Protective order is an order that prevents the disclosure of certain information under certain circumstances. A party cannot use discovery rights just to harass or annoy another party or an outside witness. If a party is abusing discovery rights in a case, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 26(C) lets the other party or outside party to ask the court for a protective order. A person can be protected from annoyance, embarrassment, undue burden and expense, and oppression.
Protective order is mainly used to protect a witness from unreasonable discovery requests like harassing questions in a deposition or unnecessary medical examination. While regulating the process of pre trial discovery, the State intends to facilitate the search to promote justice by allowing liberal discovery of information from the other party. At the same time, it aims to protect the legitimate privacy interests by restricting the availability of information from the other party only upon proving the good cause behind it.
As per Rule 26(C) of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party or any person from whom discovery is sought may move the court for a protective order. The motion must include a certification that the person has in good faith conferred with other parties in an effort to solve the dispute without the interference of court. The court may issue an order to protect a party from annoyance, oppression, undue burden, expense by forbidding the disclosure or discovery, forbidding inquiry into certain matters, designating persons who may be present while the discovery is conducted, requiring that a deposition be sealed and opened only on court order, requiring that a trade secret or other confidential research, development, or commercial information not be revealed, and requiring that the parties simultaneously file specified documents in sealed envelopes which has to be opened as the court directs.