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Geddis v. DHS, No. 23-00191, 2024 WL 663357 (D.D.C. Feb. 16, 2024) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.)


Geddis v. DHS, No. 23-00191, 2024 WL 663357 (D.D.C. Feb. 16, 2024) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning plaintiff

Disposition:  Converting defendant’s motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment; granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, Jurisdiction:  The court holds that “[b]ecause Plaintiff has failed to create a dispute of material fact that DHS (or ICE or HSI) received his [FOIA] request prior to filing this civil action, summary judgment is entered on DHS’s behalf.”  The court finds that “there is no disagreement that Plaintiff sent a request; the dispute is thus whether the ICE FOIA Office received it.”  “In response to DHS’s ‘comprehensive sworn testimony that [ICE and HSI] never received Plaintiff’s FOIA request[ ][,]’ . . . Plaintiff insists upon the opposite; he largely argues that the ICE FOIA Office (in the District) received his request on more than one occasion.”  “In support, Plaintiff offers several exhibits.”  “But . . . these exhibits are insufficient to generate a genuine [dispute] of material fact.”  “First, Plaintiff attaches a certified mailing label . . . accompanied by a tracking print-out from the United States Postal Service’s . . . website . . . .”  “But . . . Plaintiff incorrectly addressed the mailing containing his request, labelling it with the wrong zip code and the wrong quadrant, omitting a mail stop code, and including an incorrect floor number.”  “Second, Plaintiff attaches a series of exhibits meant to establish that he communicated back and forth with DHS in September and October 2022, including two agency response letters, and his execution of an agency fee agreement.”  “But . . . all of these communications were with . . . EOUSA’s FOIA/Privacy Staff Executive Office, not with DHS, ICE, or HSI.”  “Per Plaintiff’s own admission, he sent an identical request to EOUSA’s FOIA Office around the same time that he attempted to send his request to ICE’s FOIA Office.”  “Although the FOIA requests themselves may be the same, EOUSA’s receipt of the request is not tantamount to ICE’s receipt.”  “Finally, Plaintiff argues in the alternative that, despite any errors he committed, . . . DHS nonetheless now has notice of his request because it was served in this lawsuit . . . .”  “Although, in a vacuum, this statement is true, it is of no consequence, because a plaintiff bringing a FOIA or Privacy Act claim in federal court must file it with the given agency prior to bringing suit.”
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Jurisdiction
Updated March 8, 2024