Skip to main content

Contreras & Metelska, P.A., v. ICE, No. 21-1148, 2023 WL 7306139 (D. Minn. Nov. 6, 2023) (Tunheim, J.)


Contreras & Metelska, P.A., v. ICE, No. 21-1148, 2023 WL 7306139 (D. Minn. Nov. 6, 2023) (Tunheim, J.)

Re:  Request for certain emails of specific managing attorney

Disposition:  Granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection:  The court holds that “[b]ecause the Vaughn Index and [defendant’s] declarations are credible and adequate, ICE has fully discharged its duties under FOIA.”  The court relates that “[Plaintiff] requests an in camera review of the remaining contested documents.”  The court finds that “there is little to suggest that the FOIA search was conducted in bad faith.”  “Throughout the negotiations, ICE continued to reevaluate the redactions and disclose additional information as needed.”  “No documents were withheld in full; each document was reviewed line by line to segregate any nonexempted material.”  “The Vaughn Index explained in detail why redactions were made, and [defendant’s] declarations further explained the process.”  “There are two specific acts of misconduct alleged to be bad faith such that in camera review would be warranted: the statements in [defendant’s] supplement declaration and [the subject managing attorney’s] alleged discriminatory policy towards [plaintiff].”  “Neither require further review of the redactions.”  “[Defendant’s] statements in [its] supplemental declaration do not rise to bad faith conduct.”  “ICE turned over some documents later in litigation that were originally claimed under attorney-client privilege.”  “Upon disclosure of those documents, it became clear that attorney-client privilege did not and should not have applied.”  “Even after disclosure, [defendant] maintained that the redacted information was properly withheld.”  “While [defendant] may have been wrong, that alone is not bad faith conduct.”  “[The subject managing attorney’s] workplace conduct likewise does not rise to the level of bad faith.”  “While the documents may not paint ICE in the most flattering light, [the subject managing attorney’s] no contact policy towards [plaintiff] was widely known and thus disclosure of additional information surrounding this policy is unlikely to greatly impact ICE or operate as a cover up.”  “As such, the Court will find that [the subject managing attorney’s] conduct, while problematic, does not justify additional review of the redacted documents.”  “Finally, after reviewing documents in camera that seemed to be lacking adequate explanation, the Court found no evidence of improper withholding.”  “The documents were redacted as explained in the Vaughn Index and [defendant’s] declarations.”  “ICE also properly withheld the statute under which it redacted documents pursuant to Exemption 3.”  “Public disclosure of the statute would in fact undermine the information it aimed to keep confidential.”  “Ultimately, the Court finds no reason to further review the redactions performed by ICE, concluding that ICE fully discharged its duties under FOIA.”
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection
Updated December 5, 2023