Knuckles v. Dep't of the Army, No. 115-077, 2016 WL 3947615 (S.D. Ga. July 19, 2016) (Hall, J.)
Re: Request for records concerning plaintiff's employment
Disposition: Denying defendant's motion to strike; granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion to dismiss; denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's motion for sanctions; directing plaintiff to file motion for costs sought
- Litigation Considerations, Mootness and Other Grounds for Dismissal: The court holds that "[d]efendant released the documents Plaintiff requested, and because there is no indication that it will repeat its improper behavior, the Court grants Defendant's motion on this issue."
- Litigation Considerations, Relief: The court holds that "[b]ecause FOIA does not allow claims for monetary damages, Plaintiff's request for damages fails." Additionally, the court finds that "[d]efendant’s alleged FOIA violation is not itself grounds for sanctions."
- Litigation Considerations, Special Counsel Provision: "[B]ecause the Court has not ordered the production of any documents – and Plaintiff does not claim any documents remain withheld – the Court grants Defendant's motion on this issue and declines to involve Special Counsel."
- Attorney Fees, Eligibility: The court holds that "[p]laintiff may not recover attorneys' fees" because "[a]ttorneys' fees, however, are not available to pro se litigants in FOIA cases." However, "the Court is satisfied that Plaintiff has substantially prevailed" as to the question of costs. The court explains that, "[g]iven the temporal nexus between this lawsuit and the release of the documents, . . . and the voluntary nature of the release, . . . the Court is persuaded that Plaintiff may recover costs." "Because Plaintiff has not specified what costs she seeks, she is directed to file a motion for costs."