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Flaherty v. Seroussi - 209 F.R.D. 295 (N.D.N.Y. 2001)

Rule:

The mere fact that some level of discomfort, or even embarrassment, may result from the dissemination of a party's deposition testimony is not in and of itself sufficient to establish good cause to support the issuance of protective order. To rise to a level of good cause, any such embarrassment must be substantial.

Facts:

In plaintiff former employee's 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 suit, defendants applied for a protective order restricting the employee's dissemination of a videotape of a deposition to be taken of defendant mayor. The employee vigorously opposed the request for a protective order. In support of the application, defendants asserted that the employee's avowed intention to publicize the deposition and make the videotape of it freely available to the media was improper, and suggested a desire to make an impermissible use of material acquired during the course of pretrial discovery. The employee contended that the grounds advanced by defendants did not rise to the level of good cause required to support the issuance of a protective order, and that entry of a protective order as contemplated by defendants would have unduly hampered the public's access to materials bearing upon matters of significant public interest. 

Issue:

Did defendants establish a good cause for the issuance of a protective order?

Answer:

No

Conclusion:

Notwithstanding the very distinct possibility that some discomfort would be experienced by the mayor when his videotaped deposition was released publicly, the court found that defendants did not establish good cause for the issuance of a protective order, especially given the public interest associated with claims and defenses raised in the suit and the lack of any intention on the employee's part to gain commercial advantage through her efforts to use the deposition. Accordingly, defendants failed to establish their entitlement to a protective order.

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