United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER RE DISCOVERY DISPUTES RE PLAINTIFF'S
DOCUMENT REQUESTS RE: DKT. NOS. 82, 83, 84, 85
VIRGINIA K. DEMARCHI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
parties have submitted to the Court four discovery disputes
regarding plaintiff Don Moody's requests for production
of documents to the County of Santa Clara
(“County”). Dkt. Nos. 82, 83, 84, 85. The Court
has considered the parties' submissions and finds the
disputes are suitable for resolution without oral argument.
explained below, the Court resolves each dispute in the
Moody is the former Public Guardian for the County. He served
in that position for six years, from September 2008 until he
was placed on leave, with a recommendation for his
termination, in September 2014. Dkt. No. 52 ¶¶ 17,
32. Mr. Moody claims that he was immediately required to turn
over his badge and work phone and was escorted out of the
building where he worked, in full view of the public and
co-workers, leading others to conclude wrongly that he was
untrustworthy. Id. ¶¶ 34, 39.
Moody's employment subsequently was terminated. He
alleges that defendants leaked information to the media about
his termination and his “walkout.” Id.
¶¶ 36-38. He says he never witnessed anyone else in
his office terminated in this fashion and alleges that he was
stigmatized by this treatment. Id. ¶ 39. He
claims that, as a result, he was unable to find other
full-time employment for about a year after his termination
and still has not found work in his chosen profession.
Id. ¶ 43.
a Skelly hearing was held prior to his termination, Mr.
Moody claims that he was not allowed to introduce evidence,
call or cross-examine witnesses, or obtain testimony under
oath. Id. ¶ 41. Because the hearing would
result in an internal, non-publicized decision, Mr. Moody
further claims that the Skelly hearing was
insufficient to clear his name. Id. He also contends
that the appeal of his termination was insufficient and
failed to comport with due process because the appeal hearing
did not occur until over 20 months after his termination and
“walkout.” Id. ¶ 42.
Moody filed this suit against the County and Bruce Wagstaff,
the Director of the County's Social Services Agency who
recommended Mr. Moody's termination. The operative Second
Amended Complaint asserted two claims under 42 U.S.C. §
1983: (1) a procedural due process claim challenging the
adequacy of Mr. Moody's Skelly hearing and
appeal hearing, and (2) a substantive due process claim based
on the alleged “walkout” and leak to the press of
negative information about Mr. Moody. Id.
¶¶ 44-64, 65-69.
Court dismissed Mr. Moody's procedural due process claim
without leave to amend, finding that Mr. Moody failed to
plausibly allege that he did not receive a constitutionally
adequate name-clearing hearing to challenge the basis for his
termination. Dkt. No. 59 at 7-9. Thus, Mr. Moody's sole
remaining claim for relief is one for alleged deprivation of
his substantive due process rights.
respect to his substantive due process claim, Mr. Moody
asserts that defendants deprived him of his property interest
in continued employment with the County, as well as his
liberty interest in the right to work in his chosen
profession, by publicly humiliating him when they allegedly
escorted him out of the building where he worked and leaked
negative information about him and his termination to the
press. Dkt. No. 52 ¶¶ 65-69; Dkt. No. 51 at 14-15.
may obtain discovery of any matter that is relevant to a
claim or defense and that is “proportional to the needs
of case, considering the importance of the issues at stake in
the action, the amount in controversy, the parties'
relative access to relevant information, the parties'
resources, the importance of the discovery in resolving the
issues, and whether the burden or expense of the proposed
discovery outweighs its likely benefit.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(b)(1). For good cause shown, the Court may also issue an
order protecting a party or person from annoyance,
embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense, and
may order the discovery produced in a manner that restricts
its disclosure. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1);
parties' joint submissions address four discovery
disputes, which ...