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DaSilva v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Serv., No. 13-13, 2013 WL 4780267 (E.D. La. Sept. 4, 2013) (Africk, J.)

Re: Request for plaintiff's alien file and copies of e-mails concerning plaintiff sent to and/or received from specific individuals Disposition: Granting defendant's motion in part; denying plaintiff's motion in part; deferring ruling on certain records; dismissing as moot claims related to pages referred to another agency
  • Exemption 5/Deliberative Process Privilege:  The court concludes that an in camera review of certain documents is necessary because "the handwritten notes are apparently not dated and that the Vaughn index does not provide information by which the Court could ascertain their date [and] it is impossible to determine the agency decision to which these documents contributed."  For certain e-mails, the court concludes in camera review is necessary because "[t]he Vaughn index's discussion of the e-mails withheld in whole or in part generally consist of repetitive conclusory statements."  "While there is nothing unlawful about using a 'cut and paste' word processor function to repeat the same argument, doing so is not helpful where that argument is not specific enough to justify summary judgment."  Additionally, the court will conduct an in camera review of certain documents where "[t]he Vaughn index directly addresses the deliberative process privilege, but it is not at all apparent that this privilege is applicable to these documents" and where "the attorney-client privilege or attorney work product privilege seem the more likely candidates."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 5
Updated August 6, 2014