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Am. Association of Women v. DOJ, No. 14-2136, 2016 WL 958147 (D.D.C. Mar. 8, 2016) (Lamberth, J.)


Am. Association of Women v. DOJ, No. 14-2136, 2016 WL 958147 (D.D.C. Mar. 8, 2016) (Lamberth, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning Los Angeles Times Article about Los Angeles County Jail

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

  • Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records:  "After reviewing defendant's description of its search, the Court concludes that defendant has shown that it 'made a good faith effort to conduct a search for the requested records, using methods which [were] reasonably expected to produce the information requested.'"
  • Exemption 7(A):  "The Court is . . . satisfied that [certain] records were properly withheld from disclosure as exempt under § 552(b)(7)(A)."  The court finds that "Defendant demonstrates that the records in question were compiled for law enforcement purposes and shows that their disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with pending law enforcement proceedings."  "While defendant does not provide a listing of the documents that are withheld, the Court is satisfied by defendant's rationale that to do so would implicate the exact harm discussed above. Rather, defendant provides an analysis of each type and category of record that has been withheld."  "Defendant goes on to explain that it has reviewed the records at issue for segregability, to determine whether any portion of the records could have been segregated and released."  "After such review, defendant explains that 'the FBI is unable to release any information in the pending investigative file without jeopardizing prosecutorial efforts, revealing the scope and extent of the FBI’s investigations, or revealing the extent of cooperation within the investigation.'"
  • Exemption 1:  "[T]he Court will 'defer to [defendant's] sworn declaration that a number of responsive documents are classified' and therefore were properly withheld from disclosure as exempt under § 552(b)(1)."  The court relatesthat "[d]efendant notes that [it] reviewed all of the information responsive to plaintiff's FOIA request and determined that there is information which was properly classified under Executive Order 13,526."  "Defendant then went on to explain that the detailed information falling under this exemption could be used by 'hostile entities' to 'develop countermeasures that would, in turn, severely disrupt the FBI's intelligence-gathering capabilities.'"
  • Exemption 3:  "[T]he Court is satisfied that defendant properly withheld such portions of the responsive records as are exempt from disclosure under the National Security Act of 1947 as amended by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, 50 U.S.C. § 3024(i)(1)."  The court notes that "[d]efendant argues that the NSA as so amended provides that the Director of [National] Intelligence . . . has no discretion in whether to withhold information relating to intelligence sources and methods."
  • Exemptions 6 and 7(C):  "After reviewing defendant's argument and supporting evidence, the Court is satisfied that defendant has properly claimed both exemptions from disclosure as the responsive records included personal information of FBI Special Agents and support personnel, third-parties of 'investigative interest,' non-FBI federal government personnel, third-parties 'merely mentioned,' state and local law enforcement personnel, and third-parties who provided information to the FBI."
  • Exemption 7(D):  "Defendant's filing and attached declaration satisfies the Court that it properly withheld confidential source information as validly exempt under § 552(b)(7)(D)."  The court relates that "[d]efendant argues that the records withheld include confidential source information, information identifying confidential sources, and information provided by confidential sources under assurances of confidentiality."
  • Exemption 7(E):  "Defendant asserts it has properly withheld responsive materials under this exemption because the records include sensitive file numbers, dates and types of investigations, and collection and analysis[] of information, which each implicate exemption 7(E)."  "The Court agrees."
  • Waiver:  "The Court finds that there was no officially acknowledged and documented disclosure of the information at issue."  The court finds that it is "difficult to find a connection between the information allegedly reviewed by the L.A. Times and the records identified in defendant's records search," plaintiff has not "demonstrate[d] that the information they requested under FOIA matches the previously released information," and plaintiff has not "show[n] that the information requested was already 'made public through an official and documented disclosure.'"
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 1
Exemption 3
Exemption 6
Exemption 7(A)
Exemption 7(C)
Exemption 7(D)
Exemption 7(E)
Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records
Waiver and Discretionary Disclosure
Updated January 24, 2022