U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Clerk's Office

... 1
This motion was referred to me for disposition by Judge C. Darnell Jones by Order
dated September 17, 2010. (Doc. No. 18).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ANDREA COLEMAN-HILL, : CIVIL ACTION
Plaintiff, :
v. : No.: 09-cv-5525
:
GOVERNOR MIFFLIN SCHOOL ...


... for disposition by Judge C. Darnell Jones by Order
dated September 17, 2010. (Doc. No. 18).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ANDREA COLEMAN-HILL, : CIVIL ACTION
Plaintiff, :
v. : No.: 09-cv-5525
:
GOVERNOR MIFFLIN SCHOOL :
DISTRICT, :
Defendant. :
...


...
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ANDREA COLEMAN-HILL, : CIVIL ACTION
Plaintiff, :
v. : No.: 09-cv-5525
:
GOVERNOR MIFFLIN SCHOOL :
DISTRICT, :
Defendant. :
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
LYNNE A. SITARSKI November 4, 2010
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Presently before the Court is Defendant ...


... AND ORDER
LYNNE A. SITARSKI November 4, 2010
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Presently before the Court is Defendant Governor Mifflin School District’s Motion for
Sanctions Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45 (Doc. No. 15). Plaintiff Andrea
Coleman-Hill has opposed this motion (Doc. No. ...


... involves alleged racial discrimination against Plaintiff Andrea
Coleman-Hill (“Plaintiff”) by her employer, Defendant Governor Mifflin School District (“the
District”). Plaintiff alleges that the District’s superintendent, Dr. Mary T. Weiss, violated Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 ...


... racial discrimination against Plaintiff Andrea
Coleman-Hill (“Plaintiff”) by her employer, Defendant Governor Mifflin School District (“the
District”). Plaintiff alleges that the District’s superintendent, Dr. Mary T. Weiss, violated Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et ...


... Andrea
Coleman-Hill (“Plaintiff”) by her employer, Defendant Governor Mifflin School District (“the
District”). Plaintiff alleges that the District’s superintendent, Dr. Mary T. Weiss, violated Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human
...


... et seq., by mistreating Plaintiff on account of her race.
In the course of discovery, Ms. Gray served Requests for Production of Documents on the
District’s counsel, Jonathan P. Riba, Esq., and conducted depositions. The Document Requests
directed to Defendant were pursued in an unorthodox fashion. At ...


... emails, phone messages from Dr. Weiss to individual
members of the Board regarding my client form [sic] the start of her employ with the school
District until the present.” (Pl.’s Am. Answer to Def.’s Mot. Sanctions Ex. D, at 2). Mr. Riba
timely responded. (Def.’s Mot. Sanctions Ex. B, at 8). It is ...


... later, and
unilaterally, determined to be deficient.
Thereafter, on August 16, 2010, Ms. Gray deposed Ms. Rachel Dombrowski, who served
as the District’s Director of Technology. Because of her position, Ms. Dombrowski had access
to all documents that are stored on the District’s computer systems, even ...


... who served
as the District’s Director of Technology. Because of her position, Ms. Dombrowski had access
to all documents that are stored on the District’s computer systems, even archived documents.
During the deposition, it became evident that Ms. Dombrowski is no fan of Dr. Weiss. Ms.
Dombrowski ...


... Mot. Ex. A, at 4).
The subpoena served was improper and/or deficient, in multiple respects. First, the
subpoena was directed to an employee of the District, and sought production of the District’s
documents. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure direct that an opposing party’s documents
should be ...


... was improper and/or deficient, in multiple respects. First, the
subpoena was directed to an employee of the District, and sought production of the District’s
documents. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure direct that an opposing party’s documents
should be obtained through a properly served Request for ...


... all of the documents that she provided, Ms. Dombrowski sent 284
pages. (Def.’s Mot. ¶ 17).
3
Ms. Gray claims to have personal knowledge that the District engages in spoliation of
evidence. Ms. Gray provided no evidentiary support for this accusation, and only brought it to
the Court’s attention in ...


... had already provided voluminous documents to Ms.
Gray, including at least three attorney-client privileged documents.
2
On September 8, 2010, the District filed the instant motion for sanctions for Ms. Gray’s
inappropriate use of a subpoena. Defendant seeks sanctions as follows: exclusion of the
...


...
counsel fees associated with the instant motion.
At oral argument, Ms. Gray conceded that a motion to compel was appropriate for
addressing the District’s perceived failure to comply with her Requests for Production of
Documents. Nevertheless, Ms. Gray did not file a motion to compel, asserting that ...


... comply with her Requests for Production of
Documents. Nevertheless, Ms. Gray did not file a motion to compel, asserting that she presumed
that the District would continue to be non-compliant with its discovery obligations. Most
disturbingly, Ms. Gray stated that she presumed that this Court was without ...


... obligations. Most
disturbingly, Ms. Gray stated that she presumed that this Court was without the power and/or the
inclination to compel the District’s compliance.
3 5
II. LEGAL STANDARDS
A. Proper Use of Subpoena Power.
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45, a party may obtain documents from ...


... excluded evidence in making its decision. Quinn, 283 F.3d at 577.
III. DISCUSSION
A. Ms. Gray’s Misconduct
Ms. Gray failed to properly notify the District of her intent to serve the subpoena. The
subpoena was served contemporaneously on Ms. Dombrowski and Mr. Riba, thus making it
impossible to timely ...


... documents at
issue via prior requests for production.
5
Ms. Gray also admitted that she did not think that filing
a motion to compel against the District would help, presuming that the Court could not (or would
not) address the situation. There is simply no excuse for engaging in self-help and ...


... Ms. Gray is
hereby ordered to Bates stamp the documents received from Ms. Dombrowski and provide a
copy of the Bates stamped documents to the District. Ms. Gray shall prepare an affidavit setting
forth the Bates ranges of the documents, and shall attest that the documents so identified are a
...


... documents produced by Ms. Dombrowski. Ms. Gray shall also attest that all
privileged documents (including copies thereof) have been returned to the District.
The Bates stamped documents and the affidavit shall be provided within seven days of
this Order.
3. Attorney’s Fees
A court may award fees and ...


... for production. Ms.
Gray admits that she knew that a motion to compel was the proper channel for remedying any
perceived deficiency in the District’s document production. She nevertheless used improper
channels to gain information that had not been requested via proper discovery, and did so ...


... used improper
channels to gain information that had not been requested via proper discovery, and did so without
providing proper notice to the District.
Under these circumstances, I easily conclude that Ms. Gray acted in bad faith, and
oppressively. Spencer, 1999 WL 33957391, at *1-2 (quoting ...


... that Ms. Gray acted in bad faith, and
oppressively. Spencer, 1999 WL 33957391, at *1-2 (quoting Chambers, 501 U.S. at 45-46). Ms.
Gray forced the District to file a motion to alert the Court to the misuse and abuse of subpoena 13
power, and to prevent such conduct in the future. Defense counsel was ...


... do “damage control.” Defense counsel
prepared and filed a motion, and appeared for oral argument on that motion. All of these
activities cost the District counsel fees, and all due solely to Ms. Gray’s abuse of subpoena
power.
In addition, Ms. Gray admitted that she routinely fills out subpoenas ...


... this
Court can, and will, enforce the Rules of Civil Procedure.14
IV. CONCLUSION
For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Governor Mifflin School District’s Motion for
Sanctions is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
An appropriate Order follows.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Lynne A. Sitarski
LYNNE A. SITARSKI
...


...
An appropriate Order follows.
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Lynne A. Sitarski
LYNNE A. SITARSKI
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 15
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ANDREA COLEMAN-HILL, : CIVIL ACTION
Plaintiff, :
v. : No.: 09-cv-5525
:
GOVERNOR MIFFLIN SCHOOL ...


...
BY THE COURT:
/s/ Lynne A. Sitarski
LYNNE A. SITARSKI
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 15
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ANDREA COLEMAN-HILL, : CIVIL ACTION
Plaintiff, :
v. : No.: 09-cv-5525
:
GOVERNOR MIFFLIN SCHOOL :
DISTRICT, :
Defendant. :
...


...
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
ANDREA COLEMAN-HILL, : CIVIL ACTION
Plaintiff, :
v. : No.: 09-cv-5525
:
GOVERNOR MIFFLIN SCHOOL :
DISTRICT, :
Defendant. :
ORDER
AND NOW, this 4TH day of November, 2010, upon consideration of Defendant
Governor Mifflin School District’s Motion for ...


... SCHOOL :
DISTRICT, :
Defendant. :
ORDER
AND NOW, this 4TH day of November, 2010, upon consideration of Defendant
Governor Mifflin School District’s Motion for Sanctions (Doc. No. 15); and Plaintiff Andrea
Coleman-Hill’s response thereto (Doc. No. 17); and the Court having heard Oral Argument;
...