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Baird v. DOI, No. 14-1879, 2015 WL 9315746 (E.D. La. Dec. 23, 2015) (Morgan, J.)


Baird v. DOI, No. 14-1879, 2015 WL 9315746 (E.D. La. Dec. 23, 2015) (Morgan, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning plaintiff's "claims of harassment, retaliation, and hostile work environment"

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

  • Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records:  The court holds that "[d]efendants in this case have exceeded their obligations under FOIA."  "Not only did the Defendants conduct an adequate search in response to Plaintiff’s initial FOIA request, Defendants have conducted several subsequent searches in an attempt to amicably resolve Plaintiff’s FOIA claims."  Additionally, "[t]he Court disagrees" with Plaintiff's argument that documents "must exist."  "As noted above, 'the issue to be resolved is not whether there might exist any other documents possibly responsive to the request, but rather whether the search for those documents was adequate.'"
  • Exemption 5, Deliberative Process Privilege: "Having reviewed the unredacted documents in camera, as well as the applicable law, the Court finds the redactions to be proper."  The court relates that "[p]laintiff . . . express[ed] concern over the Defendants’ redactions under the 'deliberative process' or 'pre-decisional' exemption in 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5)."  The court finds that "[t]he redactions withhold information that can fairly be characterized as 'deliberative' or 'pre-decisional' and are necessary to protect the integrity of the Defendants’ decision-making processes in this case."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 5
Exemption 5, Deliberative Process Privilege
Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records
Updated December 9, 2021