Nat'l Sec. Counselors v. DOJ, No. 13-0556, 2018 WL 1567621 (D.D.C. Mar. 31, 2018) (Chutkan, J.)
Re: Request for Manual of Administrative Operations and Procedures ("MAOP")
Disposition: Granting defendants' renewed motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment
- Fees and Fee Waivers, Fees: "[T]he court finds that the FBI's interim release policy . . . does not violate FOIA's requirement that an agency recover 'only the direct costs of search, duplication, or review.'" The court relates that, "[o]n appeal, the D.C. Circuit found there was a genuine issue concerning whether the FBI's $15 fee per CD complies with this provision, and ordered Defendant to 'provide a sufficient factual basis upon which the district court can make the determination that the fees assessed under its interim release policy do not exceed direct costs.'" "The Circuit stated that it did not 'question the possibility that the agency will adequately demonstrate on remand that the FBI's labor (or other direct) costs under the interim release policy in fact equal or exceed $15 per CD,' and noted that 'the agency might be able to do so in short order.'" "[The] court finds that it has." The court finds that "[defendant's] Declaration sufficiently demonstrates that FBI employees are actively engaged for the duration of the [security review program] process, and in turn that the FBI justifiably calculates its direct costs for CD production based on the labor costs associated with conducting the 50–minute program." "The FBI calculates its direct labor costs to be between $24.50 and $46.00 per CD, . . . which certainly exceeds the $15 it charges per CD." Responding to plaintiff's arguments, the court finds that, "[e]ven if the issue of reasonableness was appropriately before [the] court, [plaintiff] has failed to demonstrate that the FBI's procedures, and therefore its direct costs, are unreasonable."