E.G. v. Dep't of the Air Force, No. 17-00425, 2018 WL 1463536 (D.D.C. Mar. 23, 2018) (Lamberth, J.)
Re: Request for records concerning Administrative Discharge Board proceeding of third party
Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
- Exemption 6: The court holds that "the Air Force properly declined under Exemption 6 to release these documents in response to the plaintiff's FOIA request." The court relates that "[t]he Air Force granted the plaintiff's request in part, releasing only a copy of her testimony at the Board proceedings and denying the remainder of her request." The court first finds that "[t]he administrative discharge proceeding records are files covered by Exemption 6." "They are detailed government records about [the third party] that, if released, would be identified as applying to him." The court then finds that "disclosure of the records at issue could still result in 'embarrassment or stigma wrought by negative disclosures' and also reflects [the third party's] 'more general interest in the nondisclosure of diverse bits and pieces of information, both positive and negative, that the government, acting as an employer, has obtained and kept in the employee's personnel file.'" Against this, the court weighs plaintiff's allegations of misconduct and finds that, "[e]ven if these mere assertions were taken as truth, it is not clear that these events would prove the proceedings were conducted in bad faith." "In the absence of additional sufficient evidence, there is little 'counterweight on the FOIA scale' for the Court to balance against [the third party's] privacy interest."