Lynch v. Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Civil Practice

New York Law Journal

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Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle

Defendant foundation was incorporated in 2009 to privatize the Southampton Animal Shelter, which it currently operates under an agreement with the Town of Southampton. Allen and Kelly are foundation directors. The foundation employs Bambrick—the town's animal shelter supervisor—as director of shelter operations. In 2011, in connection with Lynch's First Amendment civil rights action, the court so-ordered the parties' stipulation to a confidentiality order. Lynch allegedly breached that order by twice disclosing, in letters to a local newspaper's editor, wage and tax information about Bambrick and Allen. Discussing 28 USC §636(e), the magistrate judge declined to certify Lynch in civil contempt for allegedly violating the confidentiality order by publishing discovery information marked "confidential." The magistrate determined that the information about Bambrick's salary—and information that Allen was the primary source of the foundation's funding—was information in the public domain. Noting that neither Allen nor Bambrick were harmed or damaged by the challenged disclosure, the magistrate found the disclosure de minimis. Thus Lynch's conduct did not rise to the level warranting a certification of contempt.

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