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Broward Bulldog, Inc. v. DOJ, No. 16-61289, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102583 (S.D. Fla. June 29, 2017) (Altonaga, J.)


Broward Bulldog, Inc. v. DOJ, No. 16-61289, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102583 (S.D. Fla. June 29, 2017) (Altonaga, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning commission created to investigate September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks

Disposition:  Granting defendant's motion for reconsideration; granting defendant's motion for summary judgment

  • Exemption 7(E):  The court grants defendant's motions for reconsideration and for summary judgment.  The court related that it previously "held 'the FBI . . . failed to meet its burden in establishing Exemption 7(E) applies to the redacted information[.]'"  The court now notes that "Exemption 7(E) applies to 'records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes . . . to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information . . . (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations . . ..'"  "The latest [defendant] Declaration lays out how the redactions . . . prevent the disclosure of law enforcement techniques and procedures, even though the redacted content does not directly discuss techniques and procedures."  The court notes that "[a]lthough the Eleventh Circuit has not addressed [this] issue[,] . . . [the lower courts] appear to follow the D.C. Circuit in requiring a showing of a risk of circumvention of the law for a 7(E) Exemption to apply to documents disclosing 'techniques or procedures.'"  The court finds that, "'given the low bar posed by the "risk circumvention of the law" requirement, it is not clear that the difference matters much in practice.'"  The court finds that "[defendant's] Declaration sets forth how disclosure of the redacted contents would aid a criminal in violating the law or escaping legal consequences."  Finally, the court finds that "[p]laintiffs are correct in stating Defendants could have certainly addressed the applicability of Exemption 7(E) . . . in their Reply in Support of their Second MSJ . . ., which was filed after Plaintiffs clarified to Defendants their intention of challenging the redactions in the Document."  However, "[n]otwithstanding this failure by Defendants, because the May 16 Order rests on a misapplication of the 7(E) standard, the Court will grant reconsideration."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 1
Exemption 3
Exemption 5
Exemption 5, Deliberative Process Privilege
Exemption 6
Exemption 7(C)
Exemption 7(D)
Exemption 7(E)
Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search
Updated December 14, 2021