United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES S. COODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the court is the plaintiff's first motion to
compel (doc. # 47) filed on April 20, 2017. The defendants
have file a response in opposition to the motion to compel
(doc. # 51) and the plaintiff has filed a reply (doc. # 52).
For the reasons that follow, the court concludes that the
motion to compel should be granted in part with limitations
and denied in part.
26(b)(1) provides that “[p]arties may obtain discovery
regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any
party's claim or defense . . . ” The Committee
Comments to Fed.R.Civ.P. 26 confirm that requiring relevance
to a claim or defense “signals to the court that it has
the authority to confine discovery to the claims and defenses
asserted in the pleadings, and signals to the parties that
they have no entitlement to discovery to develop new claims
or defenses that are not already identified in the
pleadings.” GAP Report of Advisory Committee to 2000
amendments to Rule 26.
determining what discovery to allow, the court is likewise
guided by some other fundamental principles. “Relevant
information need not be admissible at the trial if the
discovery appears reasonably calculated to lead to the
discovery of admissible evidence.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
[D]istrict courts have broad discretion in fashioning
discovery rulings, they are bound to adhere “to the
liberal spirit of the [Federal] Rules.” Burns v.
Thiokol Chem. Corp., 483 F.2d 300, 305 (5th Cir. 1973).
The Federal Rules do not give district courts “blanket
authorization . . . to prohibit disclosure of information
whenever it deems it advisable to do so, but is rather a
grant of power to impose conditions on discovery in order to
prevent injury, harassment, or abuse of the court's
processes.” Williams v. City of Dothan, Ala.,
745 F.2d 1406, 1416 (11th Cir. 1984) (quoting
Bridge C.A.T. Scan Assocs. v. Technicare Corp., 710
F.2d 940, 944-45 (2nd Cir. 1983)).
Adkins v. Christie, 488 F.3d 1324, 1331 (11th Cir.
26 . . . [(b)(1)] is highly flexible, having been designed to
accommodate all relevant interests as they arise . . .
” U.S. v. Microsoft Corp., 165 F.3d 952,
959-60 (D.C. Cir. 1999). In particular, considerations of the
public interest, the need for confidentiality, and privacy
interests are relevant factors to be balanced. See, e.g.,
Seattle Times Co. v. Rhinehart, 467 U.S. 20, 35 n. 21
(1984) (“Although ... Rule [26(c)] contains no specific
reference to privacy or to other rights or interests that may
be implicated, such matters are implicit in the broad purpose
and language of the Rule.”).
issue in this case are four requests for production of
documents. In Request for Production # 1(k), the plaintiff
seeks from the City of Dothan copies of “any and all
complaints regarding the officers named in the
lawsuit.” (Doc. # 47 at 2). In Request for Production #
10, he seeks from the City “all documents related to
any internal investigation” related to the plaintiff or
this litigation. (Id.). In Request for Production #
11, the plaintiff seeks “the complete personnel file,
training file, and internal affairs file of each of the
individual defendants.” (Id.). With respect to
defendants Mock and Traynoholm, in Request for Production #
5, the plaintiff seeks “copies of any and all
complaints made against [each] Defendant for police
misconduct of any kind.” (Id. at 4). The
defendants object to the discovery requests as overbroad, not
relevant, and protected by privilege and work product
doctrine. See Doc. # 51.
the court agrees that the plaintiff is entitled to
information related to excessive force complaints against the
officers named in this litigation, his requests are overbroad
and due to be narrowed in scope and time. Thus, the court
concludes that with respect to Request for Production # 1(k)
to the City and Request for Production # 5 to Mock and
Traynoholm, the defendants should produce any complaints of
excessive force against these defendants within three (3)
years of the date of the incident that forms the basis of
Request for Production # 11, the plaintiff seeks the
personnel file, training file, and internal affairs file of
each named defendant. While the plaintiff again seeks broad
discovery, the court concludes that information related to
the individual defendants' training on the use of force
is discoverable. Accordingly, the court will require the City
to produce information from the individually named
defendants' training files that relate to any use of
force training they received within three (3) years of the
date of the incident that forms the basis of this lawsuit.
in Request for Production # 10 and # 11, the plaintiff seeks
all documents related to the internal affairs investigation
of the plaintiff, the internal affairs files of the
individual defendants, and the complete personnel files of
the individual defendants. Because the court has permitted
discovery regarding any excessive force complaints against
the named defendants, the court concludes that at this
juncture the plaintiff has failed to point the court to any
evidence that the internal affairs files and personnel files
will provide any additional relevant, non-privileged
information. Accordingly, the motion to compel with respect
to these requests will be denied.
for the reasons as stated and for good cause, it is
that the motion to compel (doc. # 47) be and is hereby
GRANTED in part and DENIED in part as follows:
respect to Request for Production # 1(k) to the City and
Request for Production # 5 to Mock and Traynoholm, the motion
to compel be and is hereby GRANTED to the extent that the
defendants shall produce any complaints of excessive force
against the individually named defendants within ...