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Davis v. City of Springfield

June 1, 2009

RICKEY B. DAVIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Byron G. Cudmore, U.S. Magistrate Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Quash or Modify Amended Notice of Deposition and Protective Order under Rule 26 (d/e 228) (Motion to Quash) filed by Defendant City of Springfield, Illinois. On April 2, 2009, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Notice of Deposition (d/e 222) (Notice of Deposition), directing a Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6) deposition of the Defendant to address information related to fifteen specifically identified topics. Defendant filed the instant Motion to Quash, asking the Court to enter a Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c) protective order on nine of the fifteen topics. This Court has jurisdiction to consider this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). Defendant's Motion contains the requisite Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1) certification. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Quash is allowed, in part, and denied, in part.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is an African-American male who was at all relevant times employed by the Defendant as a police officer with the rank of Lieutenant. According to the Second Amended Complaint (d/e 172), Plaintiff has previously filed claims of race discrimination and retaliation against Defendant and has spoken out against race discrimination in the City of Springfield and the Springfield Police Department (SPD). The instant matter is a consolidation of Case No. 04-3168 and Case No. 07-3096. Case No. 04-3168 was tried to a jury in September 2007. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on Plaintiff's Title VII claim that Defendant did not promote Plaintiff to Deputy Chief of the SPD's Criminal Investigations Division (CID) in retaliation for his speaking out about race discrimination in the SPD and/or filing charges of race discrimination against the SPD. Thus, this claim remains. In Case No. 07-3096, Plaintiff alleges claims of race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII (Count I) and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 & 1983 (Count II). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant discriminated and retaliated against him by taking action affecting the terms and conditions of his employment, issuing unwarranted discipline against him, wrongfully initiating and mishandling Internal Affairs matters against him, transferring him from the CID to the patrol unit, transferring him from the day shift to the midnight shift and then to the second shift, and releasing confidential medical information about Plaintiff to the general public without his consent. See Second Amended Complaint. According to Plaintiff, as a direct result of Defendant's conduct, he was constructively discharged and resigned from the SPD on January 3, 2007. Id.

ANALYSIS

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(1) allows parties to obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party. Relevant information need not be admissible at trial if the discovery appears to be reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Under Rule 26(c), however, the Court may, for good cause shown, issue an order to protect a party from whom discovery is sought "from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c)(1). Additionally, Rule 26(b)(2) provides as follows:

On motion or on its own, the court must limit the frequency or extent of discovery otherwise allowed by these rules or by local rule if it determines that:

(I) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or can be obtained from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive;

(ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity to obtain the information by discovery in the action; or

(iii) the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit, considering the needs of the case, the amount in controversy, the parties' resources, the importance of the issues at stake in the action, and the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2).

Under Rule 26(c), "[t]he burden is on the party seeking the protective order to demonstrate that good cause exists for the entry of the order by making a 'particular and specific demonstration of fact, as distinguished from stereotyped and conclusory statements.'" Catt v. Affirmative Ins. Co., 2009 WL 1228605, at *3 (N.D. Ind. April 30, 2009) (quoting Gulf Oil Co. v. Bernard, 452 U.S. 89, 102 n. 16 (1981); citing Jepson, Inc. v. Makita Elec. Works, Ltd., 30 F.3d 854, 858 (7th Cir. 1994)). Additionally, "Rule 26(c) confers broad discretion on the trial court to decide when a protective order is appropriate and what degree of protection is required." Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20, 36, (1984). The Court addresses the disputed topics with these principles in mind.

A. Topic No. 4

Topic No. 4 requests examination on "[t]he IT terminology on and the contents of documents numbered RD07-000310-314, 317-320, 334-614, 000268." Notice of Deposition, p. 2. The documents numbered RD07-000310-314, 317-320, 334-614 are filed as a sealed exhibit (d/e 232), labeled Ex. 3 to Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Support of its Motion to Quash or Modify Amended Notice of Deposition and Protective Order under Rule 26 (d/e 229) (Defendant's Memorandum). Document 000268 is not included in Ex. 3. These documents are paper copies of information obtained from Defendant's computers by a third-party forensic computer expert in connection with this Court's Case No. 03-3007. The ...


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