Court Grants Motion to Compel Depositions of High-Ranking Government Officials in Sexual Harassment Case

In Boudouris v. Cty. of Nassau, No. 14-cv-6719, 2016 WL 4288645 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 15, 2016), a sexual harassment and retaliation case, the court cited and applied the standard for deposing “high-ranking government officials.”

In this case, plaintiff sought to take the depositions of two government officials: Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and Nassau County Sheriff Michael Sposato. The court granted plaintiff’s motion to compel this discovery.

The court summarized the law as follows:

In the Second Circuit, depositions of high-ranking government officials are permitted where: (1) the deposition is necessary in order to obtain relevant information that cannot be obtained from any other source; and (2) the deposition would not significantly interfere with the ability of the official to perform his or her governmental duties. Although a party must demonstrate “exceptional circumstances justifying the deposition, courts have allowed such depositions [w]here the government official was personally involved in the event(s) giving rise to the litigation.

Applying the law, the court held:

Plaintiff, who complains of sexual harassment and retaliation during her work for the Nassau County Deputy Sheriff, meets this standard. The depositions of Mangano and Sposato are necessary as Boudouris alleges that both officials were personally involved in the events that gave rise to the litigation. See DE [29] at 2-3 (alleging that Plaintiff spoke to Mangano “on at least nine occasions regarding discrimination and harassment,” sent Sposato a memorandum regarding “the sexual harassment within the Family Court Unit,” and that Mangano directed Sposato to transfer Boudouris to a different unit). She also claims that certain conversations with the government officials were private, demonstrating that the information cannot be obtained from a different source. Further, the depositions will not “significantly interfere” with Mangano and Sposato’s execution of their duties as Plaintiff agreed to limit the depositions to two hours each, and at a time and place agreeable to the officials.

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