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De Paco v. USCBP, No. 14-5017, 2016 WL 344522 (D.N.J. Jan. 27, 2016) (Cooper, J.)


De Paco v. USCBP, No. 14-5017, 2016 WL 344522 (D.N.J. Jan. 27, 2016) (Cooper, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning revocation of plaintiff’s membership in Global Trusted Traveler Program

Disposition: Granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection:  "[The] Court will not require in camera review of CBP’s redacted documents because we are satisfied with the specificity of the affidavit submitted by CBP in justification of the redactions."  "Furthermore, Plaintiff has not asserted any bad faith on the part of CBP so as to overcome the presumption of good faith accorded to [defendant's] affidavit."  The court also find that "[defendant's] affidavit is sufficiently detailed regarding the nature of the withheld documents and the asserted basis for the applicable exemptions such that in camera review is not appropriate."
  • Exemptions 6 & 7(C):  "[T]he Court finds that CBP properly redacted these portions of the documents under Exemptions 6 and 7(C)."  At issue are withholdings on parts of a "comments list" and a "risk assessment worksheet."  "With respect to Exemption 6, the Court finds, as a threshold matter, that CBP’s records fall within the scope of 'similar files' that warrant protection under Exemption 6."  The court explains that "[w]hile FOIA encourages an open and transparent government, we find that disclosure of terminal identifiers and employee names and phone numbers amounts to a 'clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy' that provides little insight to the public as to why CBP revoked Plaintiff’s membership in the global traveler program, or how CBP responds to such inquiries generally."  "It is for this same reason that the Court finds that the information was properly withheld under Exemption 7(C)."
  • Exemption 7(E):  "[T]he Court finds that CBP properly redacted parts of the documents under Exemption 7(E)."  The court relates that "CBP invokes Exemption 7(E) to protect 'information that would reveal how queries were conducted in specific law enforcement databases and the results of those queries.'"  "The Court concludes that CBP properly redacted the law enforcement sensitive information because the agency logically demonstrated 'how the release of the requested information might create a risk of circumvention of the law.'"
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 6
Exemption 7(C)
Exemption 7(E)
Litigation Considerations, In Camera Inspection
Updated January 13, 2022