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United States District Court for the District of Columbia
December 31, 2015, Decided; December 31, 2015, Filed
Case No. 14-cv-1905 (TFH/GMH)
[*223] MEMORANDUM OPINION
This matter has been referred to the undersigned for the management of discovery and resolution of all discovery disputes. Before the Court is plaintiff's motion to compel defendant Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority ("WMATA") to produce a disciplinary memorandum it issued to its employee, Christopher Hamlin, relating to the accident at issue in this case. This motion is ripe for resolution. Upon consideration of the parties' briefs and the entire record herein,1 the Court will grant in part and deny in part the motion as stated herein.
This is a wrongful death action against WMATA for the death of a contractor, Harold Ingram, on a job site. Plaintiff alleges that on October 6, 2013, a WMATA employee, Christopher Hamlin, struck and killed the decedent while operating heavy machinery. The instant dispute focuses on whether WMATA's disciplinary memorandum against Hamlin related to this incident is protected by the self-evaluative privilege.2
[*224] Plaintiff filed two motions to compel which covered largely the same ground. The discovery request at issue here is plaintiff's Request for Production No. 7(a), which requests "[t]he entire WMATA employment file, including all records of performance, supervision, evaluation, and discipline, for the following individuals involved in the incident [**4] in question: (a) Chris Hamlin." First Mot. to Compel at 4. On October 27, 2015, Judge Hogan entered an order granting in part and denying in part plaintiff's motions. See Oct. 27, 2015 Order. In that order, Judge Hogan found that several safety reports generated by WMATA after the accident were protected by the self-evaluative privilege. Id. at 3. The order did not specifically mention the disciplinary memorandum.
The parties requested several clarifications of the Court's order. One of the questions posed by the parties was whether the disciplinary memorandum should be produced. To resolve this and future discovery disputes, Judge Hogan referred this matter to the undersigned on November 17, 2015. The undersigned held a hearing on November 24, 2015, to discuss the parties' remaining dispute over the disciplinary memorandum. At the hearing, the undersigned requested that WMATA produce several documents for in camera review, including the disciplinary memorandum and the safety reports which the Court found to be protected by the self-evaluative privilege. See Nov. 24, 2015 Minute Order. The undersigned also ordered WMATA and plaintiff to report on whether and how disciplinary memoranda have [**5] been produced in other cases brought against WMATA. Id. On November 30, 2015, WMATA produced the requested documents to the undersigned and provided a letter reporting on the treatment of disciplinary memoranda in other cases. On December 3, 2015, plaintiff submitted a similar letter expressing his view on how such memoranda have been treated in other cases.
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153 F. Supp. 3d 221 *; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173592 **
CORNELIUS FELDER, as administrator of the estate of Harold Ingram, Plaintiff, v. WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA TRANSIT AUTHORITY et al., Defendants.
Prior History: Felder v. Wash. Metro. Area Transit Auth., 105 F. Supp. 3d 52, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66220 (D.D.C., May 21, 2015)
memorandum, self-evaluative, disciplinary, documents, discovery, undersigned, employees, redacted, self-criticism, evaluations, discipline, candid
Civil Procedure, Privileged Communications, Work Product Doctrine, Scope of Protection, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, Inspection & Production Requests, Misconduct During Discovery, Motions to Compel, Evidence, Government Privileges, Official Information Privilege, Self-Critical Analysis Privilege