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Brown v. Meehan

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

September 22, 2014

KENNETH MICHAEL BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
D.J. MEEHAN and C.E. JOHNSON, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JAMES R. SPENCER, Senior District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on a Motion to Quash Subpoena Duces Tecum ("Motion") (ECF No. 10), filed by the Virginia Department of State Police ("VSP"). Specific ally, VSP requests that Request Nos. 1 and 5 be quashed. Plaintiff filed a Memorandum in Opposition on September 5, 2014 ("Opp'n Mem.") (ECF No. 13). VSP did not file a reply memorandum. A hearing was held on September 22, 2014. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is DENIED.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

This case involves injuries sustained by Plaintiff, Kenneth Michael Brown ("Brown'), during an arrest made by Virginia State Police troopers, C.E. Johnson ("Johnson") and Dist Meehan ("Meehan"). Brown had previously been convicted of a felony, to wit unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, on April 12, 1977. On August 2, 2004, then Governor Mark Warner restored Brown's civil rights, and on July 7, 2006, the Honorable Lee A. Harris, of the Henrico Circuit Court, entered an Order restoring Brown's right to possess firearms.

On October 12, 2012, Brown was lawfully transporting a firearm in plain view on the front passenger seat of his vehicle on his way to work. As he was driving west on Interstate 64 in Henrico County, he was pulled over by Meehan for speeding. When Meehan saw the firearm he confirmed that it was the only one in the car and then seized the weapon. Meehan directed Brown to get out of his vehicle and place his hands on the hood while he was subjected to a pat down search. After running Brown's license and registration, Meehan returned to the vehicle and ordered Brown out of his vehicle again. Meehan then handcuffed Brown, at which time Brown heard his left arm pop and experienced great pain. Brown advised Meehan that he was injured, and also advised him that he recently had two cervical spine surgeries.

Brown asked why he was being handcuffed and Meehan advised that as a convicted felon, Brown could not legally possess and carry a firearm. Brown tried to explain that his rights had been restored and he had proof in the form of a Henrico Circuit Court order located in the glove compartment of his vehicle. However, Meehan would not allow Brown to produce this documentation.

Shortly thereafter, Johnson arrived at the scene and he also refused to allow Brown to secure this documentation. The two Defendants then placed Brown into the police car.

After insisting that he was injured, Meehan and Johnson agreed to request an ambulance. When the paramedics arrived, Brown's handcuffs were removed, revealing bruising, welting and discoloration on his wrists and hands. Brown was then transported to St. Mar "s Hospital where he was treated for pain and numbness in his neck and left arm. After he was discharged, Brown's complaints continued and he was later diagnosed with a left rotator cuff tear, which required surgery on January 10, 2013.

Brown was not able to return to work full-time until July 29, 2013. His previous job position as an electrician was no longer available and he instead took a position at a temporary agency, working the night shift at a significant reduction in pay.

On June 28, 2014, Brown filed a 7-count complaint against Meehan and Johnson alleging, inter alia, excessive force and false arrest under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. On July 28, 2014, Brown issued to VSP a Subpoena to Produce Documents, Information, or Objects or to Permit Inspection of Premises pursuant to Rule 45. Specifically, Request No. 1 demands:

All documents that refer or relate to any internal investigation conducted by you into the events surrounding the Traffic Stop, including without limitation any statements made by Plaintiff, Defendants, or any other person; any reports generated; any evidence reviewed; and any Communications related to the investigation.

Request No. 5 demands:

The complete personnel file of each Defendant, including without limitation all records of training received, discipline administered, promotions received, compensation history, and any and all complaints made against either defendant.

VSP has admitted that it conducted an internal investigation of this incident. Brown made a statement to the VSP in connection with that incident. Based on information and belief, Meehan and Johnson made statements as well. Brown also believes that VSP is in ...


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