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A female plaintiff suing her employer for sex discrimination may depose a former female employee despite confidential settlement agreement with employer
The plaintiff, Ms. Lin T. Kalinauskas (Kalinauskas), a former employee of Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino (Caesars), has sued Caesars for sexual discrimination in the instant case. As part of discovery Kalinauskas seeks to depose Donna R. Thomas, a former Caesars employee who filed a sexual harassment suit against Caesars last year. Ms. Thomas's suit settled without trial pursuant to a confidential settlement agreement which the court sealed upon the stipulated agreement of the parties. Caesars filed a Motion for a Protective Order to prevent Kalinauskas from deposing Ms. Donna R. Thomas. Caesars has submitted documents to the court in camera to support the motion. Kalinauskas filed an opposition to Caesars's motion, prompting Caesars to file a reply.
May Kalinauskas depose Thomas notwithstanding the confidentiality agreement between the latter and Caesars?
The court found that the confidentiality agreement concealed a legitimate area of public concern because both individuals were harmed by similar actions. The court held the requested deposition would lead to relevant evidence. The court found that preventing the deposition would lead to wasteful efforts to generate discovery that already existed. The court denied Caesars’ protective order in part to enable Kalinauskas to depose Thomas but was restricted from asking Thomas to disclose terms of the confidentiality agreement.