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LIGHTFOOT v. ROSSKOPF

United States District Court for the District of Columbia


June 10, 2005.

JAMES LIGHTFOOT, Plaintiff,
v.
HENRY ROSSKOPF, Defendant.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN FACCIOLA, Magistrate Judge

ORDER

In accordance with the accompanying Memorandum Opinion, the following is, hereby, ORDERED:

1. Plaintiff shall, within ten days of the date of this Order, provide to defendant the following documents:

 

a. March 12, 2003 Lightfoot Application to Boxley, with attachments.
b. March 20, 2003 letter/document to Lightfoot from Graves.
c. April 3, 2003 letter from Graves to Lightfoot.
d. April 16, 2003 letter from Graves to Lightfoot.
e. April 30, 2003 letter from Graves to Lightfoot.
f. May 4, 2003 letter from Lightfoot to Graves.
g. Undated letter from Blackwell to Lightfoot notifying him that his separation was effective May 7, 2003.
h. April 7, 2004 letter from District of Columbia to attorney Clair. i. February 20, 2004 letter from Valerie Jones to Mr. Clair.
j. May 3, 2004 letter from Kenneth Saunders, Director of Office of Human Rights to attorney Clair.
k. May 11, 2004 letter from Kenneth Saunders to attorney Clair.
  Also within ten days of the date of this Order, plaintiff will provide the court with a privilege log as to the following remaining documents:

 

a. May 16, 2003 certified mail grievance from Lightfoot to Superintendent of Public Schools for the District of Columbia.
b. February 20, 2004 letter from Jones to Lightfoot or his representatives.
c. April 28, 2004 affidavit executed by Mr. Lightfoot in the Office of Human Rights.
d. May (sic, should be March) 15, 2003 letter from attorney Claire to Superintendent of Public School.
e. April 16, 2003 letter from attorney Clair to Annette Adams.
f. May 5, 2003 letter from attorney Clair to Thomas Gay.
g. April 25, 2003 letter from attorney Clair to Loretta Blackwell.
h. May 11, 2004 letter from attorney Clair to Hyton Demus.
i. June 23, 2004 status report from attorney Clair to Office of Human Rights.
j. August 2, 2004 letter from attorney Clair to Bobby James Hoet.
  Within ten days of defendant's receipt of the privilege log, defendant will supplement his original motion to compel, as explained in the accompanying Memorandum Opinion.

  Finally, within ten days of the date of this Order, defendant will comply with the disclosure requirement of Local Civil Rule 7.1 or file a praecipe indicating that this rule does not apply.

  It is also, hereby,

  ORDERED that defendant's Motion to Compel Discovery [#23] is GRANTED in part and STAYED in part.

  SO ORDERED. MEMORANDUM OPINION

  This case was referred to me for all purposes including trial. Currently pending and ready for resolution is defendant's Motion to Compel Discovery. For the reasons stated below, defendant's motion will be granted in part and stayed in part.

  INTRODUCTION

  This case arises out of an automobile accident that occurred on October 31, 2003. James Lightfoot ("plaintiff") claims that at the time the accident occurred, he was traveling northbound on New York Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C. Plaintiff further claims that when he slowed to turn right into the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant, Henry Rosskopf ("defendant"), who was traveling northbound directly behind plaintiff, negligently ran into the back of plaintiff's car.

  As a result of this accident, plaintiff filed two lawsuits. The first lawsuit, Civil Action 04-1059, the current action, was filed against the other driver of the car. The second lawsuit, Civil Action 04-1280, was filed against the District of Columbia, plaintiff's former employer. In the motion currently before the court, defendant seeks to compel the production of discovery that was taken in the second lawsuit.

  DISCUSSION

  I. Document Requests

  Defendant seeks two categories of information: 1) documents identified in the employment complaint or second lawsuit, and 2) documents identified during the course of plaintiff's deposition in the current action. The following two charts illustrate the exact documents sought as well as the parties responses and the court's ruling, where one is made.

  A. Documents Identified in the Employment Complaint

Description of Plaintiff's Response Court's Ruling Document
1. March 12, 2003 Plaintiff notes his objections Plaintiff will provide. Lightfoot Application but agrees to provide. to Boxley, with attachments.
2. March 20, 2003 Plaintiff notes his objections Plaintiff will provide. letter/document to but agrees to provide. Lightfoot from Graves.
3. April 3, 2003 letter Plaintiff notes his objections Plaintiff will provide. from Graves to but agrees to provide. Lightfoot.
4. April 16, 2003 letter Plaintiff notes his objections Plaintiff will provide. from Graves to but agrees to provide April Lightfoot. 15, 2003 letter, indicating that there was no letter dated April 16, 2003.
5. April 30, 2003 letter Plaintiff notes his objections Plaintiff will provide. from Graves to but agrees to provide. Lightfoot.
6. May 4, 2003 letter Plaintiff notes his objections Plaintiff will provide. from Lightfoot to but agrees to provide. Graves. 7. Undated letter from Plaintiff notes his objections Plaintiff will provide again. Blackwell to Lightfoot but agrees to provide. notifying him that his Plaintiff also indicates that he separation was has already provided effective May 7, 2003. defendant with this document but will provide it again.
8. May 16, 2003 certified No response given by None at the moment. mail grievance from plaintiff. Lightfoot to Superintendent of Public Schools for the District of Columbia.
9. February 20, 2004 No response given by None at the moment. letter from Jones to plaintiff. Lightfoot or his representatives.
 
10. April 28, 2004 No response given by None at the moment. affidavit executed by plaintiff. Mr. Lightfoot in the Office of Human Rights
As indicated above, as to those documents plaintiff that has agreed to provide, the court will order plaintiff to do so. As to those document requests that plaintiff has not responded to, plaintiff will be ordered to show cause why they too should not be provided to defendant.

  B. Documents Identified During the Course of Plaintiff's Deposition in the Current Action

Description of Plaintiff's Response Court's Ruling Document
 
1. May (sic, should be Protected by work product Document must be submitted March) 15, 2003 letter privilege. for an in camera review. from attorney Claire to Superintendent of Public School. 2. April 16, 2003 letter Protected by work product Document must be submitted from attorney Clair to privilege. for an in camera review. Annette Adams.
3. May 5, 2003 letter Protected by work product Document must be submitted from attorney Clair to privilege. for an in camera review. Thomas Gay.
4. April 25, 2003 letter Protected by work product Document must be submitted from attorney Clair to privilege. for an in camera review. Loretta Blackwell.
5. May 11, 2004 letter This is a public document yet Document must be submitted from attorney Clair to cannot be obtained through for an in camera review. Hyton Demus. opposing counsel because it is protected by work product privilege.
6. June 23, 2004 status This is a public document yet Document must be submitted report from attorney cannot be obtained through for an in camera review. Clair to Office of opposing counsel because it Human Rights. is protected by work product privilege.
7. August 2, 2004 letter This document is not Document must be submitted from attorney Clair to discoverable as it is a for an in camera review. Bobby James Hoet. communication relating to confidential settlement negotiations.
8. April 7, 2004 letter Plaintiff notes his objections Plaintiff will provide. from District of but agrees to provide. Columbia to attorney Clair.
9. February 20, 2004 Plaintiff notes his objections Plaintiff will provide. letter from Valerie but agrees to provide. Jones to Mr. Clair.
 
10. May 3, 2004 letter Plaintiff notes his objections Plaintiff will provide. from Kenneth but agrees to provide. Saunders, Director of Office of Human Rights to attorney Clair. 11. May 11, 2004 letter Plaintiff notes his objections Plaintiff will provide. from Kenneth but agrees to provide. Saunders to attorney Clair.
As indicated above, as to those documents that plaintiff has agreed to provide, the court will order plaintiff to do so. Needless to say, as to those documents plaintiff refuses to provide, plaintiff fails to provide the court or his opponent with a discovery log upon which the disputed documents may be assessed. In any event, this court has often concluded that discovery logs, even detailed ones, are ultimately inadequate, necessitating the submission of the disputed documents for an in camera review. Therefore, plaintiff will be ordered to submit those documents for such a review. Plaintiff will also be ordered to submit to the court a privilege log that contains the following information: 1) a description of the document, 2) the document's author, 3) the document's intended recipient, 4) the date of the document, and 5) the specific privilege or privileges claimed.

  Following defendant's receipt of the privilege log, defendant will supplement its original motion to compel with additional argument as to the following: 1) whether the information is relevant, 2) whether plaintiff can make a showing of substantial need for the information.

  C. Disclosure Requirements

  In addition to arguing that defendant has failed to provide proper authority and make the requisite showing of need in support of his motion to compel, plaintiff also argues that defendant has failed to provide a certificate of disclosure of corporate affiliations and financial interests, as mandated by Local Civil Rule 7.1. Although is appears that defendant is being sued in his individual capacity, defendant will be required to either comply with the disclosure requirement or file a praecipe stating that the rule does not apply.

  An Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.

20050610

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