United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
STEWART D. AARON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Jasmine Bridgeforth, Delano Broadus and David Fairfax
(“Plaintiffs”), move to compel production of nine
Internal Affairs Bureau (“IAB”) files and to
re-open discovery so that they may take a deposition of
Defendant City of New York (the “City”), pursuant
to Rule 30(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
regarding certain topics related to those files. For the
following reasons, Plaintiffs' Letter-Motion is granted
in part and denied in part.
bring this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983,
1988, and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United
States Constitution, alleging false arrest, fabrication of
evidence and failure to intervene against a group of
individual members of the New York City Police Department
(“NYPD”). See Am. Compl., filed Apr. 29,
2016 (ECF No. 18), ¶¶ 1, 59-81. Plaintiffs also
bring a claim against the City under Monell v. Dep't
of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978), alleging, among
other things, that it failed to properly train and supervise
its employees. Id. at ¶¶ 76-81;
Monell, 436 U.S. at 690-91 (to hold a municipality
liable as a “person” under § 1983,
plaintiffs must show that a policy or practice of that entity
caused the deprivation of their federal rights); see also
Brown v. City of Oneonta, New York, 235 F.3d 769, 790
(2d Cir. 2000) (Section 1983 claims against municipal
entities, must show that the entity's “policy or
custom ... played a part in the violation of federal
law”) (internal quotations omitted).
discovery, in pursuit of their Monell claim,
Plaintiffs sought production of IAB and other disciplinary
files from Defendants. Specifically, in March 2017,
Plaintiffs requested nine IAB files regarding two of the
individual defendants. Defs.' Resp. to Pls.' Letter
Mot. Ex. A, filed Dec. 19, 2017 (ECF No. 74). On June 22,
2017, Plaintiffs were permitted to inspect the “summary
reports” associated with these files at the Office of
Corporation Counsel. Defs.' Resp. to Pls.' Letter
Mot., filed Dec. 19, 2017 (ECF No. 74), at 2. Plaintiffs
determined that the summary reports were insufficient because
they were abbreviated and “communicated almost nothing
about the nature or disposition of underlying matters.”
Pls.' Letter Mot. to Compel, filed June 30, 2017 (ECF No.
57), at 4. On June 30, 2017, Plaintiffs moved to compel the
production of the files “in toto.”
Id. Following two discovery conferences before
District Judge Pauley, Defendants were ordered on October 20,
2017 to produce the individual Defendants' disciplinary
files. Order (ECF No. 65). On December 1, 2017, Defendants
produced what amounted to 27 pages of documents. Defs.'
Resp. to Pls.' Letter Mot., filed Dec. 19, 2017 (ECF No.
74), at 2.
filed the current Letter-Motion on December 14, 2017.
Plaintiffs seek compliance with the Court's October 20,
2017 Order and also seek a deposition of the City, pursuant
to Rule 30(b)(6), regarding the acronyms and abbreviations
contained in the files, departmental complaint-recording
practices and departmental investigative and record-retention
practices. Pls.' Letter Mot., filed December 14, 2017
(ECF No. 70), at 1, 3. The Letter- Motion was referred to
Magistrate Judge Aaron on December 15, 2017, and oral
argument was held on December 21, 2017. On December 22, 2017,
Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, and
accompanying papers. Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. (ECF Nos.
76-83). Plaintiffs' response to Defendants' motion is
due by January 31, 2018. Order (ECF No. 71).
are skeptical that the 27 pages produced by Defendants
represent the entirety of the nine IAB files and contend that
more documents must exist based on the information contained
in the summary reports. Plaintiffs argue that such discovery
is relevant to their Monell claim. In response,
Defendants maintain that no additional documents exist.
Defs.' Resp. to Pls.' Letter Mot., filed Dec. 19,
2017 (ECF No. 74), at 2 (“upon information and belief,
there are no additional records to be
produced”) (emphasis in the original). Yet, during oral
argument, Defendants' counsel stated that a “second
request” had been made for one of the files and
Defendants will produce further documents, if they are
circumstances presented, it seems plausible that additional
documents comprising the IAB files exist or at one time
existed. Thus, this Court hereby orders that Defendants shall
conduct a diligent search for the nine IAB files at
issue-including without limitation by consulting with
knowledgeable individuals in the NYPD and any other relevant
City agencies, and by searching all sources where such
documents likely would be located-and produce all documents
located as a result of such search. Given the impending
deadline for Plaintiffs to respond to Defendants' summary
judgment motion, such production shall be made no later than
January 15, 2018.
also seek by their motion to take a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition
of the City with respect to the acronyms and abbreviations
contained in the files, departmental complaint-recording
practices, and departmental investigative and
record-retention practices. Defendants argue that such
discovery is “irrelevant, disproportional to the needs
of this case, and untimely.” Defs.' Resp. to
Pls.' Letter Mot., filed Dec. 19, 2017 (ECF No. 74), at
3. As an alternative, Defendants offered to furnish an
affidavit concerning the efforts to locate the IAB files.
Id. During oral argument, Defendants also agreed to
consider producing a glossary of terms used in the IAB
reports to aid Plaintiffs in their review of those documents.
as here, a party is seeking to re-open discovery, the party
bears the burden of showing good cause. See Bakalar v.
Vavra, 851 F.Supp.2d 489, 493 (S.D.N.Y. 2011). Courts
also consider (1) whether trial is imminent, (2) whether the
request is opposed, (3) whether the non-moving party would be
prejudiced, (4) whether the moving party was diligent in
obtaining discovery within the guidelines established by the
court, (5) the foreseeability of the need for additional
discovery in light of the time allowed for discovery by the
district court, and (6) the likelihood that the discovery
will lead to relevant evidence. Id. at 493.
the pendency of Defendants' summary judgment motion, the
Court finds the sixth factor to be the most significant.
Under these circumstances, the Court will consider whether
the requested deposition will lead to discovery of evidence
relevant to the summary judgment motion. If the requested
Rule 30(b)(6) deposition is not relevant to Defendants'
summary judgment motion, and ...