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Vitale v. GST Boces

United States District Court, W.D. New York

July 9, 2014

JANICE VITALE, Plaintiff,
v.
GST BOCES, Defendant.

DECISION AND ORDER

FRANK P. GERACI, Jr., District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Pursuant to 28 USC § 636(a), (c) and Local Rule § 72(a), Plaintiff Janice Vitale ("Plaintiff"), initially, filed a Motion Requesting Review of the Magistrate Judge's Order Dated March 7, 2014 ("Motion for Reconsideration"), arguing for reconsideration of the order issued by Magistrate Judge Jonathan W. Feldman which granted in part and denied in part Plaintiff's Motion to Compel ("Motion to Compel") (ECF Nos. 18, 19), which sought disclosure of various documents included in Plaintiff's First Set of Requests for Production of Documents ("Request to Produce"), on the grounds that (1) Magistrate Judge Feldman's ruling from the bench was inconsistent with the written order filed on that same date[1]; and (2) because the Magistrate Judge recognizes the relevance of disclosure of records related to Plaintiff's supervisors and other decision makers, the exclusion of records pertaining to Superintendent Horst Graefe ("Superintendent Graefe") and Supervisor Scott Miller ("Supervisor Miller"), is clearly erroneous. ECF No. 28.

Thereafter, Defendant GST BOCES ("GST BOCES") responded and filed its Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion ("Def.'s Mem.") (ECF No. 32), arguing that affirmance of the Order is warranted, and Plaintiff filed its Reply to Defendant's Motion in Opposition to the Magistrate Judge's Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion to Compel Dated March 7, 2014 ("Pl.'s Reply") (ECF No. 33) in opposition to affirming the Magistrate Judge's Order.

For the reasons set forth below, the Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration is denied in its entirety.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff commenced this action against GST BOCES, alleging that she was subjected to disparate treatment during her employment with GST BOCES as a school social worker, denied accommodations for her alleged disability, denied her rights to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") and retaliated against for invoking her rights under that statute, and ultimately discharged in June 2012 due to her disability (Meniere's Disease) in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). ECF No. 1. The Complaint also set forth claims for unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"); negligent retention based on Defendant's employment of two supervisors who allegedly discriminated against her; and illegal discrimination under New York State Human Rights Law ("NYSHRL"). Id.

Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel. ECF No. 18. After full briefing of the issues by the parties, the Magistrate Judge held oral argument and ruled on the various requests for production of documents. ECF No. 25. While the Magistrate Judge ordered Defendant to produce documents contained in the personnel files of certain current and former employees of GST BOCES who were decision makers or supervisors of Plaintiff, he denied specific requests pertaining to non-parties Superintendent Graefe and Supervisor Scott Miller, citing Dzanis v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., 10 Civ. 3384 (BSJ) (JLC), 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137356 (S.D.N.Y. November 30, 2011) (subject to a protective order, personnel files of decision-makers and persons with supervisory authority over a plaintiff alleged to have participated in the discriminatory conduct at issue are discoverable, including complaints of discrimination or retaliation, or disciplinary actions).

The Magistrate Judge issued the complained of Order on the same date (ECF No. 25) and, later, a revised Order upon the parties' agreement.[2] (ECF No. 30). Subsequently, this motion for reconsideration setting forth Plaintiff's objections to the Order, insofar as it denied Plaintiff's requests to disclose the personnel files of Superintendent Graefe and Supervisor Scott Miller, was filed. ECF No. 28.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The standard of review for motions for reconsideration of an order issued by a magistrate judge in a non-dispositive matter is set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(a). By its terms, a district judge must consider timely objections to a magistrate judge's written order and "modify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is contrary to law." Fed. R. Civ.P. 72(a); Jean-Laurent v. Wilkerson, 461 Fed.App'x 18, 25 (2d Cir. 2012) ("A district court evaluating a Magistrate Judge's order with respect to a matter not dispositive of a claim or defense may adopt the Magistrate Judge's findings and conclusions as long as the factual and legal bases supporting the ruling are not clearly erroneous or contrary to law. "). "A finding is clearly erroneous' when although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." United States v. U.S. Gypsum, Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948). An order is contrary to law "when it fails to apply or misapplies relevant statutes, case law, or rules of procedure." Duck v. Port Jefferson Sch. Dist., 07CV2224 (ADS) (WDW), 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39695, at *5 (E.D.N.Y. May 14, 2008) (citation omitted).

A party is entitled to discovery "regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party." Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1).

IV. DISCUSSION

I have reviewed an attachment to Plaintiff's Reply submission (ECF No. 33), Exhibit 3, consisting of the transcript of the oral arguments held in this case ("Oral Arg. Tr."), which reflects that after duly considering the parties' stated positions and supportive documentation, relevant case law, and other pertinent information, in addition to reviewing relevant portions of the record, the Magistrate Judge rendered his thoughtful conclusions that ...


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