United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
KATHARINE H. PARKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Christopher Clark, proceeding pro se, brings this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He claims that on
September 26, 2014, he was illegally stopped, searched, and
falsely arrested for drug and weapon possession charges by
New York City Police Department (“NYPD”)
officers. (See generally Doc. No. 6 pp. 2-3.)
Plaintiff further alleges that NYPD officers detained and
re-arrested him on that same day for robbery and a hate
crime, and that he subsequently was detained for over two
years on charges for assault in the first-degree. (See
seeks a number of documents in discovery. These include: (1)
the Defendant officers' CCRB and lawsuit history, (2)
documents pertaining to the original stop and arrest of
Plaintiff, (3) video surveillance from the 14th
St. stop and frisk, and (4) grand jury minutes. (Doc. No.
the first two items, Defendants represent that they have
produced the requested information and provided the Bates
Numbers of the responsive documents. (Doc. No. 46 pp.34.) As
to the third item, Defendants represent there is no such
video. (Id.) Accordingly, on August 17, 2017, this
Court denied Plaintiff's motion to compel these three
categories of information as moot. (Doc. No. 49.)
to production of the grand jury minutes underlying
Plaintiff's indictment in People v. Christopher
Clark, N.Y. Cnty. Ind. No. 5201-2014, the Court notes
that Defendants are not in the possession, custody, and
control of the minutes. However, production of the grand jury
minutes in this case is not warranted in any event.
rarely order production of grand jury minutes because they
are secret. See N.Y. C.P.L. § 190.25(4)(a);
Baynes v. Ruderfer, 234 F.Supp.3d 574, 577 (S.D.N.Y.
2017). On the rare occasion that courts have ordered
production of grand jury materials, the plaintiff has
established a “particularized need” for such
materials. See, e.g., Id. at 578; Mateo v. City
of New York, No. 14-cv-9020 (LTS), 2016 WL 3545944, at
*1 (S.D.N.Y. June 17, 2016); Vazquez v. City of New
York, No. 10-cv-6277 (JMF), 2013 WL 2449181, at *1
(S.D.N.Y. June 6, 2013). To make this showing, a plaintiff
must demonstrate that (1) the information is needed to avoid
a possible injustice in another judicial proceeding, (2) the
need for disclosure outweighs the need for continued secrecy,
and (3) the request is narrowly tailored to cover only that
portion of the grand jury material needed. Baynes,
234 F.Supp.3d at 577 (quoting Douglas Oil Co. of Cal. v.
Petrol Stops Northwest, 441 U.S. 211, 222 (1979));
see also United States v. Carneglia, 675 F.
App'x 84, 85-86 (2d Cir. 2017) (summary order).
respect to the first prong, a plaintiff must put forth actual
facts giving rise to a “strong inference” that
misconduct occurred before the grand jury to support the
request; general requests for disclosure, without more, are
insufficient. Barone v. United States, No.
12-cv-4103 (LAK), 2015 WL 6736203, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 29,
2015). Further, when plaintiff can obtain information needed
for the prosecution of his case through document requests and
depositions, disclosure of grand jury information is
generally unwarranted. Baynes, 234 F.Supp.3d at 578.
Here, Plaintiff has not alleged that misconduct affected the
grand jury proceedings or presented other evidence to support
his request for grand jury minutes. Nor has he explained why
disclosure of grand jury minutes is necessary in light of the
availability of other avenues of discovery such as
depositions and other document discovery. In sum, Plaintiff
has failed to establish that production of the grand jury
minutes is needed to avoid a potential injustice.
respect to the second prong-that the need for disclosure
outweighs the need for continued secrecy-the Court must be
mindful of the strong public policy interests in maintaining
the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, including “to
encourage free and untrammeled disclosures by persons who
have information with respect to the commission of
crimes.” Douglas Oil Co., 441 U.S. at 219
n.10. The Court has “consistently . . . recognized that
the proper functioning of our grand jury system depends upon
the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.” Rehberg v.
Paulk, 566 U.S. 356, 374 (2012). In contrast to the
strong public interest in protecting grand jury minutes,
Plaintiff here has failed to explain why he needs the minutes
to prosecute this action. See Baynes, 234 F.Supp.3d
at 578-79. And, as set forth above, Plaintiff has alternate
means to obtain discovery into his claims, including deposing
the arresting officers. See Maldonado v. City of New
York, No. 11-cv-3514 (PKC) (HBP), 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
86546, at *8-11 (S.D.N.Y. June 21, 2012) (finding that
plaintiff failed to establish a particularized need for grand
jury materials when the arresting officers were available to
courts routinely reject overbroad requests for grand jury
minutes that have not been tailored for the particularized
need in the plaintiff's case. Ross v. City of New
York, No. 16-cv-0813 (NGG) (JO), 2017 WL 455410, at *2
(E.D.N.Y. Feb. 2, 2017) (citing Barone, 2015 WL
6736203, at *4); see also Baynes, 234 F.Supp.3d at
579 (denying request for disclosure of all witnesses'
testimony as overbroad). Here, Plaintiff has not tailored his
request, but rather seeks wholesale disclosure of all grand
jury minutes pertaining to his indictment. This further
supports the conclusion that disclosure is not warranted
under the circumstances of this case.
Plaintiff has not demonstrated a “particularized
need” for obtaining the grand jury minutes.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's request to compel the production
of this information is denied. The Clerk of Court is
respectfully directed to terminate the motion pending as Doc.