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Confidentiality Orders

All materials sought to be protected from public disclosure must be described in sufficient detail to justify such protection (e.g., "trade secrets," "personnel files"). Parties cannot and will not be given total discretion to mark whatever material they choose to be protected or Confidential, or to have all discovery blanketly treated as confidential. See Bond v. Utreras, 585 F.3d 1061, 1073-76 (7th Cir. 2009).

If the parties require a confidentiality order entered by the Court, they are directed to use the model confidentiality order approved by the full Court and set forth in the Local Rules: Form LR 26.2 Model Confidentiality Order. While the parties may deviate from the model order, any additions and deletions are to be redlined. A request for entry of an agreed confidentiality order should be sent to the Court's Proposed Order Box; unless the Court orders otherwise, no appearance will be required.

The Court will not require the inclusion of an express finding of good cause within confidentiality orders. Instead, the Court will review such orders carefully before signing them. The Court’s issuance of the confidentiality order will constitute the determination, as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c), that good cause exists for the issuance of the order. However, issuance of any confidentiality order will not be given preclusive effect as a determination of good cause for Rule 26(c) purposes if, at a future time, a party or an interested member of the public moves for relief from the limitations of the confidentiality order. In the event of such a motion, the Court will engage in an appropriate assessment of the interest between privacy and public access to make a determination of good cause as to the challenged document(s) in light of the facts then before the Court. See Bond, 585 F.3d at 1073-76.

Please note that under Local Rule 26.2, no documents may be filed under seal without a prior order of the Court specifying the particular document to be filed. As an alternative to filing under seal, LR 26.2 allows individual judges, at their discretion, to order parties to retain copies of confidential documents in lieu of filing them with the Clerk of Court, to file a redacted copy with the Clerk of Court, and to provide the judge with a complete copy for in camera use. In referral cases, Judge Schenkier will enforce the practice of the referring district judge. In consent cases, Judge Schenkier will consider using the alternative option permitted by LR 26.2 in appropriate cases.

Use of Medical Records in Litigation. The Court reminds counsel that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and its regulations create a procedure for obtaining authority to use medical records in litigation, including requesting a qualified protective order. 45 C.F.R. § 164.512(e). A “qualified protective order” means an order that: (1) prohibits the parties from using or disclosing the protected health information for any purpose other than the litigation for which such information was requested and (2) requires the return to the covered entity or destruction of the protected health information (including all copies made) at the end of the litigation. 45 C.F.R. § 164.512(e)(1)(v). See Example of a HIPAA Protective Order.

Note: The court does not control nor can it guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this information. Neither is it intended to endorse any view expressed nor reflect its importance by inclusion in this site.