United States District Court, E.D. New York
A. KATHLEEN TOMLINSON, Magistrate Judge.
I. PRELIMINARY STATEMENT
This case arises out of the alleged wrongful arrest of plaintiff Jacob Burbar ("Plaintiff") by the Garden City Police. Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to compel the County of Nassau and the Nassau County District Attorney's office (the "County Defendants") to produce certain documents requested in Plaintiff's Second Request to Produce Documents. DE 16-17. The County Defendants maintain that these documents are protected by the deliberative process privilege and the work product privilege. DE 19. In response to the parties' letters, the Court directed the County Defendants to submit the documents at issue for an in camera review. Having reviewed the arguments advanced by both parties in their written submissions, as well as the documents submitted for in camera review, Plaintiff's motion to compel is GRANTED, in part, and DENIED, in part.
Plaintiff was arrested by the Garden City Police on October 13, 2011 and charged with five felonies relating to the unlawful possession of a firearm. DE 14 at 2-3. Plaintiff was taken to the Nassau County Police Headquarters where he was fingerprinted and placed in a cell. Id. at 3. The next morning, Plaintiff was taken to the First District Court in Hempstead and arraigned on five felonies relating to unlawful possession of a firearm. Id. The Nassau County District Attorney's Office represented at the arraignment that there were unregistered guns recovered from the Defendant's home. Id. After the arraignment, the Plaintiff was detained at the Nassau County Correctional Center where he was held until the next day when his bail was posted. Id.
At the first pre-trial conference in the criminal proceeding held on January 6, 2012, the People asked the County Court judge to reduce each charge and then asked the court to dismiss all the reduced charges, acknowledging that Plaintiff was licensed to possess the firearms in question. Id. at 3-4. Thereafter, the court dismissed all the charges and the record was sealed. Id. at 4. The two remaining counts of alleged menacing were referred to the District Court, Nassau County. Id. There, the People consented to the Defendant's motion to dismiss the charges and the record was sealed. Id.
On October 9, 2012, Plaintiff filed this Complaint in New York Supreme Court, Nassau County against the Incorporated Village of Garden City, the County of Nassau, and Police Officers John Doe # 1 and John Doe # 2. Id. On January 8, 2013, Plaintiff moved to amend the Complaint to add new causes of action based on alleged violations of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983 as well as the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Id. The Plaintiff also sought to add as defendants Garden City Police Officer Marceda and the Nassau County District Attorney's Office. Id. On February 1, 2013, the state court granted the motion to amend. Id.
On March 14, 2013, the Defendants removed this action to this Court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. Id. Thereafter, the Incorporate Village of Garden City, the Garden City Police Department, Garden City Police Officer Marceda, and Police Officers John Doe #1 and #2 (collectively the "Village Defendants") moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint. Id. By Memorandum of Decision and Order, Judge Spatt granted the motion in part and denied the motion in part. Id. at 2. The motion was granted except as to Plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Individual Village Defendants and Plaintiff's state law malicious prosecution claim against the remaining Village Defendants. Id. at 18-19. All claims against the County Defendants remain.
III. THE PRESENT MOTION
Plaintiff's Second Request to Produce Documents requested the following documents:
a complete and full copy of THE NASSAU COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE file in connection with the investigation, arrest, arraignment, conferences and ultimate dismissal of charges against the Plaintiff, as well as records relating to the arrest and prosecution of the Plaintiff, as well as any other records created by, maintained by, generated by, reviewed by, relied upon, or utilized by or in connection with the investigation, arrest and prosecution of the Plaintiff.
DE 16-1 at 1. The County Defendants responded by producing 81 pages of material. DE 19. Of these documents, redactions were made to pages 2-3, 10, 14 and 15. Id. These redactions were memorialized in a privilege log, which was served upon Plaintiff's counsel together with the document production. Id.; see also DE 16-2. Pages 2, 3, 10 and 14 are almost wholly redacted and are comprised of the following: (1) page 2 contains an Early Case Assessment Bureau ("ECAB") Sheet authored by Assistant District Attorney Ajamo; (2) page 3 contains a District Attorney's Conference and Evaluation Sheet also authored by ADA Ajamo; (3) page 10 is an ECAB Case Assessment Form authored by ADA Lipinsky; and (4) page 14 contains a File Evaluation, Supervisor Review, Conference and Evaluation Notes Sheet, author unknown. DE 19 at 1-2; see also DE 16-2. Page 15 is one page of an accusatory instrument filed against Plaintiff and the only redactions are the name of the complaining witness and a date of birth, presumably of the Plaintiff. DE 19 at 2. The County Defendants asserted both the deliberative process and work product privileges in their privilege log as justification for not providing complete copies of these five documents.
Plaintiff thereafter filed the instant motion to compel seeking an Order directing the County Defendants to produce unredacted versions of these five documents. DE 16. Plaintiff also seeks an extension of the discovery deadline pending resolution of his motion. Id. The Court initially denied Plaintiff's motion since it failed to contain a certification that the parties had complied with Local Rule 37.3 and an explanation of how they had done so. Electronic Order, Dec. 30, 2013. By letter dated January 7, 2014, Plaintiff renewed his letter motion, setting forth the details regarding his compliance with Local Rule 37.3. DE 17. The County Defendants filed a letter in opposition to Plaintiff's motion on January 9, 2014. DE 19. The Village Defendants filed a letter taking no position with regard to Plaintiff's motion to compel but opposing Plaintiff's request to extend the discovery deadline. DE 20.
By Order dated January 24, 2014, the Court adjourned the pre-trial conference in this matter without date in light of the pending motion to compel. Electronic Order, Jan. 24, 2014. Thereafter, the Court directed the County Defendants to submit the documents at issue for an in camera review. ...