Falkenstein v. HUD, No. 12-2000(EGS), 2013 WL 3467018 (D.D.C. July 11, 2013) (Sullivan, J.)

Thursday, July 11, 2013
Re: Request for performance review reports for National Council of LaRaza and its affiliate, and records pertaining to the delay in processing request Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
  • Adequacy of the Search:  The court "finds that the searches described by HUD could be 'reasonably expected to produce the information requested and were therefore adequate.'"  Defendant searched the offices most likely to have responsive records and the declaration "sets forth the individuals tasked with searching and the processes undertaken to search for documents in these offices."  Plaintiff did not oppose this showing. 
  • Exemption 4:  The court affirms defendant's withholding under Exemption 4 because "[t]he affidavit and the Vaughn Index provided by HUD indicate that the information withheld concerns the private funding and financial statements of [the subjects of the request], release of which would cause substantial competitive harm[.]"  Plaintiff "provided no argument to the contrary."
  • Exemption 6:  The court affirms defendant's withholdings under Exemption 6 when "the information withheld consists of the names of private citizens, most appearing to be in conjunction with either (1) personnel matters relating to individuals employed [by the subjects], or (2) personal finance matters relating to individuals served by [the subjects] who are attempting to get out of debt or foreclosure or to improve their credit." "This type of information implicates substantial privacy interests . . . and the Court is not aware of any public interest in disclosure of the names, nor has plaintiff indicated that any exists."
  • Segregability:  The court concludes that defendant has fulfilled its segregability obligation when the "documents have careful and pinpointed redactions of names and financial information [and] the remaining information has been released."
Adequacy of Search
District Court
Exemption 4
Exemption 6
Updated August 6, 2014