United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
MARY R. MAYFIELD
DESOTO PARISH POLICE JURY, ET AL
L. HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Mary Mayfield, is a former employee of the DeSoto Parish
Police Jury. She filed this action under Title VII and 42
U.S.C. § 1983 seeking declaratory relief, injunctive
relief, and damages “to address the deprivation of her
rights from employment discrimination on the basis of sex and
in retaliation against her for the exercise of her rights in
connection with and in opposition to the unlawful
discrimination practices perpetuated against her by
defendants, their agents or employees.” Doc. 41, ¶
2. Plaintiff claims she suffered “enormous”
emotional distress and mental anguish as a result of
Defendants' actions. Doc. 41, ¶52. Plaintiff further
alleges she has been unable to sleep, suffers from extreme
stress and depression, and is under the care of a physician.
Id. ¶ 66.
the court are two related discovery disputes: First, the
court was asked to conduct an in-camera review of
cell phone recordings made by Plaintiff (and transcripts of
most of those recordings) of conversations involving
Plaintiff, Defendants, and other employees of the police jury
(Docs. 58 and 59) to determine if production should be
ordered. Second, a Motion to Compel was filed seeking
production of those recordings and transcripts, as well as
medical records regarding any prior medical treatment of
Plaintiff. Doc. 61.
undersigned has now completed the in-camera review
and concludes that the recordings and transcripts must be
produced immediately to Defendants. The court likewise finds
that Plaintiff's prior treatment history is relevant to
her claims, so the motion to compel production of prior
medical records is granted.
argue that Plaintiff surreptitiously recorded the
conversations on her official police jury cell phone before
her resignation. According to Plaintiff, almost every
conversation concerned a work-related topic at some point
during the recording. Plaintiff's brief states that she
has “testified under oath that she recorded the
conversations and discussions in anticipation of litigation
on the cell phone issued to her by the police jury when she
began to experience a hostile work environment and
retaliatory treatment ... .” Doc. 63 at p. 3.
makes a number of arguments regarding why she should not have
to produce the recordings and transcripts. First, she argues
that Defendants already have the recordings. Plaintiff says
the recordings were on the police jury's cell phone, and
she returned the phone to the police jury shortly before this
lawsuit was filed. Second, Plaintiff argues that the
recordings and transcripts are protected work product,
because she recorded the conversations and discussions in
anticipation of litigation. Third, Plaintiff argues that the
recordings are exempt from discovery because she intends to
use them solely for impeachment.
these arguments is persuasive. First, even if the recorded
conversations are still on the police jury's cell phone,
which Defendants deny, Defendants are entitled to
Plaintiff's copies of the recording, as well as the
transcripts, for verification purposes. Some or all of the
recordings on the cell phone may have been deleted, either
intentionally or inadvertently.
the recordings do not qualify as work product. In
Williams v. Gunderson Rail Services, 2008 WL 145251
(W.D. La.), U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen L. Hayes granted a
motion to compel the production of audio tapes containing
conversations between plaintiff and several of his
co-employees. Judge Hayes held that the plaintiff's
clandestine recording of the conversations vitiated the work
product privilege. Therefore, the tapes were discoverable.
issue was again addressed in this district in Griffin v.
Javeler Marine Services, 2016 WL 1559170 (W.D. La.).
U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Hanna granted a motion to
compel directing plaintiff to provide copies of recorded
statements taken by plaintiff of defendant's employees
without their knowledge. Citing Williams,
supra, Judge Hanna found that the act of
surreptitiously taping the conversations vitiated the work
the recordings contain the statements of Defendants and other
potential witnesses. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)(3)(C) provides that a
party or other person may, on request, obtain the
person's own previous statement about the case or its
subject matter if (i) the statement is a written statement
that the person has signed or otherwise adopted or approved;
or (ii) the statement is a contemporaneous stenographic,
mechanical, electrical, or other recording-or a transcription
of it-that recites substantially verbatim the person's
oral statement. Rule 26(B)(3)(c) is ...