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Mertz v. SSA, No. 17-10105, 2018 WL 1466082 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 26, 2018) (Ludington, J.)


Mertz v. SSA, No. 17-10105, 2018 WL 1466082 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 26, 2018) (Ludington, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning plaintiff

Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment; sustaining defendant's objections to Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation; adopting report in part

  • Exemption 5, Attorney Work-Product:  The court holds that "the Administration has now provided additional information which demonstrates that [two documents] are covered by Exemption 5."  The court notes that the Magistrate Judge previously found that "'[n]owhere does the SSA indicate that either the sender or recipient of any of these items was a professional legal advisor acting in his or her official capacity, or even an agent of a professional legal advisor.'"  The court notes that defendant now states "that [the two documents] did, in fact, involve emails to and from Department of Justice attorneys."
  • Exemptions 6 & 7(C):  The court adopts the Magistrate Judge's previous finding regarding information concerning government employees.  Specifically, the Magistrate Judge found that "[plaintiff] has failed to raise more than a specter of government impropriety."  "On the other hand, the SSA argues convincingly that disclosure of the withheld names and personal information 'could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.'"  "'Mere speculation about hypothetical public benefits cannot outweigh a demonstrably significant invasion of privacy.'"
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 5
Exemption 5, Attorney Work-Product Privilege
Exemption 6
Exemption 7(C)
Updated December 7, 2021