Guthmann v. Classic Residence Management Limited Partnership et al

Filing 35

ORDER by Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd re 32 Discovery Dispute Joint Report No. 1. (hrllc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/12/2017)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 SAN JOSE DIVISION United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 STACY GUTHMANN, Plaintiff, 13 14 15 16 Case No.5:16-cv-02680-LHK (HRL) ORDER RE DISCOVERY DISPUTE JOINT REPORT NO. 1 v. CLASSIC RESIDENCE MANAGEMENT LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, et al., Re: Dkt. No. 32 Defendants. 17 18 Plaintiff Stacy Guthman sues her former employer, claiming (among other things) that she 19 was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for complaining about wage-and-hour violations. This 20 court understands that defendants own, develop, and operate residential communities for older 21 adults. Just prior to her termination, Guthman says she intervened in a dispute between two 22 residents and claims that she followed defendants’ policies in reporting one resident’s abusive 23 conduct. According to the complaint, plaintiff was placed on administrative leave the next day 24 and subsequently was fired for elder abuse. Plaintiff says she was told that defendants contacted 25 an “Ombudsperson” who conducted an investigation and concluded that she had engaged in elder 26 abuse. Plaintiff claims that the investigation was a sham and that the alleged “elder abuse” was 27 simply a pretext for terminating her employment. Defendants deny any wrongdoing. 28 Guthman claims that thus far, discovery reveals that the resident did not complain about 1 elder abuse and that the Ombudsman was not contacted by the resident or the residential facility 2 and did not investigate any complaint. This court is told that, although discovery indicates that 3 someone might have contacted the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency, Adult Protective 4 Services (APS), defendants reportedly have not produced documents that show whether and why 5 they may have contacted APS. 6 So, plaintiff subpoenaed APS for any records relating to allegations of elder abuse and incidents and persons connected to this case. On April 7, she filed Discovery Dispute Joint Report 8 (DDJR) 1 because APS has a one-page responsive document, but declines to produce it absent a 9 court order, citing its obligations to keep information in the document confidential. See 42 U.S.C. 10 § 30581i(b)(10)(D) & (e)(2); Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 15633, 15633.5. However, APS does not 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 7 oppose production of the document if, following an in camera review, this court concludes that the 12 need for disclosure outweighs the public’s interest in keeping the information confidential. 13 Plaintiff argues that she cannot obtain the record from any other source. 14 Pursuant to this court’s interim order re DDJR 1 (Dkt. 33), APS submitted the document to 15 the court for an in camera review. Having reviewed the document, this court orders the document 16 produced, subject to the terms of the stipulated protective order (Dkt. 20). Although APS 17 identifies a legitimate interest in maintaining the confidentiality of information in the document 18 (i.e., to encourage the reporting of elder abuse), this court also takes into account that the subject 19 information appears to be highly material to plaintiff’s allegations. And, given what this court has 20 been told about the present state of discovery, it may be that the APS document is the only 21 documentation of the information plaintiff seeks. Additionally, this court finds that the terms of 22 the stipulated protective order are adequate to protect the subject information. Accordingly, 23 plaintiff’s request for this discovery is granted. APS shall forthwith produce the document to 24 plaintiff. 25 SO ORDERED. 26 Dated: April 12, 2017 27 HOWARD R. LLOYD United States Magistrate Judge 28 2 1 5:16-cv-02680-LHK Notice has been electronically mailed to: 2 Erica Christina Gonzalez 3 Jenna Heather Leyton-Jones 4 Jennifer Nicole Lutz 5 Kendra Lin Orr 6 ecg@smootpc.com jleyton@pettitkohn.com, vbrowne@pettitkohn.com jlutz@pettitkohn.com, kwood@pettitkohn.com kendra@msllp.com Paul Joseph Smoot pjs@smootpc.com, ecg@smootpc.com 7 Peter Collins McMahon peter@msllp.com, kendra@msllp.com 8 9 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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