Andrews v. FBI, No. CV F 11-1659 LJO DLB, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2973 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 8, 2013) (O'Neill, J.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Re: Request for all records pertaining to Requester, investigative records pertaining to third parties, and records of prison visits between third parties Disposition: Granting defendant's motion to dismiss
  • Damages: "Section 552(a)(4)(B) authorizes a court 'to enjoin the agency from withholding agency records and to order the production of any agency records improperly withheld' but does not authorize an award of damages."
  • Exhaustion: The court finds that the plaintiff "failed to exhaust administrative remedies as to most of the categories of records which the [First Amended Complaint (FAC)] seeks." Several categories of records sought in the FAC do not correspond to the records described in the plaintiff's requests or the records specified in his appeal letters. "FAC claims related to such documents are subject to dismissal in the absence of exhausted administrative remedies."
  • Search: The court upholds the FBI's search for certain categories of records where no responsive documents were found, finding that there was nothing in the record that challenged the FBI's showing that it satisfied the FOIA's requirements.
  • Exemption 6/7(C): The court "agrees with the FBI's assertion of the sections 552(b)(6) and 552(b)(7)(C) exemptions to withhold prisoner visit records." Disclosure of "family affairs in law enforcement records 'can cause unwarranted speculation and inference stigmatizing the individuals involved.'" Although the plaintiff asserts that the subject of the request is deceased, "[t]he FBI produces Bureau of Prisons data that [the subject of the request] remains alive." The court also notes that that plaintiff "fails to demonstrate that public interest in requested records outweighs [the third parties'] privacy interest."
  • Allegations of Bad Faith: "The record reveals no FBI bad faith to respond to [plaintiff's] first and second FOIA requests, especially considering the brea[d]th of requested information over unlimited time periods."
Allegations of Bad Faith
District Court
Exemption 6
Exemption 7C
Updated August 6, 2014