E-File a Motion for Protective Order in Orange County
Although this article is about filing a motion for protective order specifically, this information applies to e-filing all motions generally, in Orange County Superior Court. In OC e-filing is mandatory for attorneys and law firms. Have your litigation secretary or a contract paralegal e-file all motions to save the law firm expense of hiring an attorney service to window file.
A MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER IS APPROPRIATE WHERE THE INTRUSIVENESS OF THE REQUESTS IS OUTWEIGHED BY THE LIKELIHOOD THAT THE INFORMATION WILL LEAD TO THE DISCOVERY OF ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE.
Confidential, third party employment records are protected from disclosure under the state constitution, and presents precisely the circumstances contemplated by the Legislature in permitting motions for protective orders. In a case like this, the court “shall limit the scope of discovery if it determines that the burden, expense, or intrusiveness of that discovery clearly outweighs the likelihood that the information sought will lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. The court may make this determination pursuant to a motion for protective order by a party or other affected person.” California Code of Civil Procedure §2017.020(a)(emphasis added).
Plaintiff’s demands for confidential, third party employment records is unjustified by any need, there are less intrusive means to obtain the information, and the requests are overbroad as to even demand the employment records of the employees of a third party company, that is not a party to this lawsuit. A protective order is warranted under the facts presented here.
CURRENT AND FORMER EMPLOYEES HAVE A RIGHT TO PRIVACY IN THEIR PERSONNEL RECORDS
Employment information is protected by the right of privacy, Plaintiff has no compelling need for the information, and Plaintiff has not pursued alternative means of obtaining the requested information. Article 1, Section 1, of the California Constitution secures to all people the right of privacy. El Dorado Sav. & Loan Assoc. v. Superior Court, 190 Cal. App. 3d 342, 345 (1987). The public interest in preserving confidential, personnel information generally outweighs a private litigant’s interest in obtaining that information. Board of Trustees v. Superior Court, 119 Cal.App.3d 516, 530 (1981). California courts consistently find that the balance favors privacy for confidential information in third party personnel files unless the litigant can show a compelling need for the particular documents and that the information cannot reasonably be obtained through depositions or from non-confidential sources. See El Dorado, 190 Cal. App. 3d at 346. Even when the balance does weigh in favor of disclosure, the scope of disclosure must be narrowly circumscribed.” Harding Lawson Associates v. Superior Court, 10 Cal.App.4th 7, 10 (1992).
Requests for information that falls within the statutory definition of employment records and, therefore, are protected by the Constitutional right to privacy. For purposes of discovery of third party records, the California legislature broadly defined “employment records” as the original or any copy of books, documents, other writings, or electronically stored information pertaining to the employment of any employee maintained by the current or former employer of the employee, or by any labor organization that has represented or currently represents the employee. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code, §1985.6.
Motions for Protective Order Must Be Served Within 24 Hours of Reserving Hearing Date
First go to the OC Court website at occourts.org and select “Civil-Reserve a Motion Date.” Enter the case number and motion type and you will be given a selection of available dates. Select the date that is best for you and click through. After you select your date, put that date on your motion for protective order. You will need to select one of the third party vendors with a contract to e-file motions for protective orders and other motions with the court.