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Records Requested by Victim Ordered When Police Failed to Justify Lawful Exemption

Massachusetts resident Tameeka Messier filed a motion to compel to acquire documents from the Boston Police Department, Area D 14 (BPD), regarding an injury she allegedly suffered in 1997 during a concert. The BPD failed to present a lawful exemption under the Public Records Act and the court ruled that Messier was entitled to her discovery with the exception of a detective's personal notebook notes, as they were "work product."

Defendants Lane and Bledsoe allegedly dove from the stage and landed on Messier at a concert. The BPD conducted an investigation and Detective Kevin Mullen testified before a hearing board of his findings but did not identify his reliance on specific witnesses. No charges were brought as a result. Messier requested all reports and witness interviews regarding the investigation, including Mullen's notes, and was denied. Messier then served a deposition subpoena to the BPD's keeper of records and was denied. She was told they were exempt as "investigatory materials," "medical records," and "materials or data relating to a specifically named individual, the disclosure of which may constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy." Messier then brought this action.

The court ruled that the BPD had failed to carry their burden of demonstrating that any claimed exemption was applicable and granted the production under a protective order. See: Messier v. Bledsoe, 8 Mass. L. Rep. 286 (Mass. Super. 1998).

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Related legal case

Messier v. Bledsoe