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Am. Immigration Lawyers Ass'n v. EOIR, No. 13-840, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176975 (D.D.C. Dec. 24, 2014) (Cooper, J.)


Am. Immigration Lawyers Ass'n v. EOIR, No. 13-840, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176975 (D.D.C. Dec. 24, 2014) (Cooper, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning complaints against judges and final written resolutions of those complaints

Disposition: Granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion for summary judgment; granting in part and denying in part plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment

  • Exemption 6:  The court "grant[s] EOIR's summary judgment motion as it relates to the redaction of the judges' personal identifying information."  "[W]hile the Court recognizes that [plaintiff] has raised important public policy concerns regarding the operation of the nation's immigration courts, [plaintiff] can pursue these objectives through the records EOIR has already released."  "Further disclosure of the names, genders, and locations of the IJ mentioned in the complaints would encroach upon the IJs' privacy interests without appreciably illuminating the agency's performance of its duties."
  • Procedural Requirements, Proper FOIA Requests:  Despite defendant's claim to the contrary, the court holds that "[i]nformation that 'concerned other complaints against the immigration judge or other immigration judges' plainly falls within the scope of [plaintiff's] request for '[a]ll complaints filed against immigration judges' and '[a]ll records that reflect the resolution of complaints filed against immigration judges.'"  "As a result, the Court concludes that this information is responsive to [plaintiff's] request and EOIR must release any material withheld from the complaint records on that basis."
  • Proactive Disclosures:  "The Court agrees with EOIR" and finds "that FOIA does not require publication of the complaint resolutions because they merely deal with internal employee disciplinary matters and are not adversarial adjudications with precedential effect or the force of law."  Therefore, "the Court concludes that IJ complaint resolutions do not constitute final opinions or orders under Section 552(a)(2)(A) and, consequently, EOIR need not proactively disclose them."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 6
Proactive Disclosures
Procedural Requirements, Proper FOIA Requests
Updated January 24, 2022