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Court Denies Former Detective’s Request to Inspect Orlando Police Department’s Computer Hard Drives

Posted in CASE SUMMARIES

Floeter v. City of Orlando, 2006 WL 1000306 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 14, 2006)

In this case, plaintiff alleged that he was the victim of sexual harassment, a hostile work environment, and retaliation while working as a detective with the Orlando Police Department (OPD). He served a request for production of documents and a request to inspect computer hard drives at OPD, which he styled as a request for entry upon land. When OPD objected to some of the requests, plaintiff filed a motion to compel.

The court denied plaintiff’s motion to gain entry into the OPD offices to inspect the computer hard drives of computers used by two individuals. The city had argued that the subject hard drives contained much information that was not relevant to the issues in the case, and that they may contain information about ongoing criminal investigations, confidential sources, and the like. The court observed that Rule 34 “permits a party to request documents, but it ‘does not give the requesting party the right to conduct the actual search,’” citing In re Ford Motor Co., 345 F.3d 1315, 1317 (11th Cir. 2003). It also noted that plaintiff had not made any showing that he had requested information contained on the computer hard drives which the city had failed to produce. Under these circumstances, the court concluded it would not grant plaintiff’s inspection request.

In addition, the court denied or narrowed several of plaintiff’s requests for production. One such request sought a copy of a computer printout of all emails from the computer of a particular lieutenant to anyone from 2000 to the present. The court noted that plaintiff had not explained why a computer printout, if one existed, of all emails from the lieutenant’s computer would lead to the discovery of admissible evidence in the case, and denied the motion as to that request.