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Martinez v. City of Fresno

June 2, 2009

LUPE E. MARTINEZ, IN BEHALF OF HERSELF AND ALL SIMILARLY SITUATED, AND RALPH C. RENDON, IN BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL SIMILARLY SITUATED. PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF FRESNO; JERRY DYER, CHIEF OF THE FRESNO POLICE DEPARTMENT; SGT. MICHAEL MANFREDI; OFFICER MARCUS K. TAFOYA; OFFICER BELINDA ANAYA, AND DOES 1-20, IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER RE DEFENDANTS CITY OF FRESNO, JERRY DYER AND BELINDA ANAYA'S MOTION TO COMPEL COMPLIANCE WITH SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM (Document 230)

INTRODUCTION

On May 6, 2009, Defendants CITY OF FRESNO, BELINDA ANAYA and JERRY DYER filed a Motion to Compel Compliance with Subpoena Duces Tecum. More particularly, Defendants sought information from the California Department of Justice, Santa Clara County Department of Corrections, United States Postal Service and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

A hearing was scheduled for May 29, 2009, at 9:30 a.m. After reviewing the motion and related pleadings, the Court determined that this matter was suitable for decision without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule 78-230(h). Thus, the hearing previously calendared for May 29, 2009, was vacated. Having considered all materials submitted, and as discussed more fully below, Defendants' Motion to Compel Compliance with Subpoena Duces Tecum is GRANTED WITH MODIFICATION.

RELEVANT BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Lupe E. Martinez and Ralph C. Rendon, initially proceeding pro se, filed the present civil rights action on March 1, 2006. In September 2006, Plaintiffs retained counsel. Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint on January 30, 2007. The complaint alleged violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (unreasonable search and seizure and unreasonable use of force via the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments), false imprisonment, California Civil Code § 52, California Civil Code § 52.1 and malicious prosecution against the City of Fresno, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, Sgt. Michael Manfredi, Officer Marcus Tafoya and Officer Belinda Anaya.

The action arises out of an incident on March 5, 2005. According to the complaint, Plaintiffs were at a welcome home party for their relative, Plaintiff George Rendon, who had returned from the war in Iraq. At the party, two men exchanged words and family members separated them. During the restraining of the two men, twelve to fifteen police officers from the Fresno Police Department arrived. The police officers began hitting people with batons, using unreasonable force. Defendants Tafoya, Anaya and Manfredi, along with other police officers, entered the home, hitting people with batons and throwing people to the floor. Several people were hospitalized as a result of the injuries. In addition, Plaintiffs and several other people were arrested. Defendants allegedly used excessive force in seizing and arresting Plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs claimed that Defendants Manfredi, Tafoya and Anaya wrote police reports regarding the incident that contained false and misleading information. Plaintiffs further alleged that both Defendant Manfredi and Tafoya had previous histories of excessive force and illegal police conduct, which was well documented and known by the Fresno Police Department. Plaintiffs also alleged that Defendant Dyer and Defendant City were well aware of Defendant Manfredi and Defendant Tafoya's history of excessive force and illegal police conduct, tolerated said conduct, retained these officers, covered up the illegal activity and encouraged the conduct.

In November 2007, the matter was consolidated with Claudia Rendon et al. v. City of Fresno, 1:06-cv-1851 OWW GSA, which arises out of the same incident of March 5, 2005.

Pertinent here, Defendants City of Fresno, Jerry Dyer and Belinda Anaya filed a Motion to Compel Compliance with Subpoena Duces Tecum on May 6, 2009. The motion was directed to non-parties California Department of Justice (DOJ), Santa Clara County Department of Corrections (SCDOC), the United States Postal Service (USPS), and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). (Doc. 230.)

On May 15, 2009, third party SCDOC filed its opposition to the motion to compel. (Doc. 246.) No other third party filed an objection to the motion. On May 21, 2009, Defendants City of Fresno, Jerry Dyer and Belinda Anaya filed a Notice of Withdrawal of Motion to Compel as to CDCR Only. (Doc. 253.)

DISCUSSION

Defendants' Motion To Compel Compliance With Subpoena Duces Tecum Defendants issued subpoena duces tecum to non-parties seeking information regarding Plaintiffs John Nunez Jr. and Lawrence Rendon. Discovery directed to third parties is governed by Rule 45 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

A. California Department Of Justice

Defendants seek criminal history records maintained regarding Plaintiff John Nunez Jr. In the alternative, Defendants seek to have the records produced for the Court's in camera inspection. Defendants assert these records are necessary because Nunez has asserted that his arrest and prosecution led to the loss of his job and his inability to obtain employment, and therefore, he has suffered damages. (Doc. 230-2 at 3.) The records would establish whether Nunez "has been convicted of any violent crimes and the specific nature of those crimes before or after the incident, which would be far more bearing on any such allegation[] than would the criminal charges dismissed in this case." (Doc. 230-2 at 5.)

On February 24, 2009, Defendants directed a subpoena to the California Department of Corrections in Sacramento seeking "criminal history record for John Nunez, Jr., DOB 1/29/1966, SSN 546-13-[xxxx]." (Doc. 230-3, Ex. A.) In response thereto, in a letter dated March 13, 2009, DOJ objected to the subpoena pursuant to Rule 45(c)(2)(B) of the Federal Rules ...


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