Doe No. 143 et al v. Hartford School District
RULING ON MOTIONS TO COMPEL. Hartford School District's 27 Motion to Compel denied as moot. Plaintiffs' 40 Notice of Joinder in 27 (construed as a motion compel) is granted in part and denied in part. DCF shall disclose the content s of its file to Mother Doe and Father Doe's counsel on or before June 23, 2017. Mother Doe and Father Doe shall immediately provide copies of the produced material to Defendant Hartford School District. Signed by District Judge J. Garvan Murtha on 5/25/2017. (kak)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF VERMONT
JOHN DOE NO. 143, by and through his
parents and natural guardians, MOTHER DOE
and FATHER DOE, and MOTHER DOE and
FATHER DOE, individually,
HARTFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT,
Case No. 1:16-cv-206
RULING ON MOTIONS
TO COMPEL THE STATE OF VERMONT
(Docs. 27, 40)
Defendant Hartford School District moves to compel the State of Vermont’s Department of
Children and Families Family Services Division (“DCF”) to produce documents responsive to its
subpoena. (Doc. 27.) The State opposes the motion. (Doc. 33.) Plaintiffs John Doe No. 143, by
and through his parents and natural guardians, Mother Doe and Father Doe, and Mother Doe and
Father Doe, individually (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed a notice of joinder in Defendant’s motion to
compel and a memorandum in support that was served on the State of Vermont. (Docs. 40-41.)
The Court construes the Plaintiffs’ filing as a motion to compel. The State did not respond to
The Vermont and federal rules regarding the scope and limits of discovery are similar:
parties may obtain discovery of non-privileged matters relevant to any party’s claim or defense.
Compare Vt. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1) with Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b). While the State currently resists
disclosure because the records sought are statutorily designated as confidential (Doc. 33 at 1-2), it
has in the past stated its records could be released with a court order (Doc. 40-2).
Under Vermont law, the redacted DCF investigation file “shall” be disclosed to the child’s
parents upon request, provided the parent is not the subject of the investigation, absent good cause
shown by DCF. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 33. § 4921(c). Here, both Plaintiffs and Defendant seek the
information from DCF, there is no indication Mother Doe or Father Doe is the subject of the
investigation, and the Court determines DCF has not shown good cause to prevent disclosure of the
file. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ motion to compel (Doc. 40) is granted in part and denied in part, and
Defendant’s motion to compel (Doc. 27) is denied as moot.
DCF shall disclose the contents of its file to Mother Doe and Father Doe’s counsel on or
before June 23, 2017. Mother Doe and Father Doe shall immediately provide copies of the
produced material to Defendant Hartford School District. Review and copying of the DCF records
shall be limited to the parties, their counsel and representatives, and the records shall be maintained
in confidence and used solely for the purpose of this litigation.
Dated at Brattleboro, in the District of Vermont, this 25th day of May, 2016.
/s/ J. Garvan Murtha
Hon. J. Garvan Murtha
United States District Judge
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