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Pinson v. Dep't of State, No. 12-01872, 2015 WL 3910190 (D.D.C. Aug. 17, 2015) (Contreras, J.)


Pinson v. Dep't of State, No. 12-01872, 2015 WL 3910190 (D.D.C. Aug. 17, 2015) (Contreras, J.)

Re: Request for settlement agreements concerning U.S. Penitentiary Administrative Maximum in Florence, Colorado

Disposition: Granting defendant's renewed motion for summary judgment

  • Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records:  "[T]he Court concludes that Defendants have sufficiently established that they cannot conduct a reasonable search within the two-hour time limit imposed by [plaintiff]."  The court explains that "[d]efendants explained that a search of the Civil Division case file database identified 'more than 29,920 cases relating to BOP civil litigation.'"  "Because the database does not contain 'indexes or codes that would permit the identification and selection of case files that might contain the settlement agreements,' the only way that Civil Division could respond to [plaintiff's] request is to search all of the identified files."  "Defendants argue that this would require the Civil Division to expend 44,886 hours and $1,256,808, which is grossly disproportionate and in contravention of [plaintiff's] instruction not to 'use more than 2 hours search time when processing [his] request.'"  "From these facts it is clear that requiring the Civil Division to perform a responsive search of its case file database would be unduly burdensome."  Additionally, [a]lthough [plaintiff] argues that contacting U.S. Attorneys could reduce the scope of the search, he has provided no authority to suggest that the Civil Division bears the burden under FOIA of soliciting information from other DOJ components in an effort to narrow an otherwise unduly burdensome search."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records
Updated January 12, 2022