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Brooks v. Hinzman

United States District Court, D. Kansas

March 17, 2014

SHAYLA BROOKS, Plaintiff,
v.
JANINE HINZMAN, et al. Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

KAREN M. HUMPHREYS, Magistrate Judge.

This matter comes before the court on the separate motions by defendants Hinzman and Achatz (Doc. 34) and by plaintiff (Doc. 41) for an in camera inspection and production of agency records. Consistent with the parties' stipulated Protective Order, [1] the parties submitted agency records of the Kansas Department for Children and Families ("DCF") to the court for in camera inspection as required by K.S.A. § 38-2212(e). The court must determine whether the documents "are necessary for the proceedings of the court and otherwise admissible as evidence" and "specify the terms of disclosure and impose appropriate limitations."[2] After its review, the court outlines the terms by which the documents must be disclosed.

Defendants Hinzman and Achatz's motion (Doc. 38)

Defendants Hinzman and Achatz submitted to the court those DCF agency records that are in their possession. For ease of reference, the court uses the Bates numbers assigned by defendants to identify those documents.

The court finds that the following documents should not be produced to any party, for the reasons specified below:

• DCF000424-426: These pages contain a discussion of how the agency is to manage an ongoing DCF investigation in concert with a pending lawsuit. These communications are deemed attorney-client privileged and must not be produced.
• DCF000431-434: These agency records relate to an individual with no ties to plaintiff or her family. The documents appear to have been placed in the DCF file in error and are irrelevant to this case.
• DCF000862-966: These records contain allegations of abuse of one of plaintiff's children by an unrelated minor while the child was at daycare. These documents are neither relevant nor necessary to this case and would be inadmissible at trial.
• DCF000753: This document is a photocopy of a non-party's drivers' license and Social Security card. Neither the TFI defendants[3] nor plaintiff address this document in their briefing, and the court is unable to determine the relevance of the information. Therefore, the court finds that this document is neither relevant nor necessary to this case and would be inadmissible at trial.

The following documents should be produced because the documents are necessary to the current proceedings of this court and otherwise admissible as evidence.[4] For ease of discussion, the documents are considered in the categories used by the parties and the limitations on disclosure for each group are outlined below.

1. Information and statements made by plaintiff's children to their therapists, social workers, or law enforcement

Defendants Hinzman and Achatz possess documents which contain information and statements made by plaintiff's children to therapists, social workers and law enforcement. Defendants claim that allegations exist regarding possible retaliation to the children for statements made to those individuals. However, the parties agree that production of any documents or the information contained in those documents as "attorneys' eyes only" strikes the appropriate balance between disclosure of relevant information and the protection of the children. Therefore, the information should be disclosed only to counsel for each party. If any party wishes to later disclose such information, or use it in any deposition, motion, or trial, the party must seek leave of the court to do so.

2. Portions of Kansas Standard Offense Reports that are not public record

Agency records numbered DCF000513-518 and DCF001740-744 contain non-public portions of separate Kansas Standard Offense reports involving plaintiff and/or her children. These documents are confidential under K.S.A. § 45-221(a)(10) and may only be disclosed pursuant to a court order.[5] The parties have agreed that these documents are relevant to this matter, and that disclosure of the documents as "attorneys' eyes only" strikes an appropriate balance between the release of relevant information and the protection of the individuals named in the ...


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