documents, information contained in documents, depositions, interrogatory answers, and other information furnished by or on behalf of any party in connection with this litigation that falls within the scope of this Order.

         Designation of Confidential Information

         3. Any party producing documents may designate such documents and copies thereof as Confidential by marking any page as follows: CONFIDENTIAL.

         4. Information disclosed at the deposition of any party or at the deposition of one of Lowe's present or former officers, directors, employees or agents, or of independent experts retained by any party for purposes of this litigation, may be designated by such party as Confidential by indicating on the record at the deposition that the testimony is confidential and subject to the provisions of this Order. Alternatively, such party may designate information disclosed at such deposition as Confidential by notifying all parties in writing, within ten (10) business days of receipt of the transcript, of the specific pages and lines of the transcript which are Confidential.

         5. Either Plaintiffs or Lowe's shall have the right to designate as Confidential materials produced or disclosed by the other.

         6. In the event that any party disagrees with any Confidential designation, that party shall send a written notice to opposing counsel specifying the designation in question and the basis for the objection. The designating party shall then have five (5) business days after receipt of a challenge notice to advise the receiving party whether or not it will change the designation. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement after the expiration of this five (5) business day timeframe, the challenging party shall then have seven (7) business days to seek resolution by the Court. Until any dispute under this paragraph is ruled upon ...

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