A party or person from whom discovery or testimony is sought may file a motion with the ALJ requesting a protective order to:
- protect a party or person from annoyance, harassment, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense;
- protect privileged communications;
- protect data and other material the disclosure of which would unreasonably prejudice a party, witness, or third party; or
- prevent undue disclosure of classified or sensitive materials or matters.
(b) Contents of a Protective Order
A protective order issued by the ALJ may order that:
- discovery not be had;
- discovery may be had only on specified terms and conditions, including designation of the time, extent, duration, or place;
- discovery may be had only by a method of discovery different than that selected by the party seeking discovery;
- certain matters not deemed relevant may not be inquired into;
- the scope of discovery be limited to certain matters; or
- certain evidence not be introduced.
(c) Classified or Sensitive Matters
If the ALJ determines that classified or sensitive matters or materials must be made part of the record, the ALJ may either:
- direct the producing party to prepare an unclassified or non-sensitive summary or extract of the original, to be admitted as evidence in the record; or
- provide an opportunity for arrangements to permit a party or a representative to have access to such matters or materials (such as obtaining security clearances or providing access subject to assurances against future disclosure).
(d) Restricted Access
If necessary and appropriate, the ALJ may direct that there be a restricted access portion of the official case record. The restricted access portion of the record will contain any material in the record to which public access is restricted by law or by the terms of a protective order entered in the proceedings.