United States District Court, D. Columbia
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff: Daniel Hocker Claman,
Della Grace Sentilles, LEAD ATTORNEYS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE, Washington, DC; Hector G. Bladuell, LEAD ATTORNEY,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Criminal Division, Washington,
DC; Teresa Carol Turner-Jones, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Criminal Division, AFMLS, Washington, DC.
ASSETS HELD AT BANK JULIUS, Baer & Company Ltd Guernsey
Branch, account number 121128, in the name of Pavlo
Lazarenko, last valued at aproximately at $2 million United
States dollars, Defendant: Bryant Everett Gardner, LEAD
ATTORNEY, WINSTON & STRAWN LLP, Washington, DC; Doron
Weinberg, Weinberg & Wilder, San Francisco, CA.
ALEXANDER LAZARENKO, Claimant: Doron Weinberg, Weinberg &
Wilder, San Francisco, CA; Nina Wilder, San Francisco, CA.
PAVEL LAZARENKO, Claimant: Ian Michael Comisky, Matthew David
Lee, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Dan Rhynhart, Jed M. Silversmith, PRO
HAC VICE, BLANK ROME LLP, Philadelphia, PA; David B. Smith,
SMITH & ZIMMERMAN, PLLC, Alexandria, VA; Doron Weinberg,
Weinberg & Wilder, San Francisco, CA; Nina Wilder, San
ALEXEI DITIATKOVSKY, Claimant: Nancy Hollander, Vincent J.
Ward, PRO HAC VICE, FREEDMAN BOYD HOLLANDER GOLDBERG URIAS &
WARD, P.A., Albuquerque, NM; Nina J. Ginsberg, DIMURO
GINSBERG, PC, Alexandria, VA.
EUROFED BANK LIMITED, Claimant: Jason A Levine, LEAD
ATTORNEY, VINSON & ELKINS LLP, Washington, DC; Paul Michael
Thompson, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY
LLP, Washington, DC; Gordon A. Greenberg, MCDERMOTT WILL &
EMERY, Los Angeles, CA; Matthew J. Jacobs, Vinson & Elkins
LLP, Palo Alto, CA; Terry W. Ahearn, MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY
LLP, Menlo Park, CA.
LECIA LAZARENKO, EKATERINA LAZARENKO, Claimants: Doron
Weinberg, Weinberg & Wilder, San Francisco, CA.
MICHAEL HARVEY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
March 26, 2015, this case was referred to the undersigned for
purposes of management of discovery and resolution of any
discovery-related disputes. Currently ripe for resolution by
the undersigned is Claimant Pavel Lazarenko's Motion to
Modify the Protective Order. After a thorough review of the
parties' briefs concerning Claimant's motion, the
arguments of counsel at the hearings on the motion on
September 8, 2015, and September 11, 2015, and the entire
record herein, the Court will grant in part and deny
in part the motion.
factual background concerning this eleven-year-old in rem
asset forfeiture action has been described in multiple
opinions by Judge Friedman. See, e.g., United States v.
All Assets Held at Bank Julius Baer & Co., Ltd., 772
F.Supp.2d 191, 194 (D.D.C. 2011). This Court will not
repeat that lengthy history here. The facts that are
pertinent to adjudication of Claimant's motion are
First Amended Complaint, the United States seeks the
forfeiture of more than $250 million deposited in over twenty
bank accounts located in Guernsey, Antigua and Barbuda,
Switzerland, Lithuania, and Lichtenstein. First Amended
Complaint [Dkt. 20] at ¶ ¶ 1, 5. The government
alleges that the money in those accounts is traceable to a
" variety of acts of fraud, extortion, bribery,
misappropriation, and/or embezzlement" committed by
Claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, or by his
associates, between 1992 and 1998. Id. at ¶
¶ 6, 8, 10. The United States asserts its right to the
funds pursuant to federal statutes that provide for the
forfeiture to the government of funds traceable, or otherwise
related to or involved in, criminal activity that occurred at
least in part in the United States. Id. at ¶ 1.
29, 2015, the Court entered a protective order in this case
which permits the parties to designate certain materials
produced in discovery as confidential. See Prot. Order at 2.
Claimant now seeks a modification of that protective order.
See Mot. at 1. Claimant requests that certain additional
materials, which are arguably not included within the scope
of the order, be added to the order to protect them from
disclosure to third parties. See id. The materials Claimant
seeks to add to the protective order are defined in the
offset paragraph on page 23 of Claimant's sealed motion.
See id. at 23. To protect the confidentiality of those
materials, the Court will refer to them as "
Claimant's Requested Materials."
Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 26(c) permits the court to issue
protective orders to protect a party or person from
annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or
expense. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c). Determining whether to modify a
protective order is a matter of discretion for the trial
court. See Alexander v. FBI, 186 F.R.D. 99, 100
(D.D.C. 1998); E.E.O.C. v. Nat'l Children's Ctr.,
Inc., 146 F.3d 1042, 1047, 331 U.S.App.D.C. 101 (D.C.
Cir. 1998). A protective order may be modified upon a showing
of good cause. See Alexander, 186 F.R.D. at 100;
Independent Petrochemical Corp. v. Aetna Casualty &
Surety Co., Civ. A. 83-3347, 1988 WL 23257, at *4
(D.D.C. Mar. 2, 1988) (" The granting and maintenance of
a protective order under rule 26(c) of the federal rules of
civil procedure . . . must be supported by
'good cause.'" ) (citing Tavoulareas v.
Washington Post Co.,737 F.2d 1170, 1173, 238
U.S.App.D.C. 23 (D.C. Cir. 1984)). " Protective orders
are not permanent or immutable and may be modified to serve
important efficiency or fairness goals." U.S. ex
rel. Pogue v. Diabetes Treatment Ctrs. of Am., No.
Civ.99-3298, 01-MS 50(MDL)(RCL), 2004 WL 2009414, at *2
(D.D.C. May 17, 2004). Indeed, " Rule 26(c) is highly
flexible, having been designed to accommodate all relevant
interests as they arise." United States v. Microsoft
Corp.,165 F.3d 952, 959, 334 U.S.App.D.C. 165 (D.C.
Cir. 1999); Hines v. Wilkinson,163 F.R.D. 262, 266
(S.D. Ohio 1995) (" [T]he Rule's incorporation of
the concept of 'good cause' implies that a flexible
approach to protective orders may be taken, depending upon
the nature of the interests sought to be protected and the
interests that a protective order ...