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Buie v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, District of Columbia

September 12, 2019

JAQUIA BUIE, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Defendant District of Columbia's [73] Written Objections to Magistrate Judge Robin M. Meriweather's Memorandum Opinion and Orders Dated February 15, 2019 and February 22, 2019 (“District's Objs.”). The District of Columbia (“District”) argues that Magistrate Judge Meriweather's Orders as to two discovery disputes were clearly erroneous. Upon consideration of the pleadings and the record as a whole, this Court OVERRULES the District's Objections and AFFIRMS Magistrate Judge Meriweather's February 15, 2019 and February 22, 2019 Memorandum Opinions and Orders.

         I. BACKGROUND

         After Defendant Darrell L. Best pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting Plaintiff Jaquia Buie and was sentenced to eighteen years in prison, Buie brought this suit against both Best and the District of Columbia. See Buie v. District of Columbia, 273 F.Supp.3d 65, 66 (D.D.C. 2017). She alleges various claims, including constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and tort claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, negligent entrustment, negligent retention, and negligent infliction of emotional distress against the District. See Compl. ¶¶ 44- 126. In particular, Buie alleges that the District was negligent in its training, supervision, and discipline of officers, including Best, leading to an environment that facilitated Best's assault. See id. ¶¶ 76-102. For instance, Buie claims that the District “failed to terminate Best after he misused his position as sergeant and sexually coerced a female cadet for his own personal benefit in violation of [Metropolitan Police Department] regulations.” Id. ¶ 97. Her claims therefore concern the District's investigations and other actions taken in response to complaints about officer misconduct.

         The District objects to two of Magistrate Judge Meriweather's determinations. First, the District objects to Magistrate Judge Meriweather's February 15, 2019 Memorandum Opinion and Order concerning a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition. Buie previously served the District with a Notice of Deposition Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6).[1] Pl.'s Mot. to Compel Deposition at 2. One of the topics noticed was:

The investigative records and all other documents the District of Columbia produced in connection with investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct/harassment by sworn MPD members, including but not limited to, records from the Internal Affairs Bureau, Office of Professional Responsibility, Office of Citizen Complaint Review, and from Chain of Command Misconduct Investigations, located using the keyword “sex” in the PPMS system from 2006 to the present, EEO files from 1998 to the present, and investigatory records pertaining to the two (2) confirmed incidents involving Best's training classmates.

District's Objs. Ex. 2, at 3. Another topic covered any “disciplinary files” or “other documents having to do with the hiring, promotion, demotion, transfer, training, supervision, termination, or resignation” of Best. Id. Yet a third topic included the methodology and procedures used by the Metropolitan Police Department regarding the “promotion, demotion, transfer, training, supervision, or termination of its members.” Id.

         On December 12, 2018, counsel for Buie deposed one of the District's designated Rule 30(b)(6) witnesses, Sylvan Altieri.[2] Pl.'s Notice to the Court, ECF No. 66, Ex. 2 at 1. Altieri testified that he had prepared for his deposition by reviewing documents for approximately fifteen hours, including reviewing some of the paperwork provided to him to prepare. District's Objs. Ex. 1 (“Altieri Tr.”) at 13:19-16:12. Around this point in the deposition, counsel for Buie asked Altieri specific questions about what he had reviewed:

Q: Did you look at the Renit Jones [case]?
A: I believe I did, sir, yes.
Q: Did you look at the Janice Lee case?
A: I don't recall if I did or not, sir.
Q: Do you know what those cases pertain to?
A: I don't recall, sir.
Q: You don't recall what they ...

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