United States District Court, D. Connecticut
CHARLES C. WILLIAMS
CITY OF HARTFORD, et al.
RULING ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION [DOC. #160]
SARAH A. L. MERRIAM United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is a motion by plaintiff Charles C. Williams
("plaintiff") seeking partial reconsideration of
the Court‘s May 2, 2016, Ruling on Motions to Compel.
[Doc. #160]. Defendants have not responded to
plaintiff‘s motion. For the reasons articulated below,
the Court GRANTS plaintiff‘s Motion for
Reconsideration, and adheres, in part, to its prior ruling.
Court presumes familiarity with the factual background of
this matter, which is recited in the Court‘s Ruling on
Motions to Compel. See Doc. #159. For purposes of this
Ruling, however, the Court will briefly address the
background leading to the pending Motion for Reconsideration.
to the below discussion, on January 4, 2016, plaintiff moved
for an order compelling defendants to respond to numerous
production requests. [Doc. #108]. As relevant here, plaintiff
sought an order compelling defendants Emory Hightower
("Hightower") and Terry Waller ("Waller")
to respond to certain requests for production relating to their
respective suspensions, reprimands, disciplinary histories,
and any allegations of misconduct and corruption (hereinafter
collectively referred to as the "Misconduct
Requests"), for the past six (6) years. See Doc. #108 at
17, 19, 25; Doc. #143-1 at 1-3. Defendants Hightower and Waller
posed extensive objections to the Misconduct Requests.
Court granted, in part, plaintiff‘s Motion to Compel
with respect to the Misconduct Requests. See Doc. #159 at
31-36, 40-42. Specifically, with respect to defendant
Hightower, the Court ordered that he "produce to
plaintiff any records of disciplinary charges, internal
investigations, and complaints directly related to
allegations, if any, of abuse of power by defendant Hightower
in his position as police chief, for the time period of
January 1, 2011, through April 30, 2013." [Doc. #159 at
35]. As to defendant Waller, the Court similarly ordered that
he "produce to plaintiff any records of disciplinary
charges, internal investigations, and complaints directly
related to allegations, if any, of abuse of power by
defendant Waller in his position as Fire Chief, for the time
period of January 1, 2011, through April 30, 2013."
Id. at 41-42.
now seeks reconsideration of that portion of the Ruling on
Motions to Compel pertaining to the Misconduct Requests.
[Doc. #160]. Specifically, plaintiff objects to the limited
timeframe placed on the documents to be produced by
defendants Waller and Hightower. Id.
standard for granting [a motion for reconsideration] is
strict, and reconsideration will generally be denied unless
the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data
that the court overlooked - matters, in other words, that
might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached
by the court." Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70
F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). Three grounds can justify
reconsideration: "an intervening change of controlling
law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct
a clear error or prevent manifest injustice." Virgin
Atl. Airways, Ltd. v. Nat‘l Mediation Bd., 956
F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992) (quoting 18 C. Wright, A.
Miller & E. Cooper, Federal Practice & Procedure §4478
at 90). "A motion for reconsideration may not be used to
plug gaps in an original argument or to argue in the
alternative once a decision has been made. Furthermore, a
motion to reconsider should not be granted where the moving
party seeks solely to relitigate an issue already
decided." Lopez v. Smiley, 375 F.Supp.2d 19,
21-22 (D. Conn. 2005) (internal citation and quotation marks
Motion for Reconsideration seeks a broader time frame of
documents than that ordered by the Court with respect to the
district court has broad latitude to determine the scope of
discovery and to manage the discovery process." EM Ltd.
v. Republic of Argentina, 695 F.3d 201, 207 (2d Cir.
2012) (citation omitted), aff‘d sub nom. Republic of
Argentina v. NML Capital, Ltd., 134 S.Ct. 2250, 189
L.Ed.2d 234 (2014). "Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) does not
allow a party to roam in shadow zones of relevancy and to
explore matter which does not presently appear germane on the
theory that it might conceivably become so." Wells Fargo
Bank, N.A. v. Konover, No. 3:05CV1924 (CFD)(WIG),
2009 WL 585430, at *5 (D. Conn. Mar. 4, 2009) (quoting Evans
v. Calise, No. 92CV8430(PKL), 1994 WL 185696, at *1
(S.D.N.Y. May 12, 1994)). Therefore, "[t]he party
seeking discovery must make a prima facie showing that the
discovery sought is more than merely a fishing
expedition." Id. (quoting Evans, 1994 WL
185696, at *1).
noted in the Court‘s Rulings on Motions to Compel, as a
general matter, in a section 1983 case such as this,
"[d]isciplinary records involving complaints of a
similar nature, whether substantiated or unsubstantiated,
could lead to evidence that would be admissible at trial and
thus, are discoverable." Frails v. City of New
York, 236 F.R.D. 116, 117-18 (E.D.N.Y. 2006) (compiling
cases). Indeed, "plaintiffs in federal civil rights
actions are presumptively entitled to recollections as well
as documents on prior complaints and police history."
King v. Conde, 121 F.R.D. 180, 198 (E.D.N.Y. 1988);
accord Malsh v. New York City Police Dep‘t,
No. 92CV2973(KTD)(AJP), 1995 WL 217507, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Apr.
11, 1995) ("[C]ourts in this circuit frequently have
ordered the police to produce pre-complaint documentation of
alleged police misconduct[.]"); Gibbs v. City
of New York, 243 F.R.D. 95, 96 (S.D.N.Y. 2007)
("Plaintiffs are presumptively entitled to discovery of
documents on prior complaints and police histories of
individual defendants because it could yield relevant
information." (citing King, 121 F.R.D. at 198)); Nicaj
v. City of New York, No. 07CV2382(LBS), 2008 WL
542606, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 25, 2008) (same). It was on this
basis that the Court granted plaintiff‘s motion, in
part, as to the Misconduct Requests and permitted discovery
as to any complaints pre-dating the misconduct alleged to
have occurred on the part of defendants Waller and Hightower,
as set forth in the Amended Complaint. See Doc. #159 at
now renews his request for documents responsive to the
Misconduct Requests subsequent to the time ordered by the
Court. In support of this position, plaintiff argues that
Hightower "was accused for corruption also in 2014 which
resulted in his retirement in 2014. Further, defendant
'Terry Waller‘ retirement was forced in 2015
because of complaints filed against him in 2014 and
2015." [Doc. #160 at 1-2 (sic)]. Plaintiff also
contends, in conclusory fashion, that defendants Waller and
Hightower were forced to retire early due to their "ill
behavior and actions dated from 2012 to 2014 concerning
'Emory Hightower, ‘ 2012 to 2015 concerning
'Terry Waller.‘" Id. at 2. This