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Referral of Request

District Court Decisions

Wilson v. DOT, No. 09-1748, 2010 WL 3184300 (D.D.C. Aug. 11, 2010) (Collyer, J.). Despite plaintiff's claim that FHWA maintains control of certain responsive EEO complaints, the court finds that FHWA's "referral to the Departmental Office of Civil Rights was consistent with the DOT FOIA regulations, which permit DOT agencies to 'refer the request (or relevant portion thereof) for decision by a Federal agency that originated or is substantially concerned with the records.'"

Truesdale v. DOJ, No. 08-1862, 2010 WL 3199939 (D.D.C. Aug. 13, 2010) (Friedman, J.). The court declines to consider whether plaintiff's request reasonably describes the records sought where plaintiff alleges that his request was intended for the Office of the United States Attorney General, rather than the recipient of the request, BOP. Plaintiff asserts that "the description set forth in his request [which was submitted to the Justice Management Division's Mail Referral Unit] 'is sufficient for the United States Attorney General or a professional employee that work[s] in the [Attorney General's Office] who is familiar with the subject area of the request to locate the records with a reasonable amount of effort.'" The court finds that DOJ failed to "explain the route by which plaintiff's . . . letter, apparently sent to the Attorney General, made its way to the BOP or to indicate whether the Referral Unit forwarded the request to the BOP and/or another DOJ component." The court notes that "[a]ssuming that the DOJ Referral Unit staff did refer plaintiff's request to the BOP, defendant does not articulate its interpretation of the request or otherwise explain why the BOP was deemed the component best able to process the request, whether it also sent the request to any other component, and if not, why not." Accordingly, "[t]he Court cannot determine on the current record whether the DOJ has improperly withheld records responsive to [plaintiff's request]."

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