Skip to main content

Gelb v. DHS, No. 15-6495, 2017 WL 4129636 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 15, 2107) (Sweet, J.)


Gelb v. DHS, No. 15-6495, 2017 WL 4129636 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 15, 2107) (Sweet, J.)

Re:  Request for certain records concerning certain outstanding funds

Disposition:  Granting defendants' motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search:  The court holds that "DHS, USM, USCIS, and ICE conducted searches 'reasonably designed to identify and locate responsive documents,' as required by the FOIA."  "Absent a showing of bad faith on the part of the agencies, of which there is none here, the agencies engaged in adequate searches in response to [plaintiff's] FOIA requests."
  • Exemption 7, Threshold & Exemption 7(C):  The court finds that "ICE's reliance on Exemptions 6 and 7(C) was proper."  First, the court holds that "["the first and last names, social security number or tax identification numbers, and alien numbers of the fund owners"] redacted by ICE was collected in the course of enforcing federal immigration law involving the apprehension and detention of aliens as well as their release on bond while immigration enforcement proceedings were pending."  "So, the law enforcement threshold for ICE's assertion of Exemption 7(C) is satisfied."  Second, the court finds that "each of the third parties whose information was withheld maintains a strong privacy interest in the protection of their personally identifying information" and, responding to plaintiff's only asserted public interest, the court finds that "[p]laintiff has not come forward with evidence reasonably supporting a belief that government wrongdoing has occurred that would warrant release of the withheld information."  The court also responds to plaintiff's age-based objection and finds that "[t]he presumption of death should not apply here, since an individual may be presumed to have died only if the record shows he would be at least one hundred years old."
  • Litigation Considerations, Relief:  The court holds that, "[t]o the extent Plaintiff asserts a due process violation premised on the Defendants' mishandling of his FOIA request, no plausible constitutional violation has been pled."  The court explains that "'because of the comprehensive scheme which FOIA establishes, including the availability of appropriate injunctive relief, federal courts have held that due process deprivations cannot be premised on an alleged FOIA violation.'"
  • Litigation Considerations:  The court holds that "[a]s [plaintiff's reference to] unclaimed uncashed checks account was not part of [his] FOIA request, the Court disregards all references to that account, including that defendants did not produce records about that account or discuss that account in their declarations."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 7
Exemption 7(C)
Exemption 7, Threshold
Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search
Litigation Considerations, Relief
Litigation Considerations, Supplemental to Main Categories
Updated December 8, 2021