Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Milner v. Safeway Stores

January 13, 2006

DOROTHY MILNER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SAFEWAY STORES, INC., SECURITY PROTECTIVE SERVICES, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John M. Facciola United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This case was referred to me for all purposes including trial. Currently pending and ready for resolution is Plaintiff's, Dorothy Millner [sic], Motion to Compel Discovery of Defendant, Securpros ("Plains. Mot."). For the reasons stated below, plaintiff's motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

On November 3, 2003, plaintiff, Dorothy Milner, went to the Safeway grocery store located at 322 40th Street, NW to buy groceries. Plaintiff claims that, when she entered the store, she had a bag with her that contained previously purchased groceries. Plaintiff asked one of the store employees what to do with the groceries and was told to leave them with the security guard. After she had finished her shopping, plaintiff went to get her bag but couldn't find the guard with whom she had left her bag. Plaintiff then claims that she was approached by a person in plain clothes who touched her in an offensive manner, said in a loud voice that he was the store police, and told her to come with him. Plaintiff accompanied this individual to the courtesy counter, where her belongings had been dumped on the counter. After plaintiff was able to prove that the items were hers, she was released. Plaintiff is suing defendants, Safeway Stores, Inc., ("Safeway") and Protective Services, Inc., ("SecurPros") for 1) assault and battery, 2) false arrest, 3) negligence, and 4) negligent hiring, training, and supervision.

LEGAL STANDARD

Under Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, "[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any matter, not privileged, that is relevant to the claim or defense of any party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of any discoverable matter." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Relevance in this context is broadly construed. Doe v. District of Columbia, No. 03-CV-1789, 2005 WL 1787683, at *2 (D.D.C. July 5, 2005) (citations omitted).

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff's motion to compel seeks the discovery of additional answers to interrogatories and the discovery of additional documents. Each will be considered in the order presented in plaintiff's motion.

Interrogatories

I. Interrogatory Number 2 asked:

Identify all employees, supervisors, agents, officials, security guards on duty at the date, time and place of the events complained of by Plaintiff. Give the name, address and telephone number of each person, and state the role each person identified played in the events complained of by Plaintiff describing all actions taken, words spoken, and describe each place within the store where these events occurred.

Plains. Mot. at 2.

Plaintiff's Instructions to the Interrogatories also provided:

Where the name or identity of a person or business entity corporation, governmental body is requested, please state the full name of that person, his address, telephone number and business address, if known.

Id. at 2-3.

Plaintiff complains that defendant's answer is incomplete because it does not provide her with "any identifying information which would have enabled Plaintiff's Investigator or Agents to contact the participants independently of Defendant's counsel." Plains. Mot. at 2. SecurPros identified by name its two employees but did not provide plaintiff with their addresses or phone numbers. Instead, it initially indicated that they could be contacted "through the defendant." In its response to plaintiff's motion, however, SecurPros describes these employees as "former employees" and indicates that it believes that it has already provided plaintiff's counsel with their last known addresses. Response to Motion to Compel ("Response") at 1. I would appreciate SecurPros' counsel making sure that it has made the addresses available to plaintiff's counsel and also sending her whatever phone numbers he may have.

II. Interrogatory Number 3 asked:

State whether SecurPros Inc., it's [sic] employees or agents have been sued in the past 10 years for negligence, negligent supervision, training and hiring, assault and battery, false arrest by a member of the public. If your answer is yes, state the Case number, Title, Court where the action was brought, and the final disposition of each claim.

Plains. Mot. at 3.

Defendant objected on the grounds that the information sought was irrelevant and beyond the scope of allowable discovery. Id. at 3-4. Defendant also objected to the 10 year time-frame sought by plaintiff. Response at 1.

The information plaintiff seeks is not irrelevant. Rather, as I have noted on numerous occasions, while evidence of prior bad acts "is never admissible simply to establish a propensity to engage in similar acts . . . [p]rovided its relevance outweighs its tendency to prejudice the opponent of the evidence unfairly," evidence of prior bad acts similar to those charged "have been admitted to show for example, motive or intent." Morgan v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., 197 F.R.D. 12, 16 (D.D.C. 2000) (citations omitted). Thus, in the case at bar, defendant must provide information as to those instance in which it was sued for 1) assault and battery, 2) false arrest, 3) negligence, and 4) negligent hiring, training, and supervision.

As for the ten year time frame sought by plaintiff, the court will limit the relevant period to a six year span before the event in question. See Mitchell v. Nat'l R.R. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.