Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Find     
Site Image

Protective Orders and Protected Information

 

Protective orders​ govern the disclosure of protected information.  Under OAR 860-001-0080, upon request by a party and for good cause shown, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) may issue a protective order to limit disclosure of protected information in specific Commission proceedings.  To obtain a protective order, a party generally has to show that material relevant to the case includes information that falls within the scope of ORCP 36(C)(7) and that the release of that information will harm the party.  The terms for handling protected information are set forth in the Appendix to the protective order.

A protective order does not shield specific documents and does not make a judgment as to whether any particular document is a trade secret or contains commercially-sensitive information.  Rather, the protective order establishes a process for the acquisition and use of protected information to facilitate the broadest possible discovery of relevant information.

Under the terms of the order, any party may designate as protected any information that it reasonably believes falls within the scope of ORCP 36(C)(7).  Any such designation must be made in good faith, and must be limited to only those portions of the document that qualify as a protected trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information.  Any other party may challenge the designation of any information as protected.  At that point, the designating party bears the burden of showing that the challenged information falls within ORCP 36(C)(7).  If parties are unable to resolve a dispute about a protected designation informally, any party may request that the ALJ conduct a conference to facilitate the resolution of discovery disputes.

A party may request that the ALJ issue a modified protective order that provides additional protection beyond that provided by a general protective order.  The motion for additional protection must provide the reasons a general protective order is inadequate to protect the information at issue.


Service and Filing of Documents with Protected Information

Paper copies of documents with protected information are to be prepared on yellow paper.  When feasible, protected information should be delivered to counsel of record for the party requesting the information.  Each copy of the protected information for each filing is placed in a separate sealed envelope or container.  The envelope or container must bear the legend:

  
THIS ENVELOPE IS SEALED PER ORDER NO. __________ AND CONTAINS PROTECTED INFORMATION. THE INFORMATION MAY BE SHOWN ONLY TO QUALIFIED PERSONS AS DEFINED IN THE ORDER.

The Hearings Division stores the protected information in a locked cabinet dedicated to the storage of protected information.