Shanahan v. New Jersey Transit, Docket No. ESX-L-7409-08 (Law Div., Feb. 5, 2010)

Deliberative process privilege does not apply to document requests in employment-related claims.

The plaintiff alleged sex and sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation stemming from her employment with New Jersey Transit. In discovery the plaintiff sought various reports prepared by New Jersey Transit concerning the analysis of employment data and hiring patterns. New Jersey Transit refused to produce the records and asserted that the reports contained opinions, recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by which decisions and policies are formulated and that disclosure would impede New Jersey Transit's ability to effectively manage its affairs. In compelling the production of the reports, Judge Vena concluded that the Deliberative Process Privilege did not apply to claims alleging employment discrimination absent a particularly strong showing of limited relevance or the inclusion of highly sensitive material.

Case Law Alert - 3rd Qtr 2010