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Albaladejo v. ICE, No. 19-3806, 2021 WL 354173 (D.D.C. Feb. 2, 2021) (Contreras, J.)


Albaladejo v. ICE, No. 19-3806, 2021 WL 354173 (D.D.C. Feb. 2, 2021) (Contreras, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning air transportation of noncitizen detainees with certain medical conditions

Disposition:  Denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment; denying defendant's motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search:  "In light of the evidence presented by Plaintiff, the Court finds that ICE has not demonstrated that its search for records was adequate."  The court notes that "[defendant] states that the supervisory mission support personnel 'searched paper files, his computer files, and Outlook by using the search function, with the term "medical."'"  The court finds that "[t]he declaration does not state why a search of this individual's files would be 'reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents.'"  "It is not clear whether this individual would normally maintain transfer authorizations or medical summaries for detainees being transported by air on his computer or among his files."  "The agency's declaration . . . is sparse on details."  "More information is required for the Court to determine whether the agency adequately searched its records."  "More problematic, however, is ICE's failure to address any of the evidence presented by Plaintiff."  "The [ICE Air Operations ("IAO")] Handbook supports Plaintiff’s contention that air transport authorizations that include medical summaries are sent to IAO prior to transporting detainees."  The court finds that "this strongly suggests that IAO receives medical summaries via email prior to transporting detainees."  "In its declarations and briefing, ICE makes no effort to confront this evidence or to explain why the 'ICE Air Mailboxes,' or other offices within IAO . . . would not reasonably contain responsive records."  "There may be good reasons these other locations were not searched, but if there are, ICE does not provide them."  For similar reasons, the court finds that "[t]he IAO teleconference meeting minutes cited by Plaintiff – which ICE ignored – provide further support for her position."  "[T]he Court finds that Plaintiff brings more than mere speculation; the evidence in the record 'reveals "positive indications of overlooked materials."'"
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search
Updated February 26, 2021