When You Should Seek Protective Order
If you own a business, you may find yourself dealing with a civil lawsuit at some point, whether you are the one filing or defending. In either situation, you should always seek legal counsel in order to best protect your rights. It is important to know when to obtain a protective order to protect your business from improper discovery requests. Below, we will guide you through some fundamental knowledge to help you protect your rights.
Early on in a lawsuit, you will encounter something called the discovery process. During this stage, certain information must be disclosed. However, you must know where to draw the line when sharing information. The only information exchanged in this process should be “reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence.” Your counsel can object to any request for irrelevant personal information, including written requests such as interrogatories, requests for admission, or requests of documents. A protective order will help you to protect your right to object through the rest of the case.
Along with specific personal information, privileged information can also be preserved in the discovery process. Privileged information includes but is not limited to social security numbers, dates of birth, taxpayer IDs, or any other information that could lead to fraud if revealed. This information can be protected against publication even if it’s relevant to the lawsuit. You’ll often see privileged information censored out of documents, or in a “privilege log” describing the information being withheld and why. Your lawyer can comply with discovery requirements while protecting this information.
In the most unfortunate cases, you may find a party taking advantage of the discovery process in order to drag out a case or to pressure the other party to settle. An example of this may be the opposing counsel asking for an unreasonable amount of documents in order to stall the discovery process. If you object to the opposition’s attempts to obtain documents, your lawyer can request for them to list specific documents and how they pertain to the claims associated with the lawsuit. This kind of protective order can further prevent them from requesting further unneeded documents.