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Kriemelmeyer v. Dep't of State, Nos. 18-148, 18-48, 2019 WL 1746700 (W.D. Wis. Apr. 18, 2019) (Crabb, J.)


Kriemelmeyer v. Dep't of State, Nos. 18-148, 18-48, 2019 WL 1746700 (W.D. Wis. Apr. 18, 2019) (Crabb, J.)

Re:  Request for oaths of office and Foreign Agent Registrations and numbers for three government officials, as well as request for records concerning denial of plaintiff's passport

Disposition:  Granting defendants' motions for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's motions for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search:  The court holds that one "defendant has shown that it make a good faith effort to conduct a search for the records requested by plaintiff and that it did so in a timely manner."  The court relates that defendant "describes the steps that were taken in response to plaintiff's request, explaining that because plaintiff was requesting Foreign Agent Registrations, plaintiff's request was assigned to the Foreign Agents Registration Act Unit of the National Security Division."  "That unit conducted a search of the unit’s files, including electronic and paper files, but found no documents responsive to plaintiff's request."
  • Procedural Requirements:  The court "conclude[s] that defendant's response was reasonable and did not violate the Freedom of Information Act."  The court relates that "the State Department has specific regulations regarding the form of the requests for information relating to an individual's passport or application."  "Under 22 C.F.R. § 171.22(d), requests seeking passport information must be accompanied by a statement under oath confirming the requester's full name at birth, date and place of birth, current mailing address, daytime telephone number and email address."  "The regulations also state that the requester must submit a copy of the front and back of a valid government-issued photo identification."  The court relates that "Defendant contends that because plaintiff's requests did not comply with the department's rules set forth in 22 C.F.R. §§ 171.22(d) and 171.11(n)(5) governing requests for an individual's passport information, defendant did not withhold records from him improperly."  "Defendant treated plaintiff's request as a 'third-party' request seeking private information about another individual and declined to provide any information about the existence of documents responsive to the request."  The court "agree[s] with defendants that the regulations relating to passport-related documents are reasonable in light of the important privacy interests that are implicated by passport records, including the citizenship of the applicant and any suspected wrongdoing by the applicant, such as passport fraud."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search
Procedural Requirements, Supplemental to Main Categories
Updated January 11, 2022