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Richardson v. DOJ, No. 17-1181, 2018 WL 4637364 (D.D.C. Sept. 27, 2018) (Bates, J.)


Richardson v. DOJ, No. 17-1181, 2018 WL 4637364 (D.D.C. Sept. 27, 2018) (Bates, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning plaintiff's criminal conviction

Disposition:  Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search:  The court holds that "there is no doubt as to the adequacy of USAO-EDVA's search."  The court finds that "[defendant's] declaration is sufficient to establish that USAO-EDVA conducted searches reasonably calculated to return all relevant information."  "It describes USAO-EDVA's LIONS database and the information it contained, and explains why any documents responsive to [plaintiff's] request would be in the physical file for his case."  "The affidavit also describes [defendant's] acquisition and review of the physical case file."  "The affidavit is reasonably detailed, and the Court finds that it adequately describes USAO-EDVA's search process."


  • Exemptions 6 & 7(C):  The court holds that "ATF originally compiled the records in [plaintiff's] criminal case for law enforcement purposes, thus satisfying the first requirement of Exemption 7(C)."  "ATF redacted from these records (1) the names of federal and local law enforcement agents and employees, as well as information by which those individuals could be identified; (2) the names of third parties, as well as information by which those individuals could be identified; and (3) information relating to the serial numbers of handguns associated with the criminal investigation."  The court finds that "[l]aw enforcement personnel and third parties included in investigatory files have a well-recognized and substantial privacy interest in withholding information about their identities."  Also, the court finds that "[t]he disclosure of the names of individuals mentioned in law enforcement files is only warranted if it serves a significant public interest."  "Here, [plaintiff] has failed to present 'compelling evidence' that ATF is engaged in misconduct."  "Hence, the Court finds that the asserted individual privacy interests outweigh any potential public interest, and the government is justified in withholding the redacted information pursuant to Exemptions 6 and 7(C)."


  • Litigation Considerations, "Reasonably Segregable" Requirements:  The court holds that "ATF's representation that it reviewed the responsive documents and deemed that all non-exempt and segregable information was produced is sufficient to satisfy this standard." 


  • Litigation Considerations, Discovery:  The court holds that, "[c]onsidering [the] factors, including the reasonably detailed nature of the government's declarations and the absence of any evidence of bad faith by the government, the request for in camera review shall be denied."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 6
Exemption 7(C)
Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search
Litigation Considerations, Discovery
Litigation Considerations, “Reasonably Segregable” Requirements
Updated November 19, 2021