Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Huntington v. DOC, No. 15-2249, 2018 WL 647633 (D.D.C. Jan. 31, 2018) (Boasberg, J.)
Re: Request for records concerning Sensitive Application Warning System
Disposition: Granting defendant's second renewed motion for summary judgment
- Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search: The court holds that "Defendant has shown that it carried out the search in a manner reasonably calculated to locate documents responsive to [plaintiff's] FOIA requests." First, the court finds that "USPTO's search of electronic records is adequate." The court relates that "the USPTO complied with the request to search all [relevant] files by first identifying current and former [employees who would likely have records] and then proceeding to conduct searches of their records in a process almost identical to the one previously approved of by the Court." Defendant "perform[ed] email searches," "search[ed] their laptops and any other [relevant] electronic file locations," and used "key terms" to conduct the search. Additionally, "[defendant] sufficiently avers that the search 'was reasonably calculated to uncover all responsive records.'" Responding to plaintiff's argument, the court finds that "Defendant holds the stronger ground; its affidavits and declarations describing its search cannot be rebutted by 'purely speculative claims about the existence and discoverability of other documents.'" Second, the court finds similarly regarding defendant's search for paper records. Finally, the court responds to two more of plaintiff's arguments and finds that "[t]he USPTO 'has discretion to craft a list of search terms that it believes is reasonably tailored to uncover documents responsive to the FOIA request,'" and, "[a]lthough the USPTO did not provide specific details on the search formula it used, it does not follow that its search description is inadequate."
Adequacy of Search
Updated June 27, 2018