UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. ALL FUNDS ON DEPOSIT AT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER overruling claimant's objection 465 to Magistrate Judge Harvey's Memorandum Opinion denying the motion to compel production of the SAR, and affirming Magistrate Judge Harvey's Memorandum Opinion of August 27, 2015. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on January 12, 2016. (MA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
ALL ASSETS HELD AT BANK JULIUS, )
Baer & Company, Ltd., Guernsey
Branch, account number 121128, in the
Name of Pavlo Lazarenko, et al.,
Defendants In Rem.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Civil Action No. 1:04-cv-00798 (PLF)
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On March 26, 2015, the Court referred this case to Magistrate Judge G. Michael
Harvey for the management of all discovery and the resolution of any discovery-related disputes.
See Referral Order at 1 (Mar. 26, 2015) [Dkt. 357]. One such dispute was presented to Judge
Harvey by Claimant Pavel Lazarenko’s Second Motion to Compel [Dkt. 369]. After the matter
was fully briefed and following a hearing on the motion, Judge Harvey issued a Memorandum
Opinion (“Mem. Op.”) on August 27, 2015 [Dkt. 434], denying the motion to compel.
Lazarenko filed an Objection to Magistrate Judge Harvey’s Memorandum Opinion [Dkt. 465],
the United States responded [Dkt. 498], and Lazarenko replied [Dkt. 510]. Having carefully
considered the matter, the Court now affirms Magistrate Judge Harvey’s decision in its entirety.
At issue on this motion to compel is an Internal Revenue Service Special Agent
Report (“SAR”), dated June 30, 2001, which was prepared in connection with Lazarenko’s
criminal prosecution in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
Magistrate Judge Harvey found that the IRS Criminal Investigation Division prepared the SAR
and that it summarized facts, including witness interviews, related to the money laundering
claims against Lazarenko. The SAR also analyzed those facts and provided recommendations to
the United States Attorney as to which charges should be brought. Mem. Op. at 2-3.
Magistrate Judge Harvey concluded that: (1) the SAR constitutes work product
even though it was prepared by an IRS agent, rather than by an attorney; (2) the SAR was
submitted prior to the return of the superseding indictment against Lazarenko; (3) it was prepared
in order to assist the U.S. Attorney’s Office and apprise it of the IRS’s recommendations for
criminal charges against Lazarenko; (4) the SAR was prepared in anticipation of that criminal
prosecution; (5) the work product doctrine is applicable to the SAR, even though it was prepared
in anticipation of the prior criminal prosecution rather than the instant civil litigation; (6) the IRS
agent’s recommendations, opinions, and conclusions constitute opinion work product;
(7) Lazarenko failed to make the “extraordinary showing of necessity” necessary to obtain
opinion work product; (8) Lazarenko also is not entitled to disclosure of the remainder of the
SAR – the portions containing factual work product – because, according to the undisputed
declarations submitted by the government, all facts asserted in the SAR have already been
disclosed to Lazarenko; and (9) Lazarenko therefore cannot make the showing of “substantial
need” for the information and “undue hardship” in acquiring it that are required to discover
factual work product. Mem. Op. at 6-10. See Dir., Office of Thrift Supervision v. Vinson &
Elkins, LLP, 124 F.3d 1304, 1307-08 (D.C. Cir. 1997); U.S. ex rel. Landis v. Tailwind Sports
Corp., 303 F.R.D. 419, 425 (D.D.C. 2014); see also F.T.C. v. Grolier Inc., 462 U.S. 19, 25
(1983); F.T.C. v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, 778 F.3d 142, 151-53, 156 (D.C. Cir.
2015). In view of these findings and conclusions, Magistrate Judge Harvey found it unnecessary
to reach the question of whether the SAR is also protected under the deliberative process
privilege. Mem. Op. at 10 n. 5.
When a party objects to a Magistrate Judge’s determination with respect to a nondispositive matter – such as discovery generally or, more specifically, a motion to compel – “the
magistrate judge’s decision is entitled to great deference,” Beale v. District of Columbia, 545
F. Supp. 2d 8, 13 (D.D.C. 2008) (quoting Boca Investerings P’ship v. United States, 31 F. Supp.
2d 9, 11 (D.D.C.1998)), and it will not be disturbed unless it is “clearly erroneous” or “contrary
to law.” FED. R. CIV. P. 72(a); LOC. CIV. R. 72.2(c). Having carefully reviewed Magistrate
Judge Harvey’s Memorandum Opinion, the papers filed by the parties, the relevant case law, and
the Declarations of Richard J. Pietrofeso [Dkt. 405-1] and Richard G. Goldman [Dkt. 410-1 Ex.
A], along with the United States’ Statement and Supplemental Statement Concerning IRS
Special Agent Report [Dkt. 428 & 431], the Court concludes that Magistrate Judge Harvey
correctly articulated the applicable legal principles governing attorney work product, that his
findings of fact were not clearly erroneous, and that he properly applied the law to the facts.
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that Claimant’s Objection [Dkt. 465] to Magistrate Judge Harvey’s
Memorandum Opinion denying the motion to compel production of the SAR is OVERRULED;
and it is
FURTHER ORDERED that Magistrate Judge Harvey’s Memorandum Opinion of
August 27, 2015 [Dkt. 434] is AFFIRMED.
PAUL L. FRIEDMAN
United States District Court
DATE: January 12, 2016
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