Friday, January 23, 2015
Gahagan v. USCIS, No. 14-2233, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8094 (E.D. La. Jan. 23, 2015) (Brown, J.)
Re: Request for plaintiff's client's immigration file
Disposition: Granting in part and denying in part plaintiff's motion for summary judgment
- Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records: The court holds that "[plaintiff] is not entitled to summary judgment on this issue." The court finds that "[defendant's] declaration identifies where [defendant] searched and states the reasons why [defendant] conducted its search in the manner described, in light of the nature of [plaintiff's] FOIA request." The court also finds that defendant includes a "declaration [which] states that [defendant's declarant] personally supervised the search." Therefore, the court concludes that "construing all facts and inferences in the light most favorable to Defendant, [the court] concludes that a reasonable fact-finder could find for Defendant."
- Procedural Requirements, Duplicates, Consultations and Referrals: The court holds that, rather than the agency to which certain documents were referred, "[d]efendant may . . . properly be held responsible for the failure to produce the 'duplicate' documents." The court explains that "[d]efendant has not furnished the Court with any information that permits it to determine de novo whether the documents actually are duplicates of documents already disclosed." Additionally, "the Court has found no authority establishing that a document may be withheld because it is a 'duplicate' of others already disclosed." The court finds that "the net effect of the referral at issue here is 'significantly to impair' [plaintiff's] ability to obtain the records and 'significantly to increase the amount of time he must wait to obtain them,' rendering the referral a 'withholding.'' "Therefore, the 10 pages of 'duplicate' documents have been improperly withheld, and the responsibility to account for them rests with Defendant, not [the agency to which the documents were referred]."
- Litigation Considerations, Vaughn Index/Declaration: "Since [the] Court currently lacks a sufficient or accurate basis for decision, it will grant [plaintiff's] request for a Vaughn index."
- Litigation Consideration, In Camera Inspection: "[T]he Court concludes that in camera review, which it may order in its discretion, is unnecessary at this time."
In Camera Review
Referral of Record
Referral of Request
Updated April 21, 2015