Young v. The City of New York et al, No. 1:2010cv01701 - Document 13 (S.D.N.Y. 2010)

Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER. Accordingly, subject to the above caveat, the Court concludes that the complete CCRB and IAB files relating to complaints or allegations against Defendants, similar to those raised in this action, shall be produced to Plaintiffs. So Ordered. (Signed by Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz on 10/7/10) (rjm)
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-tl";;; Young v. The City of New York et al \ UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK ! i ::. 'If l ,"" '" Doc. 13 ,,: t b r'<i €1J..1ID: ----x SHAWN YOUNG, == Plaintiff, a 10 Civ. 1701 (RMB) (THK) againstMEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER CITY OF NEW YORK, et al., Defendants. -- ----- - ------x THEODORE H. KATZ, United States Magistrate Judge. Plaintiff Shawn Young brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming, among other things, that he was subjected to false arrest, has use of excessive force, named as defendants three and an illegal strip search. individual New York y He police officers, as well as the City of New York. In August of this year the part s submitted a discovery dispute to the Court regarding Plaintiff's document request for all Civilian Complaint Review Board ("CCRB") and Internal Affairs Board (" lAB") les relating to allegations of misconduct against the individual request, Defendants. but, Ini tially, Defendants subj ect to certain 1 imi tations, obj ected offered a further compromise, the agreed to produce records of substantiated allegations of misconduct of a nature to the allegations in this action. to Ultimately, similar Defendants and agreed to produce the closing summaries of any CCRB or lAB investigations relating to allegations similar to the substantiated. concerns, the ones at Believing Court issue in this that this of concluded that action, whether addressed such a or not Plaintiff's production would be adequate. See Memorandum Endorsed Order, dated August 11, 2010. Plaintiff now seeks reconsideration of the Court's Order, to require production of the comp the summary misconduct. conclusions, CCRB and lAB files, not merely involving similar allegat of Defendants object, primarily arguing that production of the complete les would invade the privacy interests of non- parties, and would require the production of information that was sealed pursuant to N.Y.C.P.L. §§ information Health protected by the 160.50 and 160.55, Insurance as well as Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA"). The Court will address the merits of Pla iff's request, as my original ruling assumed that there was not a serious dispute over the scope of the production Defendants agreed to make their compromise proposal. Plaintiff contends that he requires a full history of other, similar allegations against the defendant officers in order to understand the nature of the allegations, Defendants' responses to those allegations, and to establish a Monell claim against the City arising out of its knowledge of the individual propensities and failure to adequately address them. 2 Defendants' In addition, in the pursuit of relevant information, Plainti s in this type of litigation frequently express the need to contact other individuals who claim to have been subj ected to similar misconduct by the defendants. It is now commonplace in the courts of this Circuit to require the production of CCRB and lAB files relating to both substantiated and unsubstantiated allegations Gibbs v. City of New York, No. of similar 06 Civ. conduct. 5112 See, (ILG) (VVP) , e. g. , 2008 WL 314358, at * 1 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 4, 2008); Zhao v. City of New York, No. 07 Civ. 3636 (LAK) (MHO), 2007 WL 4205856 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 21, 2007); Kitevski v. City of New York, No. 04 Civ. 7402 (RCC) (RLE) , 2006 WL 680527, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 16, 2006) i Barrett v. City of New York, 237 F.R.D. 39, 40-41 (E.D.N.Y. 2006); Pacheco v. City of New York, 234 F.R.D. 53, 55 (E.D.N.Y. 2006) i Bradley v. City of New York, No. 04 Civ. 8411 (RWS) (MHO), 2005 WL 2508253 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 3, 2005); Malsh v. (KTD) (AJP) , Cohen, 1995 125 F.R.D. New York City Police Dep't, No. WL 67, not always explicit, 217507 70-71 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 11, (S.D.N.Y. 1989). 92 Civ. 1995); 2973 Unger v. Moreover, although it appears that in most of these cases the entire CCRB or lAB file was required to be produced, including the names of the complainants, subject to the invocation of p for Gibbs, specific documents. lege 2008 WL 314358 at *1 (requiring the City to produce lAB and CCRB files of investigations 3 of similar allegations against a pOlice official); Zhao, 2007 WL 4205856, at *2 (permitting redaction of names and other identifying information of any non-police department employees, but not the redaction of the names of the complainants - "It follows that any complaints (and the underlying documentation) that pertain to conduct similar to that alleged by plaintiff are discoverable.); 237 at F.R.D. 41 (requiring production of CCRB investigations, not merely the complaints, and implicitly requiring production of names of complainants as the court recognized that the documents "may lead to witnesses who have evidence that may tend to prove defendants' intent"); Pacheco, 234 F.R.D. at 55 (allowing the production of the names of other complainants -"[TJhe plaintiff should be given an opportunity to seek out the witnesses to the other allegations of misconduct . . . . "); of New Yo r k , No. 03 Ci v . (S.D.N.Y. June 30, 2004) records, subject to 4 52 6 ( RW S), 2 0 04 WL 14 7 4 695 , at *1 (requiring the production of CCRB and lAB invocation of privilege as to specific documents); Maish, 1995 WL 217507, at *2 (requiring production of including investigative documents, subject to CCRB and lAD invocation of privilege as to specific documents); F.R.D. at 70 71 files, Unger, 125 (requiring the production of civilian complaint including the names of the complainants). Although the Court has not precluded the City's invocation of 4 privilege with respect to specific documents in the files, the City has not asserted privi here; 160.50(c), its primary obje instead, citing N.Y.C.P.L. § on is based on the privacy interests of complainants who raised similar charges of misconduct against defendants in this action. That provision provides, in relevant part, that, upon the notification of the termination of a criminal action in favor of a defendant, the lowing records should be sealed: all official records and papers relating to the arrest or prosecution, including all duplicates and copies thereof, on file with the division of criminal justice services, any court, police agency, or prosecutor's office N.Y.C.P.L. § 160.50(c). As one New York court has observed: It lS worth noting that a review of the legislative intent and Practice Commentaries related to CPL § 160.50 demonstrate that the sealing statute was enacted to protect the rights of the accused from stigma, discrimination and any lasting taint that can be accompanied by criminal accusations (see generally, McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York Annotate, CPL § 160.50). The law was enacted to be "consistent with the presumption of innocence" (see, Matter of Joseph M., 82 N.Y.2d 128, 131, 603 N.Y.S.2d 804, 623 N.E.2d 1154 [1993]). In re Cent. Screening Comm. of Appellate Div., 28 Misc.3d 726, 731, 906 N.Y.S.2d 435, 438 The Court is (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2010). unaware of any case in which 5 I the City has claimed, and a court has accepted, that CCRB and lAB files should not be produced because t N.Y.C.P.L. §§ 160.50. fi s are subj ect to sealing under It is likely this has not occurred because criminal defendants who lodge complaints against police officials have voluntarily placed r arrests in issue, and seek to vindicate an interest that goes beyond their acquittal of criminal cha s, notwithstanding the sacrifice of their privacy rights. The case, which Defendants cite, there the pIa inti is inappos , as were seeking the names of non-party arrestees contained in a police form that was viewed as an official police record that was sealed pursuant to statute. See 1474695, at *2. In this case, 2004 WL Defendants have not asserted, and certainly have not demonstrated, sealed pursuant to statute. that the CCRB files Indeed, have been in the Fountain case, the court required CCRB and lAB files to be produced, allowing for the possibility of the invocation of the law enforcement or official information privil files. with respect to specific documents in those Here, Defendants have not even relied on those privileges in seeking to preclude production. In the end, the Court finds the City's purported interest in seeking to protect the privacy of individuals who filed complaints 6 against police officers to be wholly unconvincing.: say that it would not information in a file, be reasonable to redact This is not to highly personal as to which reasonable people could agree a complainant or police employee had a substantial privacy interest and would however, not do not wish to have widely disseminated. appear to have reviewed the files Defendants, with such a discerning eye. Accordingly, subject to the above caveat, the Court concludes that the complete CCRB and lAB files allegations against Defendants, action, shall be produced to relating to complaints or similar to those raised in this intiffs. So Ordered. Theodore H. Katz United States Magistrate Judge Dated: October 7, 2010 New York, New York This concern is belied by the City's willingness to produce the closing reports of the CCRB and lAB investigations, which, the Court assumes, contain the names of the complainants and other information about their arrests. 1 7