RULE 4 - CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
Section 1. Request for Confidential Treatment of Information. -
A party to any proceeding before the Commission may request that information about that party in the Commission’s possession not be disclosed. To do so, said party shall:
(a) Submit a request that information not be disclosed describing therein with particularity the information to be treated as confidential; specifying the grounds for the claim of confidential treatment of the information; and, if applicable, specifying the period during which the information must not be disclosed.
(b) Submit to the Commission one copy of the document that contains the information sought to be treated as confidential, placed in a sealed envelope, with the envelope and each page of the document stamped with the word “Confidential”.
If the information for which confidentiality is requested is part of the attachments to an application, petition or other filing, the application, petition or filing must comply with this section by incorporating therein the request.
The party making the request shall serve the other parties with the request but not copies of the documents and/or information subject of the request. The other parties served with the request may thereafter file their opposition or comment on the request within ten (10) days from receipt thereof.
The party seeking to have the information protected from disclosure has the burden of proof to demonstrate that the information sought to be disclosed is entitled to that protection.
Section 2. Action by the Commission on the Request. - For the purpose of determining whether or not to accord confidential treatment to information, the Commission may review the information claimed to be confidential.
The Commission may deny the request for confidential treatment of information on grounds such as, but not limited to the following:
(a) The party requesting confidential treatment of information has no actual, valuable proprietary interest to protect with respect to the information sought to be treated as confidential.
(b) The information is, at the time of the request, generally available to the public by means other than through a breach of any confidentiality obligation with respect to such information.
(c) The information is, at the time of the request, available to or already in the possession of the Commission on a non-confidential basis from a source that, to the knowledge of the Commission, has lawfully acquired such information on a non-confidential basis.
If the Commission denies the request, the information shall be subject to public disclosure thirty (30) days after the date on which the party requesting confidential treatment of information receives the Commission’s order denying the request or order denying any motion for reconsideration thereof, if any, unless restrained by order of a court of competent jurisdiction or unless the Commission, upon motion by the requesting party filed before such disclosure, orders the return of the information to the said party, in which case it shall be prohibited from making use of the same information as evidence in the proceeding.
If the Commission determines that the disclosure of information requested to be treated as confidential information is justified, the Commission shall:
(a) Issue an order to that effect; and
(b) Unless otherwise required or directed by the order of a court of competent jurisdiction or agreed upon by the parties involved, continue to protect the information from public disclosure by maintaining the confidential information separate and apart from the records of the case and ensuring that confidential information is not divulged to unauthorized persons.
Section 3. Confidential Information as Evidence. - If a party intends to use confidential information as evidence after the Commission grants its request for treatment of such information as confidential, it shall manifest to the Commission such intention and request for issuance of a protective order.
Section 4. Contents of Protective Order. - If the Commission determines that a protective order should be issued with regard to the information designated as confidential, the Commission shall issue a protective order which:
(a) Describes generally the nature of the confidential information and the procedures to be utilized to protect the confidentiality of the information;
(b) Specifies the period during which the disclosure of the information to the public will be withheld or otherwise limited;
(c) Specifies the procedures to be used by all the other parties during the pendency of the proceedings to ensure the confidentiality of the information;
(d) Specifies the procedures for handling or returning the confidential information, as appropriate, upon the close of the proceedings or at the end of the period for which the information is to be treated as confidential;
(e) Requires that the confidential information not be disclosed, except as:
1. May be agreed upon by the parties pursuant to a protective agreement; or
2. Otherwise directed by the Commission;
(f) Specifies the procedures to be used at the time of the evidentiary hearing to protect the confidentiality of the information;
(g) Requires such other action as the Commission deems appropriate under the circumstances.
Section 5. Disclosure of Information Designated as Confidential; Penalties. - Information which is the subject of an agreement or a protective order shall be provided only to the Commission’s staff in charge of the case. The parties of record or their attorneys or representatives, if the parties are juridical entities, after agreeing to be bound by the terms of the protective order or agreement, shall be allowed access to such confidential information.
Any person, party, attorney or representative of a party, or member of the Commission staff who violates the procedures of the Commission for protecting information; fails to obey a protective order issued by the Commission; violates the terms or conditions of a protective agreement; or violates any other prohibition of the disclosure of information designated as confidential, shall be subject to the imposition of administrative fines and penalties, without prejudice to whatever other remedies of the party in whose favor the protective order was issued.