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Powell v. IRS, No. 16-1682, 2017 WL 2533348 (D.D.C. June 9, 2017) (Boasberg, J.)


Powell v. IRS, No. 16-1682, 2017 WL 2533348 (D.D.C. June 9, 2017) (Boasberg, J.)

Re:  Requests for records concerning Powell Printing Company, plaintiff's father and grandfather, and certain trusts

Disposition:  Granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion for summary judgment

  • Procedural Requirements, Proper FOIA Requests:  The court holds that "FOIA only requires that an agency turn over records, not that it provide a requestor with specific information or answer questions."  "To the extent, then, that [plaintiff] is attempting to question the authenticity of certain documents already released to him, . . . or to seek acquisition or confirmation of certain information outside of his requests for particular records, his claims cannot proceed."  Separately, the court finds that, "[g]iven the brevity of [defendant's] briefing on [whether "[plaintiff] [ever] perfected [a portion of] his request [because] . . . he failed to attach the appropriate forms or documentation showing his authority to obtain tax records for [the Andrew Powell Printing Company]"], the Court cannot find that Defendant has met its burden to show that Powell has clearly failed to make a valid request for these records."  The court explains that "[t]he agency never clearly discusses . . . whether the documentation it has otherwise received is sufficient."  The court finds similarly on other records concerning the printing company.
  • Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies:  The court holds that "where [plaintiff] makes no allegation that he ever requested particular records from Defendant, his FOIA claims related to these documents must be dismissed."
  • Litigation Considerations, Mootness and Other Grounds for Dismissal:  The court agrees with defendant's "argu[ment] that [plaintiff's] claims to three of the transcripts that he did request . . . are now moot, as the IRS turned them over to him."  The court finds that "[a]lthough [plaintiff] nevertheless protests that his claim to them should not be dismissed because he believes [the transcripts] were altered, he provides no reason to demonstrate this to be the case[.]"  "Likewise, his further complaint that he cannot decipher the information provided in the transcripts is not relevant to a claim under FOIA."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
Litigation Considerations, Mootness and Other Grounds for Dismissal
Procedural Requirements, Proper FOIA Requests
Updated December 14, 2021