United States District Court, District of Columbia
M. MERIWEATHER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is Movant Capitol Police Board's
(“Movant” or “CPB”) Motion to Quash
and for a Protective Order (“Motion to Quash”)
[ECF No. 15], which seeks to quash two subpoenas served by
Plaintiff Chrisavgi Sourgoutsis (“Plaintiff” or
“Ms. Sourgoutsis”) on non-parties Fay Ropella,
Inspector General of the United States Capitol Police
(“USCP”), and the USCP Office of Inspector
General (“OIG”). United States District Judge
Ketanji Brown Jackson referred the Motion to Quash to the
undersigned Magistrate Judge for resolution. See
6/12/17 Minute Order. Having considered the parties'
submissions and attachments thereto,  the arguments presented at
the motions hearing held August 4, 2017 (“Motions
Hearing”), and after reviewing the CPB's in
camera submissions, the Court GRANTS Movant's Motion
to Quash and DENIES without prejudice Movant's Motion for
Sourgoutsis alleges that the USCP discriminated against her
on the basis of her gender and retaliated against her for
engaging in protected activity in violation of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et
seq. Ms. Sourgoutsis joined the USCP on May 11, 2014 and
became a probationary USCP Officer after she completed
training. See Compl. ¶¶ 9, 28, ECF No. 1.
Ms. Sourgoutsis's probationary period was scheduled to
end on November 15, 2015. Id. ¶ 28. During that
period, Ms. Sourgoutsis was disciplined for the following
alleged conduct: wearing socks that were not the mandated
uniform color; cursing; using a mobile phone indoors;
criticizing the role player in a role-playing exercise;
failing to wear an appropriate uniform shirt; and sitting
while on duty. See Id. ¶¶ 15-17, 21-24,
40-41. Near the end of her probationary period, the USCP
recommended that Ms. Sourgoutsis be terminated. See
Id. ¶¶ 80, 98. Ms. Sourgoutsis contends that
the discipline and her termination were based on her gender.
See Id. ¶¶ 109-12. She further alleges
that the USCP terminated her in retaliation for her
participation as a witness in an interview regarding
allegations that her supervisor had sexually harassed female
officers. See Id. ¶¶ 120-22.
13, 2016, Ms. Sourgoutsis filed a Complaint alleging gender
discrimination and retaliation by the USCP in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§
2000e et seq. See Compl. The USCP filed an answer to
Ms. Sourgoutsis's Complaint on September 6, 2016.
See Def.'s Answer, ECF No. 7. Discovery
current discovery dispute arises from two subpoenas that Ms.
Sourgoutsis served on Ms. Fay Ropella, Inspector General of
the USCP, and OIG. See Movant's Mot. to Quash at
2, ECF No. 15-1; Pl.'s Opp'n at 3, ECF No. 17. The
subpoenas seek production of certain documents and testimony
regarding the USCP's disciplinary policies and practices,
including a report reflecting OIG's evaluation of the
USCP disciplinary process. Movant's Mot. to Quash, Ex. 1,
ECF No. 15-2 (Subpoena to Fay Ropella) (hereinafter
“Ropella Subpoena”) and Ex. 2, ECF No. 15-3
(Subpoena to OIG, USCP) (hereinafter “OIG
Subpoena”). The CPB,  a non-party to this action, moved
to quash the Ropella and OIG Subpoenas, and alternatively
sought a protective order if the Court does not quash the
subpoenas. See Movant's Mot. to Quash, ECF No.
Minute Order dated July 31, 2017, the Court requested that
the CPB submit for in camera review a copy of the
OIG report at issue in the subpoenas. See 7/31/2017
Minute Order; see also Movant's Mot. to Quash,
Ex. 3, ECF No. 15-4 (hereinafter “Privilege Log”)
(Doc. Number 31). On August 4, 2017, the undersigned held a
Motions Hearing at which counsel for the Plaintiff and Movant
were present. See 8/4/2017 Minute Entry. The
undersigned heard argument and took the motion under
advisement. After the Motions Hearing, the Court issued three
Orders directing the CPB to submit additional documents for
in camera review and to further supplement the
record. See 8/15/2017 Minute Order; Order, ECF No.
24; 11/7/17 Minute Order. The CPB timely submitted the
MOTION TO QUASH
Rule of Civil Procedure 26 allows for “discovery
regarding any nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any
party's claim or defense and proportional to the needs of
the case.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(1). As part of this
discovery, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45 permits a party
to issue a subpoena to a non-party to command attendance at a
deposition or to produce or permit inspection of documents,
information, or tangible things. Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(a)(1). Rule
45 subpoenas may only be used to compel production of
information that is discoverable under Rule 26. See AF
Holdings, LLC v. Does 1-1058, 752 F.3d 990, 995 (D.C.
Cir. 2014). Therefore, upon timely motion, a court must quash
or modify a Rule 45 subpoena that “requires disclosure
of privileged or other protected matter[s], if no exception
or waiver applies; or subjects a person to undue
burden.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(d)(3); cf. In re Subpoena
to Goldberg, 693 F.Supp.2d 81, 83 (D.D.C. 2010) (noting
resolution of motion to quash governed by Rules 26 and 45 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). That standard
“applies to both document and testimonial
subpoenas.” Watts v. SEC, 482 F.3d 501, 508-09
(D.C. Cir. 2007) (citation omitted).
party moving for relief bears the burden of showing that the
subpoena should be quashed or modified. See Call of the
Wild Movie, LLC v. Does 1-1, 062, 770 F.Supp.2d 332, 354
(D.D.C. 2011); see also Northrop Corp. v. McDonnell
Douglas Corp., 751 F.2d 395, 403 (D.C. Cir. 1984).
“The quashing of a subpoena is an extraordinary
measure, and is usually inappropriate absent extraordinary
circumstances.” Flanagan v. Wyndham Int'l
Inc., 231 F.R.D. 98, 102 (D.D.C. 2005) (citations
omitted). Accordingly, a “movant's burden is
greater for a motion to quash than if [the movant] were
seeking more limited protection.” Id. (citing
Westinghouse Elec. Corp. v. City of Burlington, Vt.,
351 F.2d 762, 766 (D.C. Cir. 1965)); see also
U.S. Dep't of the Treasury v. Pension Benefit Guar.
Corp., 301 F.R.D. 20, 25 (D.D.C. 2014).
MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER
Rule of Civil Procedure 26 provides that “for good
cause” a court may issue a protective order “to
protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment,
oppression, or undue burden or expense.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
26(c)(1). The party requesting the protective order bears the
burden of showing good cause “by demonstrating specific
evidence of the harm that would result.” Jennings
v. Family Mgmt., 201 F.R.D. 272, 275 (D.D.C. 2001);
Alexander v. FBI, 186 F.R.D. 71, 75 (D.D.C. 1998);
see also Washington v. Thurgood Marshall Acad., 230
F.R.D. 18, 21 (D.D.C), on reconsideration, 232
F.R.D. 6 (D.D.C. 2005) (reconsidering a separate
proposition). Protective orders may “deny discovery
completely, limit the conditions, time, place, or topics of
discovery, or limit the manner in which the confidential
information is to be revealed.” Univ. of Mass. v.
Roslin Inst., 437 F.Supp.2d 57, 60 (D.D.C. 2006).
I.MOTION TO QUASH
moves to quash two subpoenas: one issued to Fay Ropella,
current Inspector General of the USCP; and one issued to OIG.
The subpoenas request both testimony and the production of
documents, and overlap substantially. Both subpoenas seek
production of the following documents:
• Any documents regarding U.S. Capitol Police's
(USCP) disciplinary policies and practices, including but not
limited to: any investigation or report by the Office of
Inspector General (OIG) regarding USCP's disciplinary
process, including but not limited to whether USCP
consistently applied its disciplinary policies and practices.
• Any documents regarding recommendations the OIG made
to Chief Matthew Verderosa or USCP or any USCP officials
within the past five years related to USCP's disciplinary
policies, practices, or processes.
• Any documents showing summaries, reports, or
compilations regarding the volume and nature of disciplinary
actions that the USCP took within the past five years.
Subpoena at Attach. A (Items #1-3) (footnote omitted); OIG
Subpoena at Attach. A (Items #4-6).
subpoena to OIG, Ms. Sourgoutsis also requests that OIG
designate one or more officers, directors, managing agents,
or other persons to testify about:
• USCP's disciplinary policies and practices,
including but not limited to: any investigation or report by
the Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding USCP's
disciplinary process, including but not limited to whether
USCP consistently applied its disciplinary policies and
• Recommendations the OIG made to Chief Matthew
Verderosa or USCP or any USCP officials within the past five
years related to USCP's disciplinary policies, practices,
• The manner in which the OIG maintains summaries,
reports, or compilations regarding the volume and nature of
disciplinary actions that USCP took within the past five
Subpoena at Attach. A (Items #1-3) (footnote omitted). Ms.
Sourgoutsis's subpoena to Ms. Ropella also seeks
testimony, but does not identify the topics to be addressed.
See Ropella Subpoena at Attach. A. The CPB moves to
quash both subpoenas. See Movant's Mot. to
Quash, ECF No. 15.
The Subpoenas for Production of Documents by OIG and Ms.
USCP's Disciplinary Policies and Practices
Ropella and OIG Subpoenas both seek documents
“regarding USCP's disciplinary policies and
practices, including but not limited to: any investigation or
report by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding
USCP's disciplinary process . . . .” Ropella
Subpoena at Attach. A (Item #1); see also OIG
Subpoena at Attach. A (Item #4). Although the parties'
arguments primarily focus on the discoverability of a report
reflecting an OIG review of the USCP disciplinary process
(hereinafter “OIG Report”), the scope of the
subpoenas is broader and also would encompass the documents
used to prepare the OIG Report and any records documenting
the USCP's disciplinary policies.