When to Seek a Protective Order in Civil Litigation

AdobeStock_335918168-300x200A civil lawsuit is a common experience for business owners. Whether you are filing or defending a lawsuit, it is important to work with an experienced litigator who knows how to protect your legal rights throughout the discovery process. The experienced business lawyers at Structure Law Group, LLP know how to protect both you and your business from inappropriate discovery requests by seeking a protective order. Here are a few examples of tools our experienced attorneys can employ to protect your rights.

Privacy

Certain information must be exchanged during the discovery process. This is not, however, an unlimited right for the other party to learn every detail about your personal life. Discovery requests must pertain to information that are admissible at trial – or “reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence.” If you are asked about personal information that does not pertain to the lawsuit, your attorney can object. Objections can be made to written requests, such as interrogatories, requests for admission, or requests for documents.   Objections can also be made to questions posed at a deposition.  By following up with a protective order, your rights to preserve your objections can be protected throughout the remainder of the case.

Privileged Information

Privileged information can also be protected throughout the discovery process. Usually, this is accomplished by redacting the information from documents produced or by maintaining a “privilege log” that describes exactly what privileged information is withheld – and the reason the information cannot be disclosed. These litigation tools are commonly used with social security numbers, dates of birth, a company taxpayer identification number, and other sensitive data that could lead to identity fraud. Even in cases where this information is relevant to the lawsuit, the information can still be protected to reduce the risk of publication. Your attorney can seek a protective order for specific privileged data (for example, a date of birth) while complying with required discovery obligations.

Harassment

In some cases, the discovery process is abused by parties who simply want to harass the other party. Sometimes this is a calculated attempt to drag out litigation needlessly or to increase attorney’s fees in order to encourage settlement. Your attorney can object to these requests by requiring opposing counsel to prove they are relevant and admissible at trial.  If, for example, the opposing party requested copies of every document that any corporate officer had ever signed on behalf of the company, this would be an overly burdensome request that requires significant time and money in order to comply. Your attorney could object to such a request and force the opposing attorney to identify specific documents that pertain to the claims at issue in the lawsuit. A protective order could then prevent the other party from seeking unnecessary documentation with an enforceable court order.

Experienced California Business Lawyers Can Protect Your Business Throughout the Discovery Process

An experienced litigator can help protect your company’s privacy – and protect you from costly abuses of the discovery system. Call Structure Law Group at (408) 441-7500 or contact us through our website to schedule a consultation.