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In re FCA U.S. LLC Monostable Electronic Gearshift Litigation

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 24, 2017


          Honorable David M. Lawson Judge


          DAVID M. LAWSON United States District Judge

         The parties have submitted a proposed protective order in which they ask the Court to regulate the designation and use during this litigation of documents that they believe may contain confidential materials.

         Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:


Discovery in this action is likely to involve production of confidential, proprietary, or private information for which special protection from public disclosure and from use for any purpose other than prosecuting this litigation may be warranted. The parties have stipulate to and asked the Court to enter the following Stipulated Protective Order. The parties acknowledge that this Order does not confer blanket protections on all disclosures or responses to discovery and that the protection it affords from public disclosure and use extends only to the limited information or items that are entitled to confidential treatment under the applicable legal principles. The parties acknowledge that this Protective Order is subject to the requirements and limitations of the Local Rules of the Eastern District of Michigan.

         The parties further acknowledge, as set forth in Section 11.4 below, that this Protective Order does not entitle them to file confidential information under seal. Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 5.3 sets forth the procedures that must be followed when a party seeks permission from the court to file material under seal.

         Discovery in this case may involve the production of trade secrets or other confidential research, development, commercial, financial, technical and/or proprietary commercial information. Such confidential and proprietary materials and information consist of, among other things, confidential business or financial information, information regarding confidential business practices, or other confidential research, development, or commercial information (including information implicating privacy rights of third parties), information otherwise generally unavailable to the public, or which may be privileged or otherwise protected from disclosure under state or federal statutes, court rules, case decisions, or common law. To expedite the flow of information, to facilitate the prompt resolution of disputes over confidentiality of discovery materials, to protect information the parties believe should be kept confidential, to ensure that the parties are permitted reasonable necessary uses of such material in preparation for and in the conduct of trial, to address their handling at the end of the litigation, a protective order for such information is prudent. It is the intent of the parties that information will not be designated as confidential for tactical reasons and that nothing be so designated without a good faith belief that it has been maintained in a confidential, non-public manner.


         As used in this Order, the following terms will have the meaning ascribed below:

A. Action: In re: FCA U.S. LLC MONOSTABLE ELECTRONIC GEARSHIFT LITIGATION, Case No. 16-md-02744-DML-DRG, pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, including all actions transferred by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.
B. Challenging Party: a Party or Non-Party that challenges the designation of information or items under this Order.
C. Confidential Information or Items: information (regardless of how it is generated, stored or maintained) or tangible things that may qualify for protection under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c), and as specified above and as follows: such designated trade secrets, or other confidential research, pricing, development, technical, procedural, financial or commercial information or personal-identifying information that satisfies the criteria imposed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c)(1)(G). Any party or non-party (the “Designating Party”) may designate as “Confidential” any document, information contained in a document, information revealed during a deposition or information revealed in an interrogatory answer or any other discovery response that contains Confidential Information that they produced or that was produced by a non-party but contains Confidential Information relating to the Designating Party.
D. Documents to be designated Confidential: Only such documents that qualify as “Confidential Information” shall be accorded the protections of this Protective Order to the extent they contain Confidential Information and provided such documents are affirmatively designated as “Confidential.” Any documents to be designated as “Confidential” may be so designated by labeling the documents with the term “Confidential” prior to their production. Similarly, documents produced on DVD, CD, or other media may be designated as “Confidential” by labeling the media as “Confidential” or placing the electronic file in a folder labeled “Confidential, ” if it is not reasonably practicable to label the documents themselves as “Confidential.” Labeling “Confidential” on the cover of any multi-page document shall so designate all pages of such document, unless otherwise indicated by the designating party. In the case of documents and information on which it is not reasonably practicable to place the legend “Confidential” as set forth above, designation of information may be made by: (1) informing all Receiving Parties in writing, which shall specifically identify the document (by Bates-stamp, where available), deposition or hearing transcript pages, interrogatory response or other information that is being designated; (2) stating on the record during a deposition, hearing or other proceeding that all or a specific part of the transcript contains Confidential Information; or (3) such other reasonable means that provide timely notice to Receiving Parties of the designation, with particularity as to the information being designated.
E. Counsel: Counsel of Record and House Counsel (as well as their support staff).
F. Designating Party: a Party or Non-Party that designates information or items that it produces in disclosures or in responses to discovery as “Confidential.” G. Disclosure and Discovery Material: all items or information, regardless of the medium or manner in which it is generated, stored, or maintained (including, among other things, testimony, transcripts, and tangible things), that are produced or generated in disclosures or responses to discovery in this matter.
H. Expert: a person with specialized knowledge or experience in a matter pertinent to the litigation within the meaning of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2) or Federal Rule of Evidence 702.
I. Final Disposition. Final Disposition shall be deemed to be the later of (A) dismissal of all claims and defenses in this Action, with or without prejudice; or (B) final judgment herein after the completion and exhaustion of all appeals, rehearings, remands, trials, or reviews of this Action, including the time limits for filing any motions or applications for extension of time pursuant to applicable law.
J. House Counsel: attorneys who are employees of a party to this Action. House Counsel does not include Counsel of Record or any other outside counsel.
K. Non-Party: any natural person, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity not named as a Party to this action.
L. Counsel of Record: attorneys (and their support staffs) who are not employees of a party to this Action but are retained to represent or advise a party to this Action and have appeared in this Action on behalf of that party.
M. Party: any named party to the Action, and all of their respective officers, directors, employees, consultants, retained experts, and Counsel of Record (and their support staffs).
N. Producing Party: a Party or Non-Party that produces Disclosure or Discovery Material in this Action.
O. Professional Vendors: persons or entities that provide litigation support services (e.g., photocopying, videotaping, translating, preparing exhibits or demonstrations, and organizing, storing, or retrieving data in any form or medium) and their employees and subcontractors.
P. Protected Material: any Disclosure or Discovery Material that is designated as "Confidential." Q. Receiving Party: a Party that receives Disclosure or Discovery Material from a Producing Party.

         III. Scope.

         The protections conferred by this Order cover Protected Material (as defined above), and (A) any information copied or extracted from Protected Material; (B) all copies, excerpts, summaries, or compilations of Protected Material; and (C) any testimony, conversations, or presentations by Parties or their Counsel that might reveal Protected Material. This Order does not restrict the disclosure or use of any ...

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