United States District Court, N.D. New York
PLAINTIFF: STOLL, GLICKMAN & BELLINA LLP LEO GLICKMAN,
DEFENDANTS: HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN DENISE P. BUCKLEY, ESQ.
New York State Attorney General Assistant Attorney General
DECISION AND ORDER
E. PEEBLES, CHIEF U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an action brought by plaintiff Mattieu Burks pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against a number of individuals employed
by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community
Supervision ("DOCCS") alleging that they subjected
him to cruel and unusual punishment while confined in a New
York State prison facility. During the course of discovery,
plaintiff's counsel was provided with an investigative
file created by the DOCCS Office of Special Investigations
("OSI") regarding the incident giving rise to
plaintiff's claims. The case file was disclosed to
plaintiff's counsel pursuant to a protective order issued
by the court, on stipulation of the parties. Under that
order, while plaintiff's counsel is authorized to permit
plaintiff to review the materials disclosed, they are
otherwise restricted to his counsel on an
pending before the court is plaintiff's request for
declassification of portions of the OSI file under the
governing protective order and, correspondingly, for
authorization to publicly disseminate those documents. For
the reasons set forth below, the request is granted in part.
commenced this action on June 27, 2016. Dkt. No. 1. In his
complaint, plaintiff alleges that, at the relevant times, he
was confined in the Clinton Correctional Facility
("Clinton"), a prison operated by the DOCCS.
See generally Id. Generally, plaintiff claims that
while at Clinton he was harassed, assaulted, and deprived of
certain basic necessities, including water and electricity.
Id. Plaintiff's complaint asserts Eighth
Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claims against several
named corrections officers, as well as additional,
unidentified Doe defendants. Id.
the course of discovery, plaintiff requested the production
of a case file created by the OSI in connection with an
investigation into plaintiff's allegation that he was
assaulted by corrections officers at Clinton on July 5, 2015.
To facilitate the production of that file by defendants'
counsel, the parties entered into a stipulation providing for
the entry of a protective order pursuant to Rule 26(c) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Dkt. No. 30. The protective
order is limited in scope and specific to the OSI case file,
and acknowledges the parties' recognition of the
confidential and sensitive nature of that file and the
security concerns and other deleterious effects that could
result from public disclosure of its contents. See
generally id. Paragraph eleven of the protective order
provides that, in the event the parties dispute "the
application of the terms of [the order] to any part of the
Protected Records, " they "reserve the right to
seek an order from the Court regarding the part of the
Protected Records in dispute." Dkt. No. 30 at 6.
Following the entry of the stipulated order, the OSI case
file was produced to plaintiff's counsel on or about
January 15, 2017, redacted to remove social security numbers
and personal addresses and designated as CONFIDENTIAL
ATTORNEY VIEWING ONLY. See, e.g., Dkt. No. 33-1.
receipt of the OSI file, plaintiff's counsel sent a
letter to defendants' attorney on January 19, 2017,
objecting to the confidentiality designation with regard to
certain portions of the OSI file. Dkt. No. 32-3. Assistant
New York State Attorney General Denise P. Buckley responded
by letter dated February 9, 2017, stating that her office was
"instructed by the OSI that they will agree to vary the
terms of the So-Ordered Stipulation and Confidentiality
Order" in part, and enclosing fifty-one pages of records
from the OSI file from which the confidential designation was
removed, subject to minor redaction. Dkt. No. 32-4.
March 9, 2017, pursuant to paragraph eleven of the protective
order, plaintiff filed a motion with the court seeking an
order releasing certain of the remaining contents of the OSI
file from protection under the order. Dkt. No. 32.
Plaintiff's motion implicates the following documents:
Bates Stamp Number
Final OSI report
Inmate witness statements
Transcript of question and answer proceedings,
held on 10/14/15, involving defendant John Mark
Plaintiff's statement to OSI
Dkt. No. 33 at 12-14. Defendants oppose plaintiff's
motion. Dkt. No. 34. Oral argument was held concerning the
motion on March 31, 2017, during a telephone conference
conducted on the record, at which time decision regarding the
motion was reserved.