Melendez v. Albert Einstein High School et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART and DENYING IN PART 60 Motion to Compel. Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 11/12/2015. (sat, Chambers)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Civil Action No. DKC 14-3636
BOARD OF EDUCATION FOR
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
documents, seeking access to the entire personnel file of Tony
Hopkins, her supervisor.
(ECF No. 60).
Plaintiff’s motion also
seeks the court to compel Defendant to respond to “Plaintiff’s
First Set of Interrogatories No. 7” (“interrogatory number 7”).
For the following reasons, the motion will be granted in
part and denied in part.
The standard for considering disclosure of a personnel file
is a balancing test:
appropriate to compel the discovery of
Circuit have balanced the importance of
interest in broad discovery that provides
each party with the information necessary to
present their complete case before the
court. See Kirkpatrick v. Raleigh County Bd.
of Educ., 78 F.3d 579 (4th Cir. 1996)
(Table); Blount v. Wake Elec. Membership
Corp., 162 F.R.D. 102, 105 (E.D.N.C. 1993).
This test generally favors non-disclosure:
personnel files, even if relevant, are only
such as when the “need for disclosure is
compelling because the information sought is
not otherwise readily available.”
States EEOC v. McCormick & Schmick's Seafood
Rests., No. DKC–11–2695, 2012 WL 3563877
(D.Md. Aug. 16, 2012); Bennett v. CSX
Transp., Inc., No. 5:10–CV–00493–BO, 2011 WL
4527430 (E.D.N.C. Sept. 26, 2011).
Hemphill v. ARAMARK Corp., No. ELH-12-1584, 2013 WL 1662963, at
*2 (D.Md. Apr. 15, 2013).
As another judge within this district
Personnel files are discoverable only
“personal privacy and accurate, employee
evaluations are important public policy
Weller v. Am. Home Assurance
Co., No. 3:05–cv–90, 2007 WL 1097883, at *6
(N.D.W.Va. Apr. 10, 2007) (quoting Blount v.
Wake Elec. Membership Corp., 162 F.R.D. 102,
105 (E.D.N.C. 1993)) (internal quotation
marks omitted). In an unpublished decision,
the Fourth Circuit indicated that personnel
files are discoverable if they contain
information relevant to the subject matter
of a case and the need for the information
See Kirkpatrick, 1996 WL 85122,
McCormick & Schmick's, 2012 WL 3563877, at *4.
Here, Plaintiff baldly asserts that the personnel file is
relevant, suggesting that it might contain evidence that Mr.
actions, if taken in response to allegations similar to those at
However, Defendant states that there are no such actions within
receive the requested information without obtaining the entire
(ECF No. 60-1, at 6).
Plaintiff wants the
opportunity to see for herself, but the discovery principles
don’t allow that.
Otherwise, a personnel file contains very
sensitive and private information that has not been shown to be
relevant to Plaintiff’s claims.
Broadly allowing access to such
confidential, without a specific indication of relevance is not
production of the personnel record is denied.
interrogatory regarding Mr. Hopkins’ disciplinary actions may be
relevant to her case.
Interrogatory number 7 requests, “the
Tony Hopkins by [Defendant] at any point while employed with
(ECF No. 62, at 6).
Information regarding past
reprimands or disciplinary actions brought against Mr. Hopkins
Davis v. Rouse, No. WDQ-08-3106, 2011 WL 2748737,
at *2 (D.Md. May 31, 2011) (denying motion to compel production
of the entire personnel record, but compelling the defendant to
sought by the plaintiff); see also McCormick & Schmick’s, 2012
WL 3563877, at 6 (compelling production of records because the
that no such record exists in its opposition brief (ECF No. 601,
disciplinary actions brought for conduct similar to this case,
does not raise the same privacy concerns as producing an entire
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion to compel a
response to interrogatory number 7 is granted in part.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion to compel is
GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW
United States District Judge
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