Neary v. FDIC, No. 14-1167, 2015 WL 2375395 (D.D.C. May 19, 2015) (Jackson, J.)
Re: Request for all candidates interviewed by FDIC's Corporate Employee Program from inception to present
Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
- Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records: "The Court finds that the FDIC's no-records response to plaintiff's request for the applicants' ages was proper since the agency does not 'require or request that CE Program applicants provide their dates of birth or ages in connection with job applications or during interviews.'"
- Exemption 6: "[T]he Court concludes that defendant properly withheld the requested job applicant records." The court relates that "FDIC withheld records containing the full names and addresses of applicants for the CE Program, the applicants' interview dates, and the applicants' hiring status." The court first finds that "[i]t is undisputed that the requested information is contained in personnel files, which satisfies the threshold requirement of exemption 6." The court notes the privacy interest in this information and then finds that "plaintiff has not shown an overriding public interest to compel disclosure of the exempt information." The court explains that "plaintiff's interest in gathering information for use in civil litigation he seeks to initiate is not sufficient to give rise to a public need for the information." "Moreover, plaintiff's unsubstantiated allegations that the FDIC engaged in age discrimination are not evidence." Additionally, the court holds that "[p]laintiff has not shown that the requested applicant information 'is permanently in the public domain,' . . . so as to require its release 'to the public as a whole.'" The court explains that plaintiff has not "'point[[ed]] to "specific" information identical to that being withheld'" and "lists—such as those offered here—created for use at a job recruitment event while 'technically public may be practically obscure [,] . . . [and] in such circumstances, an individual's privacy interest in limiting disclosure or dissemination of information does not disappear just because it was once publicly released.'"