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Querry v. Smale

January 26, 2010

KIMBERLY A. QUERRY, AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER SMALE, AN INDIVIDUAL; MIKE BROWN, AN INDIVIDUAL; DOES 1-20, INCLUSIVE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Louisa S Porter United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL [Document No. 34]

On January 13, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel production of training materials on handcuffing techniques that were in effect at the time of Plaintiff's arrest and Defendant Officer Kevin Smale's personnel and disciplinary records. (Doc. 34.) Pursuant to the Court's January 6, 2010 order (Doc. 32), on January 14, 2010, Defendants lodged portions of Defendant Smale's personnel file and the CHP's Officer Safety Manual relating to misdemeanor and felony arrest techniques with the Court for an in camera review.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c) provides that a court may limit discovery to protect from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense. Federal common law recognizes a qualified privilege for official information. Kerr v. United States Dist. Ct. for N.D. Cal., 511 F.2d 192, 198 (9th Cir.1975), aff'd, 426 U.S. 394 (1976). Government personnel files are considered official information. See, e.g., Zaustinsky v. University of Cal., 96 F.R.D. 622, 625 (N.D. Cal. 1983), aff'd, 782 F.2d 1055 (9th Cir. 1985). To determine whether the information sought should be disclosed, the court must weigh whether confidentiality outweighs the requesting party's need for the information. Hampton v. City of San Diego, 147 F.R.D. 227, 231 (S.D. Cal. 1993); See also Kelly v. City of San Jose, 114 F.R.D. 653, 657-58 (N.D. Cal. 1987.)

Upon reviewing the parties' moving papers and conducting an in camera review of the documents at issue, the Court hereby GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Plaintiff's Motion to Compel production of documents. (Doc. 34.) Specifically:

1. Document AGO 1: Personnel File-Personnel Transfer Checklist: The transfer document is solely administrative. The document has limited relevancy, and any relevant part may be obtained through other sources. Thus, this document shall not be produced.

2. Document AGO 2-5: Personnel File-Service Record: The document contains purely personnel information. The document has limited relevancy, and any relevant part may be obtained through other sources. Thus, this document shall not be produced.

3. Document AGO 6-67: Personnel File-Performance Appraisal/Officer Evaluation Activity Summary: Most documents contain self-critical and critical analysis that has little, if any, relevancy to the issues in this case. Defendants' interest in keeping such personnel matters confidential outweighs Plaintiff's need for the information. However, AGO 46 covers the relevant time period in this case. Accordingly:

a. AGO 6-45 and AGO 47-67 shall not be produced.

b. AGO 46 shall be produced within fifteen days of this order. AGO 46 shall be for attorneys eyes only and shall be covered by an agreed upon protective order.

4. Document AGO 68-95: Personnel File-Cadet Evaluation Summary: The document has no relevancy. Thus, this document shall not be produced.

5. Document AGO 96-99: Personnel File-Memorandum of Direction: The document has no relevancy. Thus, this document shall not be produced.

6. Document AGO 100: Personnel File-Individual Accident, Injury and Safety Recognition Record: The document has no relevancy. Thus, this document shall not be produced.

7. Document AGO 101: Personnel File-Injury and Illness Prevention Program Orientation & Review: The document has no relevancy. Thus, this document shall not be produced.

8. Document AGO 102: Personnel File-Receipt of Inconsistent & Incompatible Activities Statement: The document has no relevancy. Thus, ...


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