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James v. DOD, No. 18-00028, 2018 WL 4926302 (D. Ala. Oct. 10, 2018) (Sedwick, S. J.)


James v. DOD, No. 18-00028, 2018 WL 4926302 (D. Ala. Oct. 10, 2018) (Sedwick, S. J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning wrongful death lawsuit

Disposition:  Granting in part and denying in part plaintiff's motion for summary judgment; granting in part and denying in part defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment

  • Exemption 6:  The court holds that "[t]he names and current locations of the employees must be produced."  The court finds that "[o]f course, providing the names and locations does mean the individuals lose total control of their privacy, but in a context wherein the individuals may have information relating to the death of another individual, the intrusion does not rise to such a level that the names and locations must be kept secret."  "Defendant suggests that giving information about a wrongful death would embarrass, shame or stigmatize a witness in the circumstances here."  "A better description of the impact on the individuals is that disclosure would inconvenience them."
  • Exemption 5, Deliberative Process Privilege:  The court relates that "[defendant] avers that the redacted portions 'contain the personnel recommendations of USARAK staff.'"  The court finds that "[t]his is a particularized explanation."  "It is entitled to substantial weight."  "It is enough to persuade the court that the redacted information is part of the deliberative process."  "The redactions in this email chain are appropriate."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 5
Exemption 5, Deliberative Process Privilege
Exemption 6
Updated November 19, 2021