Carter v. Dep't of Agric., No. 16-1050, 2016 WL 5745123 (W.D. Ark. Sept. 30, 2016) (Hickey, J.)
Re: Request for information concerning National Disqualification List
Disposition: Adopting in part and declining to adopt in part Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation; denying in part plaintiff's motion for service; dismissing in part plaintiff's case; referring one matter to Magistrate Judge for further consideration
Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies: First, "the Court concludes that Plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies with respect to [one request] . . . because USDA did not respond to the appeal within the 20-day time limit set forth in 5 U.S.C. 552." "Therefore, the Court finds that it was proper for Plaintiff to file a federal action regarding FOIA." Second, the court finds that "nothing in the record indicates that Plaintiff appealed USDA's denial of [another FOIA request]" and, therefore, "[p]laintiff did not exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to [this FOIA request], and therefore, the Court finds that Plaintiff could not file a federal action related to this request." Third, the court finds that "[t]he record contains [little] evidence regarding [a third FOIA request], [including] whether USDA made a determination, or whether Plaintiff appealed, as he claims." "Because of this, Plaintiff's argument cannot be substantiated." "Thus, the Court finds that Plaintiff did not exhaust his administrative remedies and could not file a federal action related to [this third FOIA request]."