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Henry W. Segar, et al v. Eric H. Holder

September 26, 2011

HENRY W. SEGAR, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ERIC H. HOLDER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Table of Contents

I. Introduction.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

II. The Discovery Requests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

1. Post October 12, 2005 documents pertaining to discussions of promotions at meetings of the Career Board.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

(A) Plaintiffs' Demands.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

(B) The DEA's Objections.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

(C) The Deliberative Process Privilege .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

(D) Individual Claims. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

(E) The Discovery as to Individual Promotion Decisions is

Disproportionate to the Needs of this Case... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

2. Post November 15, 2005, documents concerning communications conducted outside of DEA Career Board meetings about DEA promotions to GS-13 or above... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

3. Post October 12, 2005, documents concerning the termination of the use of the SAC/Office head recommendations in the promotion process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

(A) Plaintiffs' Demands.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

(B) The DEA's Objections.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

(C) Relevance.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

(D) The Deliberative Process Privilege. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

(E) Attorney-Client Privilege.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

4. Documents concerning the Career Development Plan ("CDP"). . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

5. GS-13 documents.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

(A) Plaintiffs' Demands.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

(B) The DEA's Objections.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

(C) Duplication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

(D) Validation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

III. Conclusion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

I. Introduction

Before me is now Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Discovery Responses [#325].*fn1 To understand that motion, one has to begin with the motions before the Court that seek diametrically opposed relief. The presiding judge, Emmet G. Sullivan, has stayed the parties' two competing motions*fn2 until this discovery dispute is settled.

This most recent battle over discovery erupted when, in response to plaintiffs' motion to require the defendants*fn3 to comply with this Court's orders, DEA moved to end this case by having the Court vacate all of its earlier orders and conclude that the DEA has complied with all of them. See Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant[s'] Motion to Vacate [#316].

On September 20, 2010, plaintiffs asked for "discovery on the subjects covered in [DEA's] recent filings." Motion and Memorandum in Support for Discovery and to Stay Briefing Schedules Pending Completion of Discovery [#317] at 2. The plaintiffs pointed to the attachments to DEA's motion to vacate, i.e., (1) a portion of a deposition of plaintiffs' expert, Dr. Bernard Siskin; (2) a declaration of the Acting Administrator of the DEA, Michelle Leonhart, asserting that the promotion process for GS-14/15 agents is in compliance with this Court's orders; (3) an expert report by Dr. Kevin Murphy asserting that the promotion process for GS 14/15 agents did not have a disparate impact on plaintiff class members and (4) a declaration from Donna Rodriguez, Chief of the DEA Research and Analysis Staff, Human Resources Division, stating that certain documents were on the DEA intranet site. Id.

Plaintiffs sought discovery to "respond to, and to test the veracity of, these allegations." [#317] at 2. They then stated:

Among other topics, Plaintiffs require further information on the DEA's . . . proposed procedures and policies related to the GS-14/15 promotion process, and the methodology used by Defendants' new expert Dr. Kevin Murphy in his report on DEA's Special Agent Promotions to GS-14/15, which Defendants ...


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