United States District Court, District of Columbia
M. MERIWEATHER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court is Plaintiff Jodi Breiterman's Motion to
Compel [ECF No. 27], which seeks to compel the United States
Capitol Police (“Defendant” or
“USCP”) to produce records responsive to
Plaintiff's Request for Production 23, respond to
Interrogatories 12 and 14,  and provide a witness to testify
on Topic 15 of her Rule 30(b)(6) deposition notice. The
District Judge previously presiding over this case referred all
pending and future discovery disputes to the undersigned
Magistrate Judge. See 6/9/17 Minute Order. Having
considered the parties' submissions and attachments
thereto, and the arguments presented orally at the August 15,
2017, Motions Hearing, the Court GRANTS-IN-PART and
DENIES-IN-PART Plaintiff's Motion to Compel.
Breiterman began working at the USCP in January 2002.
See Second Am. Compl. ¶ 11, ECF No. 17. Prior
to the events at issue in this action, Ms. Breiterman worked
as a Project/Management Analyst for the USCP. See
Id. ¶ 14. Ms. Breiterman assumed a new position as
an Administrative Sergeant in or after 2014. See Id.
¶ 27. The claims at issue in this case arise from two
incidents in 2014 and 2015. See Id. ¶¶
2014, Ms. Breiterman told her supervisor that she felt that
female officers “had to sleep with someone to get
promoted within the USCP.” See Id. ¶ 29.
A married female officer complained about Ms.
Breiterman's statement, and Ms. Breiterman received a
two-day suspension for making an improper comment. See
Id. ¶¶ 31-33. Although Ms. Breiterman appealed
her suspension, see Id. ¶ 34, she later learned
that the USCP would impose the two-day suspension, without
pay. Id. ¶ 108.
January 2015, a handgun was found in a public bathroom at the
Capitol Visitor's Center by a congressional staffer.
See Id. ¶ 36. Upon reporting to the scene, Ms.
Breiterman and other officers took photos of the handgun.
See Id. ¶¶ 37-39. The USCP later confirmed
that the handgun was a USCP service weapon. Id.
¶ 41. Ms. Breiterman later shared her photo of the
handgun with a reporter. Id. ¶¶ 46, 53-57.
The photo was subsequently published with an article about
the incident. See Id. ¶ 58. Ms. Breiterman was
not named in the article. Id. ¶ 60. In June
2015, Ms. Breiterman was suspended indefinitely during an
investigation into the sharing of the photo. See Id.
¶¶ 69-76. Approximately nine months later, Ms.
Breiterman received and appealed a recommendation to demote
her from Sergeant to Private First Class as a result of the
USCP's investigation. Second Am. Compl. ¶¶
112-13, 119. In May 2016, the USCP denied the appeal and
demoted Ms. Breiterman. Id. ¶ 120.
Breiterman filed a Complaint against the USCP, on October 20,
2016, alleging gender discrimination and retaliation in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000e-2000e-1, and violations of her right to
freedom of speech under the First Amendment. Compl., ECF No.
1. On January 9, 2017, Ms. Breiterman filed a Second Amended
Complaint [ECF No. 17] alleging the same. See Second
Am. Compl. at 1. Ms. Breiterman claims that male employees
commit similar infractions to hers, yet do not receive
disciplinary action. See Id. ¶¶ 114-18.
Ms. Breiterman further alleges that when she tried to address
the issue of gender discrimination, she was suspended for her
comments. See Id. ¶ 138. Finally, Ms.
Breiterman claims that she had a right to share the photo of
the handgun because of her concern for public safety, and
that the punishment she received violated her right to free
speech. See Id. ¶¶ 146-47. The USCP filed
an Answer [ECF No. 20] to Ms. Breiterman's Second Amended
Complaint on February 3, 2017.
28, 2017, Ms. Breiterman filed a Motion to Compel seeking to
compel answers to two interrogatories and a request for
production, and to compel the USCP to produce a witness to
testify on one Rule 30(b)(6) deposition topic. See
generally Pl.'s Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 27. Ms.
Breiterman contends that the requested discovery is relevant
to her Title VII gender discrimination and retaliation
claims. See Id. On July 17, 2017, the USCP filed an
Opposition asserting that Ms. Breiterman's requested
discovery was overly broad and unduly burdensome. See
generally Def.'s Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. to
Compel (“Def.'s Opp'n”), ECF No. 30. Ms.
Breiterman filed her Reply on July 26, 2017, reasserting the
relevance of her discovery requests, noting that she had
narrowed her requests, and contending that the requests were
not unduly burdensome. See generally Pl.'s Reply
in Support of Mot. to Compel (“Pl.'s Reply”),
ECF No. 33. On August 15, 2017, the undersigned held a
Motions Hearing, heard argument regarding the Motion to
Compel, and took the Motion under advisement. See
8/15/2017 Minute Entry.
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). Under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 37, a party seeking discovery through an
interrogatory under Rule 33, the production of documents
under Rule 34, or a deposition under Rule 30, and who
believes that the opposing party has failed to meet its
obligations under the relevant Rules, may - after conferring
in good faith with the opposing party - seek to compel a
response. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(a)(1),
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure encourage the exchange of
information through broad discovery.” In re
England, 375 F.3d 1169, 1177 (D.C. Cir. 2004); see
also Pederson v. Preston, 250 F.R.D. 61, 63-64 (D.D.C.
2008). A party may serve written interrogatories or requests
for production provided such requests fall within the scope
of Rule 26(b). Fed.R.Civ.P. 33(a)(2) (“An interrogatory
may relate to any matter that may be inquired into under Rule
26(b)”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 34(a) (“A party may serve
on any other party a request within the scope of Rule
26(b)”). Likewise, testimony responsive to deposition
topics that fall within the scope of Rule 26(b) may be
compelled. See Cobell v. Norton, 213 F.R.D. 16, 23
(D.D.C. 2003) (quoting 8A Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R.
Miller & Richard L. Marcus, Federal Practice and
Procedure § 2286 (2d ed. 1994)) (“A motion to
compel a witness to answer questions put at a deposition
should be granted if the questions are relevant and proper
and denied if the questions call for privileged
information.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).
parties' discovery dispute primarily concerns the
relevance of the information requested in Interrogatories 12
and 14, Request for Production 23, and 30(b)(6) Deposition
Topic 15, and the breadth of those discovery requests. The
Court will consider Interrogatory 12, Request for Production
23, and Deposition Topic 15 together as they seek
substantially similar information and testimony, and will
then evaluate the dispute regarding Interrogatory 14.
INTERROGATORY 12, REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION 23, AND DEPOSITION
Interrogatory 12 and ...