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Owens v. Novia

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

June 21, 2018

MARVIN E. OWENS, Plaintiff,
v.
NOVIA et al., Defendants.

          RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS TO COMPEL

          Donna F. Martinez United States Magistrate Judge.

         The plaintiff, who is self-represented, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendant Bridgeport police officers Novia, Lazaro and Feroni concerning a May 21, 2015 incident.[1] The operative complaint alleges false arrest and excessive force claims as to defendant Novia and failure to intervene claims as to defendants Lazaro and Feroni. Pending before the court are the plaintiff's motions to compel. (Doc. ##79, 88, 89). The written submissions are disorganized, difficult to follow, and incomplete. In an effort to clarify the record, the court held oral argument on June 19, 2018. After hearing a lengthy and comprehensive discussion of all the plaintiff's discovery issues, the court rules as follows:

         I. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel (Doc. #79)

         1. Production Request 1: During oral argument, the plaintiff, on the record, revised this request to seek "supplemental" police reports for the instances before May 21, 2015 when defendant Novia responded to the plaintiff's High Ridge Drive address. The defendants do not object to this request. The request is granted.[2]

         2. Production Request 2: The plaintiff seeks police incident reports for instances before May 21, 2015 when the Bridgeport police responded to the plaintiff's High Ridge Drive. The defendants do not object. The request is granted.

         3. Production Request 3: As narrowed during oral argument, the plaintiff seeks reprimands, complaints and/or grievances contained in the defendants' personnel files regarding allegations of false arrest, excessive force and/or failure to intervene. The request is granted in part. To the extent that any responsive documents exist, the defendants shall submit them to the court for in camera review. After the in camera review, the court will determine whether any documents must be produced.

         4. Production Request 4: The plaintiff seeks a 2012 police incident report regarding defendant Lazaro's presence at the plaintiff's Benham Avenue address in response to a landlord tenant dispute. The request is granted.

         5. Production Requests 5 and 6: The plaintiff seeks an "electronically stored" December 24, 2015 warrant application and December 28, 2015 incident report. The requests are denied on the grounds of relevance. Information is considered relevant if "(a) it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and (b) the fact is of consequence in determining the action." Fed.R.Evid. 401. "[T]he burden of demonstrating relevance is on the party seeking discovery." Harnage v. Brennan, No. 3:16CV1659(AWT)(SALM), 2018 WL 2128379, at *2 (D. Conn. May 9, 2018) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). This case concerns the plaintiff's May 2015 encounter with the defendants. The incidents addressed in production requests 5 and 6 postdate the incident at issue. The plaintiff has not met his burden of showing that the requested information is relevant to his claim.

         6. Production Request 7: The plaintiff requests the defendants' insurance information. During oral argument, the plaintiff acknowledged that the defendants provided the information. The request is denied as moot.

         7. Production Request 8: The plaintiff seeks the "electronically stored" communication between police dispatch and defendant Novia regarding the May 21, 2015 call. The request is granted.

         II. Plaintiff's Motions to Compel (Doc. ##88, 89)

         1. Questions 2 and 3[3]: The plaintiff asks whether defendant Lazaro, while in uniform, went to the plaintiff's home on Benham Avenue in 2012 to address the plaintiff concerning a landlord tenant issue. If so, the plaintiff requests a copy of the police report. If there is no police report, the plaintiff asks for an explanation why no report was filed. The defendants do not object to these requests and they are granted.

         2. "Followup" question: The plaintiff asks whether defendant Lazaro proofread and signed defendant Novia's May 21, 2015 incident report. The defendants do not object to this question. The request is granted.

         3. Question 4: The plaintiff asks whether defendant Novia responded to a call on November 10, 2014 to go to the plaintiff's High Ridge Drive home and if so, seeks the "nature of [the] call" and the "outcome of police response." ...


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