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Bartko v. DOJ, No. 17-781, 2019 WL 3069165 (D.D.C. July 12, 2019) (Boasberg, J.)


Bartko v. DOJ, No. 17-781, 2019 WL 3069165 (D.D.C. July 12, 2019) (Boasberg, J.)

Re:  Request for certain information concerning plaintiff

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

  • Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies:  The court rejects defendant's exhaustion requirement and holds that "the Court laid this dispute to rest when it concluded that 'FOIA's exhaustion requirement' did not bar Plaintiff's suit and requested further briefing only on the merits of the fee waiver."  "If conversely, Defendant is contending that the administrative record does not support Plaintiff, it is mistaken there, too."  "As explained . . . [plaintiff] has cited the public interest in his efforts outside of litigation to obtain a fee waiver."
  • Fees and Fee Waivers, Fee Waivers:  The court notes that "EOUSA acknowledges that disclosure is not sought for [plaintiff's] commercial interest" and, regarding the public interest factors, that "[t]he parties only dispute [whether "'(4) disclosure must be likely to contribute significantly to such public understanding'"], as EOUSA essentially concedes the other three [factors]."  The court held that "the public interest is to educate the public about a larger pattern of prosecutorial misconduct in the Eastern District of North Carolina."  The court relates that "[t]he D.C. Circuit was persuaded that disclosure of those documents fulfilled the waiver requirements because it was 'likely to contribute significantly to the public's understanding of how federal prosecutors endeavor to secure convictions by sidestepping important constitutional protections for the accused and how the [criminal justice] system functions in reality compared to how the system was intended to function.'"  "Disclosure was particularly crucial because the issues in Plaintiff's case took place in a district that is fraught with discovery abuses."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Fees and Fee Waivers
Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
Updated January 7, 2022