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Greene v. Shegan

United States District Court, District of Columbia

January 22, 2013

Abdul GREENE, Plaintiff,
v.
Jody SHEGAN, Defendant.

Page 147

Gregory L. Lattimer, Law Offices of Gregory L. Lattimer, PLLC, Washington, DC, for Plaintiff.

Kerslyn D. Featherstone, Office of Attorney General, Washington, DC, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

RICHARD W. ROBERTS, District Judge.

Plaintiff Abdul Greene brings various claims of misconduct against Metropolitan Police Department Officer Jody Shegan. Shegan objects to Magistrate Judge Alan Kay's memorandum order granting Greene's motion to compel discovery from the District of Columbia. Shegan also moves for a stay of Magistrate Judge Kay's memorandum order pending resolution of Shegan's objections to the memorandum order, or in the alternative, for a protective order. In addition, Greene moves to have the docket reflect that the District of Columbia is a defendant in this matter. Because the magistrate judge's decision was not clearly erroneous or contrary to law, Shegan's objections will be overruled. Since Shegan fails to demonstrate good cause for a protective order, his motion will be denied. Because the District of Columbia is a defendant, Greene's motion will be granted.

BACKGROUND

Greene filed a complaint against Shegan in both Shegan's individual and official capacities in the D.C. Superior Court. Compl. ΒΆ 4. Greene's complaint did not name the District of Columbia as a defendant. However, Greene served Mayor Vincent Gray and District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin Nathan with a copy of the summons and complaint. Pl.'s Reply to Def.'s Opp'n to Mot. to Compel D.C. to Respond to Pl.'s Disc. Reqs., Ex. 1. Shegan removed the case to this court.

Page 148

Greene served discovery requests on the District of Columbia. Pl.'s Mot. to Compel D.C. to Respond to Pl.'s Disc. Reqs., Ex. 1. The District of Columbia refused to respond to the requests arguing that it is not a party in this matter. Id., Ex. 2. Greene filed a motion to compel the District of Columbia to respond to his discovery requests. In his memorandum order, Magistrate Judge Kay found that the District of Columbia had notice of the action, having been timely served with a copy of the summons and complaint. He also held that since Shegan was sued in his official capacity, the District of Columbia is a defendant in this matter, citing Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 105 S.Ct. 3099, 87 L.Ed.2d 114 (1985), and Atchinson v. District of Columbia, 73 F.3d 418 (D.C.Cir.1996). Mem. Order, Sept. 21, 2012 at 3-4.

Shegan now objects to the magistrate judge's ruling on the motion to compel for three reasons. First, Shegan argues that service of the complaint and summons on the District of Columbia alone did not give the District of Columbia notice of Greene's suit.[1] Shegan's Obj'ns to and Mot. for Review of Magistrate Judge Alan Kay's Sept. 21, 2012 Order at 6-7. Second, Shegan argues that Magistrate Judge Kay erred in applying Graham to this case because Graham is meant to apply only to suits against officials who hold positions at a level high enough that the official may be considered the alter ego of the State. Id. at 8-10. Third, Shegan urges that the District of Columbia did not have an opportunity to respond to Greene's complaint since Greene did not name the District of Columbia as a defendant and, as an unnamed party, the District of Columbia could not make filings through the electronic case filing system. Id. at 7. Greene counters that the District of Columbia had notice of the suit because it was served with a copy of the summons and the complaint that named Shegan in his official capacity. Pl.'s Mem. of P. & A. in Opp'n to the Obj'ns of Jody Shegan to the Magistrate's Order Granting Pl.'s Mot. to Compel at 2. Greene further argues that the District of Columbia had an opportunity to respond to his complaint by filing a responsive pleading in person at the Clerk's Office. Id. at 2-3. Greene urges that Shegan misinterpreted Graham and that a suit against Shegan in his official capacity is a suit against the District of Columbia. Id. at 3-4.

Shegan also moves for a stay of Magistrate Judge Kay's memorandum order pending resolution of Shegan's objections to the memorandum order, or in the alternative, for a protective order. Greene opposes.

Greene meanwhile moves to have the docket reflect that the District of Columbia is a defendant in this matter. Shegan argues that the motion should be denied because the District of Columbia is not a defendant. See Def.'s Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. to Have the Docket Reflect that the D.C. is a Def. at 2.

DISCUSSION

I. OBJECTIONS, AND LISTING THE DISTRICT ...


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