Wednesday, August 10, 2016
McAtee v. DHS, No. 15-84, 2016 WL 4250267 (D. Mont. Aug. 10, 2016) (Molloy, J.)
Re: Request for records concerning plaintiff
Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment
- Litigation Considerations, Mootness and Other Grounds for Dismissal: "The Court was previously without sufficient information to address 29 pages that were referred to and withheld by the Executive Office." "According to the parties' Joint Stipulation Regarding Referred Documents, however, any issues related to the 29 pages will be 'dealt with in an independent suit, if any should be filed.'" "Accordingly, the Secret Service has met its burden of showing that it fully discharged its FOIA obligations as to the responsive pages that are at issue in this action."
- Exemption 3: The court finds that, "[t]he Supplemental Vaughn Index, which now provides the Court with an adequate factual basis to reach a decision as to the propriety of the information withheld and redacted under Exemption 3, describes in more detail the information and its association with the grand jury investigation." "The information withheld includes: descriptions of evidence submitted to the grand jury; documents requested for the grand jury investigation; grand jury subpoenas; names of subpoena recipients, including witnesses; actions taken regarding grand jury subpoenas; documents produced pursuant to grand jury subpoenas; and descriptions of and memoranda related to subpoenaed documents." The court finds that "[a]ll of the information was properly redacted and withheld under Exemption 3 because it 'falls within the broad reach of grand jury secrecy.'" Regarding plaintiff's "assert[ion] that because she seeks the documents for their own sake and not to learn what took place before the grand jury, they should be disclosed, [the court holds that] she is incorrect."
- Procedural Requirements, "Reasonably Segregable" Obligation: The court holds that "a review of the pages shows that all reasonably segregable portions of the redacted pages were disclosed, and only those portions that are exempt, such as names of subpoena recipients and witnesses and descriptions of evidence, were redacted." "Additionally, the pages withheld in full included subpoenas, documents produced for the grand jury, affidavits of actions taken for the grand jury proceeding, and responses to grand jury subpoenas, all of which have no segregable portion to disclose."
Updated January 18, 2017