Monday, July 11, 2016
Offor v. EEOC, No. 15-3175, 2016 WL 3747593 (E.D.N.Y. July 11, 2016) (Spatt, J.)
Re: Request for plaintiff's EEOC charge file
Disposition: Granting defendant's motion to dismiss
- Procedural Requirements, Entities Subject to the FOIA: The court holds that "[i]t is undisputed that the Defendant EEOC is a federal agency subject to FOIA." "However, the Defendant, . . . the District Director of the New York Office of the EEOC, is an individual and therefore, not a proper Defendant in this matter." "Accordingly, at the outset, the Court dismisses the claims against [the District Director of the New York Office of the EEOC] and analyzes the sufficiency of the complaint solely with regard to the EEOC."
- Litigation Considerations, Mootness and Other Grounds for Dismissal: "The Court finds that that the Plaintiff’s claims are moot and therefore, dismisses the action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1)." The court holds that "[i]t is undisputed that following the initiation of the complaint in this action, the EEOC produced all of the pages in the Plaintiff's case file with modest redactions to 3 of the 265 pages that the EEOC produced." "Plaintiff does not object to the completeness of the production, nor to the modest redactions by the EEOC to three pages of the materials." "Under these circumstances, there is nothing of the underlying FOIA dispute left for the Court [to] adjudicate because the EEOC has already produced what it can, and the Court lacks jurisdiction to compel the EEOC to do anything further." Additionally, "the Court finds that the Plaintiff's contention in her response brief that the EEOC sent her 'made up' pages to be speculation and clearly not sufficient to raise a question as to the completeness of the EEOC's production."
- Attorney Fees, Eligibility: Responding to plaintiff's request for attorney fees, the court finds that "[p]laintiff did not obtain her EEOC case file through a 'judicial order,' a 'written agreement,' a 'consent decree,' or a 'unilateral change in position by the agency.'" "Rather, she obtained her case file because the EEOC was able to locate the file and voluntarily decided to furnish the case file to the Plaintiff." "Thus, she has not 'substantially prevailed' within the meaning of FOIA and is not entitled to attorneys' fees."
- Litigation Considerations, Relief: The court also denies plaintiff's request for an injunction. The court holds that "FOIA limits the Court's jurisdiction to enjoining the agency from withholding the specific records requested by the complainant." "It does not authorize the vague injunction against future conduct sought by the Plaintiff." "Furthermore, even if it were authorized, the Plaintiff has made no showing that she is entitled to such injunctive relief given that the EEOC has complied with all of its obligations under FOIA by producing the documents requested by the Plaintiff."
- Litigation Considerations, Special Counsel Provision: Responding to plaintiff's request for the "appointment of a Special Counsel to initiate an investigation into the EEOC's actions," "[t]he Court has not issued a 'written finding that the circumstances surrounding the withholding raise questions whether agency personnel acted arbitrarily or capriciously with respect to the withholding,' and therefore, the Special Counsel provision is not triggered in this case."
Referral to Special Counsel
Updated January 17, 2017