District Court Decisions
Kyle v. Dep't of Educ., No. CCB-12-1639, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161084, (D. Md. Nov. 9, 2012) (Blake, J.). Holding: Granting defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction without prejudice. The court dismisses plaintiff's claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff has not submitted the verification of identity that is required by Department of Education regulations. In addition, processing of plaintiff's request was initially delayed because he failed to submit it to the correct address. The court notes that "an agency has not 'improperly' withheld records, and this court has no jurisdiction, where a requester has not complied with agency regulations." Accordingly, since plaintiff still has not complied with the Department of Education's regulations, his claim is dismissed without prejudice
Middleton v. United States , No. 6:12-cv-00041, 2012 WL 5426842 (W.D. Va. Nov. 7, 2012) (Moon, J.). Holding: Granting defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), the court dismisses plaintiff's claims that the Department of Labor was negligent in its processing of her FOIA requests. "Plaintiff's claims are barred by sovereign and judicial immunity." However, "[t]he FTCA contains a limited waiver of sovereign immunity, such that the United States shall be liable for the negligent or wrongful acts of its employees acting within the scope of their employment 'under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.'" Under the FTCA, "[p]laintiff would need to allege that a private person would be liable under Virginia law based on the circumstances presented in her complaint." The court notes that "[p]laintiff does not specify the duties that were allegedly breached during the course of her dealings with Federal employees and agencies." In addition, no Virginia law would hold Labor employees liable "in regards to FOIA complaints and enforcement. Given that the United States has not waived immunity in this case, Plaintiff's negligence claims arising from the alleged breach of undisclosed duties imposed by ERISA and FOIA must be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction."
The court also dismisses the claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The court comments that "[p]laintiff fails to even state the elements of her cause of action." Noting that there is "no indication as to how [plaintiff's] conclusory statements [with regard to DOL FOIA policies and procedures] connect to [plaintiff's] theory of negligence."
Hoover v. CIA, No. 6:11-cv-1459-Orl-28DAB, 2012 WL 4458370 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 26, 2012) (Antoon, J.). Holding: Dismissing plaintiff's complaint without prejudice; Granting defendant's motion in part and denying defendant's motion for summary judgment as moot. The court holds that plaintiff's complaint rests entirely on "frivolous factual allegations." The court determines that plaintiff relies on baseless allegations that the CIA is working to prevent disclosure of their actions against the nation on September 11, 2001 and other "similarly incredible" and "irrational factual allegations." Accordingly, the court dismisses the complaint filed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(b) without prejudice because it determines the action is frivolous.
Valencia v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Serv., No. 12-102, 2012 WL 3834938 (D. Utah Sept. 4, 2012) (Kimball, J.). Holding: Granting defendant's motion to dismiss and denying plaintiff's request for attorney fees. The court concludes that "the action is moot and [it] lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter" when the defendant "released Plaintiff's immigration file to his legal counsel…and subsequently released fourteen of the twenty-four pages that were initially withheld." With these actions "the controversy ceases to exist because the primary relief sought [by the plaintiff] has already been provided" by the defendant.
Bransgaard v. U.S. BOP Health Serv. Staff, No. 11-3122, 2012 WL 3732822 (E.D. N.C. Aug. 28, 2012) (Flanagan, J.). Holding: Granting defendant's motion to dismiss. The court finds that the plaintiff has not "provided the court with the information necessary to pursue a claim under the [FOIA]" where the "plaintiff has failed to show" he filed an administrative appeal and that "any information was improperly denied."
Brown v. FBI, No. 10-1292, 2012 WL 2786292 (D.D.C. July 10, 2012) (Lamberth, J.). Holding: Denying defendant's motion to dismiss; but granting defendant's motion for summary judgment on the basis that it conducted an adequate search, and properly withheld certain information pursuant to Exemptions 3, 7(C), 7(D) and 7(E); and denying plaintiff's motion for sanctions as well as his motion to supplement his motion for sanctions. The court denies defendant's motion to dismiss the action and instead considers its motion for summary judgment. The court observes that "plaintiff has not supported his contention [that the FBI improperly withheld the requested records] with even a scintilla of factual evidence," but finds that he "could amend his Complaint with the required factual material, including affidavits and the communication between himself and the FBI." The court concludes that "[b]ecause these documents are already in the Court's possession, there is no reason to wait for plaintiff to file yet another amended Complaint."
Kelly v. Judge Advoc. Gen. of the Navy, No. 12-3067, 2012 WL 1997862 (D. Kan. June 4, 2012) (Crow,J.). Holding: Granting plaintiff twenty days to submit a partial filing fee, and to show cause as to why this FOIA action should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The court dismisses plaintiff's FOIA claim brought against the "'Judge Advocate General of the Navy'" where he "does not allege that he submitted a FOIA request for information to a federal agency" or "describe what documents or information he requested in a FOIA request, or provide the agency's response to his FOIA request."
Surgick v. Cirella, No. 09-3807, 2011 WL 2600650 (D.N.J. June 29, 2011) (Hillman,J.). Holding: Denying IRS's motion to dismiss without prejudice. Noting that it appears that plaintiffs have exhausted their administrative remedies with respect to their request for records related to their deceased father and his estate and that the adequacy of the IRS's search remains at issue, the court denies the defendant's motion to dismiss and "encourage[s] the IRS to files its motion as one for summary judgment." The court notes that "[b]y doing so, the Court may properly consider the IRS's search for Plaintiffs' requested information, and may resolve any questions raised by Plaintiffs' accusations concerning improper retention and non-disclosure of documents."
Brown v. FBI, No. 10-1292, 2011 WL 2516420 (D.D.C. June 24, 2011) (Lamberth,J.). Holding: Denying as futile plaintiff's motion for leave to amend for all FOIA claims, except one brought against the Tax Division of DOJ; denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on the basis that he has not demonstrated that he exhausted his administrative remedies; and denying FBI's motion to dismiss. The court denies the FBI's motion to dismiss based on its assertion that it is not a proper party to a FOIA action. The court comments that "[n]o court has found that FOIA does not apply to the FBI, . . . and the fact that the FBI 'has litigated numerous FOIA cases in its own name before the Supreme Court, this court, and other circuit courts, with the DOJ as one of its components appearing as counsel,' . . . also suggests that substitution would be an unnecessary distraction." Accordingly, the court orders the FBI "to produce a Vaughn index" for the documents requested by plaintiff.