United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye, U.S. District Court Judge.
before the Court is Defendant/Counterclaimant FPS Food
Process Solutions Corporation's (“FPS”)
Motion for Protective Order. Dkt. 22. Having reviewed the
record herein, the Court finds the parties have adequately
presented the facts and legal arguments in the briefs and
record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further
delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional
process would not be significantly aided by oral argument,
the Court decides the Motion without oral argument. For the
reasons set forth below, the Court finds good cause to GRANT
Court noted in its previous decision, the underlying facts of
this case are relatively simple. Dickinson purchased an
Individual Quick Freeze tunnel freezer machine (the
“Freezer”) from FPS in 2016 for its processing
plant in Sugar City, Idaho. After installation, complications
arose with the Freezer. Dickinson alleges that FPS is liable
for lost profits and damages because the Freezer failed to
perform to contract specifications. For its part, FPS has
filed a counterclaim against Dickinson alleging that it was
in fact Dickinson, not FPS, who failed to perform its
obligations under the contract and that the Freezer would
have worked but for Dickinson's failures.
March 21, 2018, Dickinson served its First Set of
Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents on
FPS. Some of Dickinson's requests captured documents FPS
believes are sensitive or confidential. Counsel for both
parties discussed the possibility of a protective order,
however, they were ultimately unable to reach a consensus.
The instant motion followed.
Federal Rule of Procedure 26, FPS seeks a protective order
from the Court to shield certain information from public
disclosure. Broadly speaking, the material FPS seeks to
protect includes sensitive business information and
proprietary research and schematics. FPS has produced some 5,
800 documents in response to Dickinson's requests,
withheld approximately 800 documents pending the Court's
determination today. To be clear, FPS plans to turn over all
of the documents in question, it simply seeks an order
limiting the disclosure to a limited group of individuals.
Rule of Civil Procedure 26 states that, in general, any
matter relevant to a claim or defense is discoverable.
“Unless otherwise limited by court order, the scope of
discovery is as follows: Parties may obtain discovery
regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any
party's claim or defense.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b).
discovery is ordinarily ‘accorded a broad and liberal
treatment, '” because “wide access to
relevant facts serves the integrity and fairness of the
judicial process by promoting the search for the
truth.” Shoen v. Shoen, 5 F.3d 1289, 1292 (9th
Cir. 1993) (quoting Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495,
507 (1947)). “Under Rule 26, however, ‘[t]he
court may, for good cause, issue an order to protect a party
or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue
burden or expense.'” In re Roman Catholic
Archbishop of Portland in Oregon, 661 F.3d 417, 424 (9th
Cir. 2011) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)(1)). “The party
opposing disclosure has the burden of proving ‘good
cause,' which requires a showing ‘that specific
prejudice or harm will result' if the protective order is
not granted.” Id. (quoting Foltz v. State
Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 331 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir.
Court determines that good causes exists, it can, in its
discretion, “forbid . . . disclosure or
discovery”; “limit the scope of disclosure or
discovery to certain matters”; and/or require that a
“trade secret or other confidential research,
development, or commercial information not be revealed or be
revealed only in a specified way.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(c)(1)(A), (D), (G).