Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Re: Request for results of an audit by American Correctional Association of FMC-Lexington Disposition: Granting in part plaintiff's motion for court costs
- Attorney Fees and Costs: The court concludes that analysis of plaintiff's eligibility to receive a portion of his filing fee is "unnecessary" because "it is undisputed that [plaintiff]'s FOIA request languished in the BOP/FOIA office for two years, and that the BOP responded to [plaintiff]'s request for documents only in response to his filing this FOIA action." The public has "a unique interest in the enforcement and vindication of the FOIA, [because] every time an agency disregards its obligation to diligently answer and provide information in response to FOIA requests, the public is harmed." With this rationale, "the first prong of the entitlement analysis suggests that the BOP's delay in responding to [plaintiff]'s FOIA request was unreasonable, and that [plaintiff] would be entitled to court costs." However, under the second prong of the entitlement analysis, “[plaintiff]'s personal motivation for filing this FOIA action outweighs any minimal or incidental public impact that may result from the BOP's failure to promptly provide him with the requested documents." Finally, the court must “determine if the BOP's withholding had a reasonable basis in law." The court determines that although "the BOP's delay in responding to [plaintiff]'s FOIA request was quite lengthy, . . . it resulted from an employee leaving the BOP and lack of supervisory and administrative oversight, not bad faith." Therefore, in balancing the factors used to determine "whether [plaintiff] is entitled to court costs," the court awards plaintiff $350.000 he paid for the filing fee but denies the remaining amount requested.
Updated August 6, 2014