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Evelyn Cote and Alfred Cote v. Tom Hopp

August 5, 2011

EVELYN COTE AND ALFRED COTE, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
TOM HOPP, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Byron G. Cudmore United States Magistrate Judge

E-FILED Friday, 05 August, 2011 11:17:22 AM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

BYRON G. CUDMORE, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE:

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Alfred Cote's Motion to Compel Danny Leezer to Produce Documents and Recordings (d/e 96) (Motion).*fn1 For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Evelyn and Alfred Cote (the "Cotes") allege, inter alia, that on July 7, 2007, Defendant Illinois State Patrol Trooper Danny Leezer arrested Plaintiff Alfred Cote at a house owned by Cote in Nauvoo, Illinois. Defendant Leezer allegedly used excessive force in arresting the Cotes. Amended Complaint as of Nov 5 2009 (d/e 28), ¶¶ 4, 6. Leezer arrested Cote pursuant to a warrant charging Cote with obstructing a police officer. Report and Recommendation entered February 23, 2010 (d/e 48) (Report and Recommendation), at 5. Plaintiff Evelyn Cote was also arrested, but the basis for her arrest is unclear. Id. Nauvoo Police Officer Sarah Houston (n/k/a Sarah Strope) participated in the execution of the warrant at the Cote house in Nauvoo. The Cotes were taken to jail. While at the jail, Leezer made some comment to Alfred Cote "about suing police or that maybe [Alfred Cote] shouldn't be suing the police." Motion, at 5. The Cotes were acquitted at trial. Report and Recommendation, at 7.

The Cotes brought this action on February 17, 2009. The action included claims against both Trooper Leezer and Officer Strope arising from the execution of the arrest warrant on July 7, 2007.*fn2 During discovery, Alfred Cote served Leezer with a request to produce two documents:

1. A copy of his car video camera log for July 7, 2007, that is kept under the State Police P&Ps. . . .

2. A copy of the video and audio recorded on July 7 2007 once his lights were activated.

Motion, Exhibit A, Defendant Danny Leezer's Response to Plaintiff Alfred Cote's Third Request for Production of Documents (Response), at 1, 2. Leezer responded by essentially stating that the documents sought did not exist. In response to the first request, Leezer stated:

The encounter with and arrest of Alfred Cote was not in connection with a traffic pursuit or stop and therefore any video recording device in the squad car of Trooper Danny Leezer was not activated on July 7, 2007, in connection with Mr. Cote. As such, there is not entry of any log referencing that video equipment was used while encountering, arresting, or transporting Alfred Cote on July 7, 2007. Defendant objects to producing the log for the video of any other matter or of any person other than Alfred Cote which may have been recorded by Trooper Leezer on July 7, 2007, on the grounds that it is not relevant and unlikely to lead to admissible evidence. Response, at 1. Leezer responded to the second request as follows:

The encounter with and transportation of Alfred Cote was not in connection with a traffic pursuit or stop and therefore any video and audio recording device in the squad car of Trooper Danny Leezer was not activiated on July 7, 2007, in connection with Mr. Cote. Defendant objects to producing the video or audio of any other matter or of any person other than Alfred Cote which may have been recorded by Trooper Leezer on July 7, 2007, on the grounds that it is not relevant and unlikely to lead to admissible evidence.

Id. at 2.

The Cotes then took Leezer's deposition. Leezer stated that he was driving a squad car on July 7, 2007. The squad car was equipped with a video camera set in a fixed position pointing out the front windshield of the car. ...


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