Burke v. EOUSA, No. 15-1151, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44854 (D.D.C. Mar. 20, 2018) (Sullivan, J.)

Date: 
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Burke v. EOUSA, No. 15-1151, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44854 (D.D.C. Mar. 20, 2018) (Sullivan, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning third party for whom plaintiff had provided proof of death

Disposition: Granting defendants' renewed motion for summary judgment

  • Exemption 3:  The court holds that "summary judgment is granted to the FBI on its Exemption 3 withholdings."  The court relates that "[t]he FBI invokes Exemption 3 in conjunction with Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which regulates the disclosure of matters before a grand jury."  The court finds that the FBI properly withheld "the names of recipients of grand jury subpoenas, save that of [a] murder victim . . ., and 'specific categories of information that the grand jury subpoenaed as part of its investigation.'"
     
  • Exemption 7(C):  The court holds that "summary judgment is granted on the FBI's Exemption 7(C) withholdings[.]"  The court relates that the FBI withheld the names of "FBI special agents and support personnel, other federal government employees, persons of 'investigative interest,' persons 'merely mentioned,' local and state law enforcement personnel, persons who provided information, and persons with criminal records or rap sheets."  The court finds that "[t]he declarant has adequately explained the potential harm in disclosing such information."  "Plaintiff has neither contested the FBI's valid justifications nor produced any evidence to trigger consideration of an overriding public interest."
     
  • Exemption 7(D):  The court holds that "summary judgment is granted on the FBI's Exemption 7(D) withholdings."  The court relates that "[t]he FBI withheld the 'permanent source symbol number of a [single] confidential source,' which the Court finds proper since such numbers are assigned 'to confidential informants who report information to the FBI on a regular basis pursuant to an express assurance of confidentiality.'"  "In addition, the FBI withheld information shown to have been provided under express assurances of confidentiality . . . which is authorized by the plain language of Exemption 7(D)."  Finally, the court finds that "[i]n light of the brazen nature of the investigated crime and plaintiff's ultimate conviction, it is reasonable to infer that the individual [whose name the FBI also withheld] would have provided information to the FBI under an implied assurance of confidentiality."  The court relates that the crime at issue was "'[the] murder of a Federal Grand Jury witness[.]
Topic: 
District Court
Exemption 3
Exemption 7C
Exemption 7D
Updated July 3, 2018