Bartko v. DOJ, No. 13-1135, 2016 WL 4506968 (D.D.C. Aug. 26, 2016) (Boasberg, J.)

Date: 
Friday, August 26, 2016

Bartko v. DOJ, No. 13-1135, 2016 WL 4506968 (D.D.C. Aug. 26, 2016) (Boasberg, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning plaintiff

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

  • Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search: The court finds that defendant's "supporting declaration explains that the agency wisely went ahead and reviewed the [previously not searched] [plaintiff] file, eventually confirming that it does not contain [responsive] records[.]" The court finds that, "[b]ecause Plaintiff has not suggested that [defendant's] declaration – and specifically [defendant's] statement that [it] searched the [plaintiff] file and determined that it did not contain materials responsive to the FOIA request – was made in bad faith, the Court is entitled to defer to it." "Regardless of whether [defendant's] decision not to search the [plaintiff] file would have been justified in the first instance, the agency's submissions now demonstrate that it has adequately searched that file and that no responsive materials exist therein." Additionally, the court finds that the fact "[t]hat [plaintiff] has identified other information of interest to him that [defendant] did not produce does not render the agency's FOIA search inadequate, especially where he has not shown that such material is responsive to his request." Similarly, the court finds that "[a]lthough [plaintiff] hypothesizes that another file might contain responsive records, he offers no evidence, beyond his suppositions, that [defendant] even had a [certain] file [potentially responsive to his request] and presents only the barest of explanations as to why he believes such a file, if it did exist, might contain [responsive] material[.]"
Topic: 
Adequacy of Search
District Court
Litigation Considerations
Updated January 19, 2017