Ferrell, et al. v. The Town of Lillington, et al.
ORDER granting 35 Motion to Compel and PROTECTIVE ORDER. Signed by US District Judge Terrence W. Boyle on 3/29/2017. The parties are reminded to read the order in its entirety for important information. (Stouch, L.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
THE TOWN OF LILLINGTON, DAVID
KIRKLAND and SOONAOSO J. LETULI, both
Individually and in their Official Capacity as Police )
Officers for the Town of Lillington,
TRACI FERRELL, as Administrator of the
ESTATE OF AUSTIN STEWART FERRELL,
This cause comes before the Court on plaintiffs motion to appoint/designation of expert 1
and motion to compel. Defendants have responded to the motion to compel and the matter is
ripe for ruling. For the reasons discussed below, plaintiffs motion to compel is granted.
Plaintiff seeks an order compelling defendants to produce the complete copies of
Kirkland and Letuli' s police personnel files, as well as any training, observation, and supervision
reports contained therein. Plaintiff additionally sought an award of fees and costs associated
with this motion but has since withdrawn that request. [DE 38]. Defendants have previously
declined to produce the requested personnel files, noting that such files are not subject to
disclosure absent a valid court order. See N.C. Gen. Stat. 160A-168(b). Accordingly, and in the
absence of a substantive objection by defendants to the disclosure of the complete personnel files
Although styled on the docket as a motion, plaintiffs designation of expert [DE 33] requests no
relief from the Court. The clerk is therefore DIRECTED to terminate the motion as pending.
of Kirkland and Letuli, plaintiffs motion is granted. Defendants request that the Court enter a
protective order to protect the highly confidential and sensitive nature of the documents
contained in the officers' personnel files from further disclosure. For good cause, and finding
"that the privacy concerns of the state statute are in line with [Rule 26 of the] Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure," Thomas v. City of Durham, 1:98CV00706, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5361, at *4
(M.D.N.C. Apr. 6, 1999), the Court ALLOWS defendants' request for entry of a protective order
to prevent further disclosure of Kirkland and Letuli' s personnel files.
For the forgoing reasons, plaintiffs motion to compel disclosure [DE 35] is GRANTED.
Defendants are ORDERED to disclose to plaintiff the complete copies of Kirkland and Letuli's
police personnel files, as well as any training, observation, and supervision reports contained
therein. The personnel files of Kirkland and Letuli shall be subject to the following protective
order. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c).
The personnel files of Kirkland and Letuli SHALL be treated as confidential information
which may be used only in the prosecution or defense of this action and shall not be used for any
other purpose. This confidential information shall not be disclosed or made available to anyone
other than the parties to this action and their counsel, experts or consultants retained to assist the
parties or their counsel, and the Court and its personnel. Prior to disclosure of confidential
information to any person, counsel must inform the recipient that such information is
confidential and may not be further disclosed. Should the filing of any confidential information
with the Court be deemed necessary during the prosecution or defense of this action, a party may
file such information under seal without seeking leave of Court, subject to the Court's review of
the determination to file a document under seal. Failure to comply with this order shall result in
sanctions. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(b). The parties are permitted to seek leave to amend this
protective order during the course or at the conclusion of this litigation.
SO ORDERED, thisU day of March, 2017.
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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