Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Ms. Lin T. Kalinauskas (Plaintiff), a former employee of Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino (Caesars), sued Caesars for sexual discrimination. She sought to depose Donna R. Thomas (Thomas), who had previously entered into a confidential settlement agreement with Caesars stemming from her own sexual harassment claim against Caesars.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The court will not prevent a plaintiff from deposing a non- party witness merely because the witness previously signed a confidentiality agreement with the current defendant, where the plaintiff was not a party to that earlier agreement.
Issue. Whether a Plaintiff is entitled to depose a non-party witness who previously entered into a confidential settlement agreement with the defendant in the plaintiff’s current suit.
Held. Yes. The court allowed the deposition of Thomas. With respect to contracts containing explicit guarantees of confidentiality, such contracts, of course, cannot bind parties who do not sign them and may have little effect on the capacities of a non-party to discover or introduce at trial the settlement communications covered by the contract.
Once such prejudice is demonstrated, however, the district court has broad discretion in judging whether that injury outweighs the benefits of any possible modification of the protective order.View Full Point of Law