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Giordano v. City of Los Angeles

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

October 24, 2013

BART GIORDANO, an individual, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF LOS ANGELES, a body corporate and politic; and DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, Defendants.

[PROPOSED] PROTECTIVE ORDER REGARDING DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION (INTERNAL AFFAIRS INVESTIGATION REPORTS)

SUZANNE H. SEGAL, Magistrate Judge.

Whereas counsel for the parties have discussed the mutual exchange of documents in this litigation, Defendant, through its counsel of record, has agreed to produce certain confidential information in this litigation, and therefore, the parties have stipulated to the following terms and conditions, the Court hereby orders as follows:

1. In accordance with the above-referenced agreement, the City of Los Angeles has agreed to produce copies of the following documents following the issuance of a protective order in this matter:

a) The LAPD's Internal Affairs Investigation Report (and the attached addenda) relating to the incident of May 28, 2012, which gives rise to this litigation;

b) LAPD Internal Affairs Investigations involving allegations of false arrest and or false imprisonment made against the involved Officers (who have been identified by counsel for the parties) for the period of time for May 29, 2007 to May 29, 2012;

c) LAPD Internal Affairs Investigations involving allegations of false and misleading statements and preparing false police reports made against the involved Officers (who have been identified by counsel for the parties) for the period of time for May 29, 2007 to May 29, 2012;

d) Plaintiff may purchase copies of the recorded statements taken by LAPD's Internal Affairs in connection with the above-referenced investigations.

GOOD CAUSE STATEMENT

2. The Los Angeles Police Department conducts internal administrative investigations of Officer Involved Uses of Force and Complaint Investigations (hereinafter "Administrative Investigations") and also maintains a personnel file on its officers which includes personnel training information. Once an Administrative Investigation is initiated, a formal investigation number is prepared. Such investigations are reviewed by appropriate command officers in the Department. This review has several purposes: (1) to determine whether the involved officers violated any Department policies or procedures; (2) to determine whether administrative discipline and/or retraining of the involved officers is necessary; and (3) to ascertain if police policies and procedures in such areas as supervision, training, tactics, policies, etc. should be modified. Administrative Investigations are an essential aid to providing critical evaluation of Department officers and policies, and to determine the most effective way to serve the citizens of Los Angeles.

3. The Department strives to maintain the confidentiality of an officer's personnel package and Administrative Investigations, and the information contained therein, in recognition of the protections granted pursuant to Penal Code § § 832.5, 832.7, and 832.8 and 1040 et al. of the California Evidence Code. Just as officer's personnel package is maintained as confidential, so too are the Administrative Investigations involving a particular officer(s). Administrative Investigations, like an officer's personnel package, include information which is both personal in nature and could potentially impact the liberty interests of the involved police officers and/or civilians named within. The information obtained from personnel packages and Administrative Investigations can, and have been used to initiate disciplinary action against officers, as well as evidence in disciplinary proceedings where the officer's conduct was considered to be contrary to Department policy. At this time, the parties have agreed that certain Administrative Investigation information will be provided pursuant to the terms set forth in this Protective Order. As a result, the parties have agreed to this Proposed Protective Order covering these records for the following Good Cause reasons:

4. Administrative Investigations are maintained as confidential reports and arc considered part of the individual officers' personnel record. Administrative Investigations include information which is both personal in nature and could potentially impact the liberty interests of the involved police officers and/or civilians named within. The information obtained from Administrative Investigations can and have been used to initiate disciplinary action against officers and as evidence in disciplinary proceedings where the use of force or tactics used were considered to be contrary to Department policy.

5. Unfettered release of Administrative Investigations have the potential for untold negative results. In terms of societal interests, it would inhibit the Department's ability to frankly engage in critical self-analysis. Public exposure of many Administrative Investigations could severely threaten the safety and well-being of the individuals, their families and associates. Many Administrative Investigations include embarrassing facts. At a minimum, disclosure of an entire Administrative Investigation would cause needless intrusion of privacy rights and have a negative effect on the Department's effort to conduct these important investigations. Indeed, for all of these reasons, persons interviewed by Investigators are advised that their statements are being taken for the confidential use of the Department.

6. The materials and interview statements of Administrative Investigations are maintained in protected files in order to maintain their confidentiality. They are not routinely shown to other city departments. Even then, information which is not clearly relevant to the rationale governing the request is redacted to ensure the utmost regard for the privacy rights of the mentioned within a given report. The reports are not available to the general public except by court order. In all instances, the Department requests in camera hearing to determine the relevance for releasing all or part of a given report, again to ensure the constitutionally protected privacy rights of those named or otherwise identified within the body of the report.

7. In each case involving court-ordered disclosure of information from a Administrative Investigation sought in state or federal court, it is Department policy to seek a protective order limiting use of the information to the case at trial and identifying those persons who may properly be granted access to the information. Absent a protective order, it becomes unrealistic to conceive that the large numbers of attorneys, secretaries, law clerks, paralegals and witnesses involved in many cases will be able to maintain proper confidence of personal, private material absent an order which clearly delineates their responsibilities. The orders further request that said records be returned to the Department after the case has terminated, either by final ...


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