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James Garcia v. City of Sacramento

December 12, 2011

JAMES GARCIA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF SACRAMENTO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Presently before the court are two motions to compel filed by plaintiff James Garcia (Dkt. Nos. 23, 24), which concern discovery requests served on defendants City of Sacramento ("City") and Gary L. Dahl (collectively, "defendants"), as well as a motion for a protective order filed by the defendants, which relates to these and other discovery requests (Dkt. No. 27).*fn1 The undersigned heard these matters on the court's law and motion calendar on December 8, 2011. (Minutes, Dec. 8, 2011, Dkt. No. 40.) Attorneys Stewart Katz and Guy Danilowitz appeared on behalf of the plaintiff. Attorney Sheri M. Chapman appeared on behalf of the defendants.

The parties filed a Joint Statement regarding their discovery dispute on December 1, 2011. (Joint Statement, Dkt. No. 34.)*fn2 According to the Joint Statement, plaintiff seeks to compel the production of documents in response to Requests 1 through 6 in Plaintiff's Amended First Request for Production of Documents and Things to Defendant City of Sacramento; the production of documents in response to Requests 1 through 7 in Plaintiff's Amended First Request for Production of Documents and Things to Defendant Gary Dahl; and the production of documents in response to Requests 1 through 16 in Plaintiff's Amended Second Request for Production of Documents and Things to Defendant City of Sacramento. (Joint Statement at 2-3.)

For the reasons stated on the record during the hearing, plaintiff's motions to compel are granted in part and denied in part. Defendants' motion for a protective order is granted in part and denied in part.

As explained during the hearing, defendants' blanket assertions of the qualified "official information" privilege are not adequately supported by declarations that specifically identify the governmental or privacy interests that would be threatened by disclosure of the material, describe how disclosure subject to a carefully crafted protective order would create a substantial risk of harm to significant governmental or privacy interests, and project how much harm would be done to the threatened interests if the disclosures were made. See Kelly v. City of San Jose, 114 F.R.D. 653, 670 (N.D. Cal. 1987); accord Soto v. City of Concord, 162 F.R.D. 603, 613 (N.D. Cal. 1995); Lal v. Felker, No. CIV S-07-2060 GEB EFB P, 2010 WL 582138, at *4-5 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 11, 2010) (unpublished); Heilman v. Vojkufka, No. CIV S-09-2788 KJM EFB P, 2011 WL 677877, at *17 (E.D. Cal. Feb. 17, 2011) (unpublished).

Further, during the hearing plaintiff's counsel expressed his preference that defendants' documents be produced outright, but with identifying information redacted, rather than those documents being produced in unredacted form, but subject to a protective order.*fn3

During the hearing, defendants' counsel stated that defendants were amenable to such redaction.

IV. CONCLUSION

In light of the foregoing, and for the reasons stated on the record during the hearing, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff's motions to compel (Dkt. Nos. 23-24) are granted in part and denied in part. Defendants' motion for a protective order (Dkt. No. 27) is granted in part and denied in part.

2. Subject to the limitations described below, defendants shall produce Bandit's veterinary records, but only those records reflecting Bandit's disposition or behavior issues, including but not limited to aggression issues. Defendants shall redact portions of the veterinary records that do not reflect Bandit's disposition or behavior issues. Plaintiff has not shown that all of Bandit's veterinary records are potentially relevant to this action.

3. Defendants shall produce all five Internal Affairs Division ("IAD") Files identified in the parties' Joint Statement with redactions as set forth below. (Joint Statement at 3-5 (identifying IAD File Nos. 09-213, 09-0032, 08-0046, 08-0368, and 07-0023).)

a. Defendants shall redact all text and photos within the five IAD Files that would permit the identification of witnesses, suspects, arrestees, victims, and citizens, as well as information that would identify the owners of vehicles or other property (collectively, "identifying information"). Such redaction could involve, for instance, covering faces of individuals depicted in photographs of dog bites, as well as redaction of text revealing the names, addresses, and other information personal to individual citizens or officers.

b. Any photos of any officer(s) (other than Officer Dahl) within the five IAD Files are to be completely redacted so as not to identify the officer(s) by name, badge number, or otherwise. Names and other identifying information of any officers (other than Officer Dahl) appearing in ...


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