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Anthony Delanda v. County of Fresno

January 23, 2012

ANTHONY DELANDA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF FRESNO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL

(Docket No. 37)

I. INTRODUCTION

On December 9, 2011, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel Defendant to provide further responses to two separate discovery requests seeking the production of documents. (Doc. 37.)

On January 10, 2012, the Court, after having reviewed the parties' joint statement regarding the discovery dispute ("Joint Statement") (Doc. 40), held a telephonic conference to narrow the scope of the parties' dispute and to provide assistance in resolving the matter. (See Doc. 45.) After discussing the issues presented by the motion and the Joint Statement, the Court provided the parties with a tentative ruling on the motion and directed the parties to meet and confer in an attempt to resolve their dispute. (See Doc. 46.) The parties met and conferred following the telephonic conference and filed a supplemental Joint Statement regarding their dispute. (Doc. 47.)

In their supplemental Joint Statement, the parties indicated that they had resolved their dispute with respect to Plaintiff's Request for Production ("RFP") No. 9, Set One, and requested that the motion with respect to RFP No. 9 be "taken off calendar without prejudice." (Doc. 47, 1:20-2:10.) In resolving their dispute, the parties also agreed to the terms of a protective order as it relates to the production of confidential information, which they have submitted for the Court's approval. Further, the parties indicated they had resolved most of the issues with regard to RFP No. 12, Set Two, but requested that the Court clarify the degree to which documents responsive to RFP No. 12 may be redacted by Defendant to address privacy concerns. (Doc. 47, 2:11-21.)

For the reasons set forth below, Defendant shall produce documents responsive to Plaintiff's RFP No. 12, Set Two, subject to the parties' stipulated protective order and redaction of the names of any third parties involved in the circumstances leading to any incident reports related to Mr. Sanchez.

II. DISCUSSION

This cases arises out of actions taken by the County of Fresno Probation Department (the "Department") with respect to Plaintiff, an employee of the Department since June 28, 1999. (Doc. 1, ¶ 3.) Prior to May 2009, Plaintiff had achieved positions with the Department as a Force Options Instructor ("FOI"), and he had successfully competed for the position of Range Master. (Doc. 1, ¶ 4.) In May 2009, Plaintiff participated in an investigation of a race discrimination complaint filed by a co-worker. (Doc. 1, ¶ 5.) Plaintiff asserts in his complaint that he provided the investigator with truthful information regarding the race discrimination complaint that was unfavorable to the Department. (Doc. 1, ¶ 6.) Plaintiff alleges that on June 12, 2009, the Department retaliated against him by relieving him of his duties as an FOI and the "position of Range Master was withdrawn." (Doc. 1, ¶ 7.) Plaintiff filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing ("DFEH") asserting retaliation on the part of the Department.

In a letter to DFEH regarding Plaintiff's discrimination complaint, the Department set forth the reasons for its decision to remove Plaintiff from his FOI position and for withdrawing the Range Master position. (Doc. 41, pp. 23-27.) The Department asserted that Plaintiff's removal from the FOI position "was the result of [Plaintiff's] inappropriate conduct." (Doc. 41, p. 24.) Specifically, the Probation Division Director received two memoranda on December 22, 2008. (Doc. 41, p. 24.) The first memorandum was from a witness who indicated that intimidating behavior was exhibited on the part of instructors teaching a class, one of whom was Plaintiff. (Doc. 41, p. 24.) The second memorandum was provided by a witness who complained of being the target of humiliation and belittling by instructors, including Plaintiff. (Doc. 41, p. 24.) The Probation Division Director determined that Plaintiff "was not conducting himself in a manner considered appropriate for a department instructor, and so he was removed from the assignment." (Doc. 41, p. 24.)

Additionally, in May 2009 an email was sent to Plaintiff inquiring as to his availability to teach a class in his capacity as an FOI on June 24, 2009. (Doc. 41, p. 24.) Plaintiff did not respond to this request until approximately five weeks later. (Doc. 41, p. 24.) The Department explained that "[b]ecause of the large number of Force Options classes the Department provides and the relatively small number of trained department instructors, responsiveness to management is critical to ensure a continual stream of successful courses. The inability or unwillingness to respond promptly to management requests . . . [has a] negative effect . . . ." (Doc. 41, p. 24-25.)

Thus, on June 11, 2009, the Department notified Plaintiff that he was "being removed as a Force Options Instructor . . . Because it was not a disciplinary matter but rather a change in assignment, the Department did not feel it was necessary to inform [Plaintiff] of the memos and e-mails that caused concern about his appropriateness to act as a Force Options Instructor." (Doc. 41, p. 25.) Finally, with regard to the Range Master position, Plaintiff was informed he would not be attending the Range Master school because of budget issues. (Doc. 41, p. 25.) Without that training, Plaintiff could not work as a Range Master. (Doc. 41, p. 25.) In its letter to DFEH, Defendant maintained that budget issues, not discriminatory motives, were the reasons why Plaintiff was not selected for the Range Master position. (Doc. 41, p. 25.)

Ultimately, Plaintiff filed suit against the Department for retaliation in removing him from his FOI position and withdrawing the Range Master position. During the course of discovery, Plaintiff propounded on Defendant the following request for ...


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