Robinson v. DEA, No. 15-251, 2016 WL 1448858 (S.D. Miss. Apr. 12, 2016) (Ozerden, J.)
Re: Request for records concerning plaintiff's criminal case
Disposition: Granting defendants' motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, motion to strike, and motion for default judgment
- Litigation Considerations, Pleadings: The court finds that "[d]efendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment was sufficient to 'otherwise plead' in accordance with FOIA." The court agrees with defendants' argument "that FOIA is broader than the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 'authorizes a federal agency to "otherwise plead" in lieu of filing an answer,' including by filing a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment." "As for the timeliness of Defendants' Motion, even if Defendants' appearance in this action was belated, the Clerk of Court did not make an entry of default as to Defendants before they appeared." "Nor has [plaintiff] 'establish[ed] a claim or right to relief by evidence that satisfies the court' sufficient to permit the entry of a default judgment against Defendants." Moreover, "even if the Response were somehow deemed untimely, the Court is not persuaded that entry of a default judgment or granting [plaintiff's] Motion for Summary Judgment would be appropriate."
- Procedural Requirements, FOIA Requesters: The court finds that "[d]efendants have presented undisputed, competent summary judgment evidence that [plaintiff] entered into a valid and binding Plea Agreement in which he explicitly waived his right to 'request or receive from any department or agency of the United States any records pertaining to the investigation or prosecution of this case, including without limitation any records that may be sought by [[plaintiff]] or by [[plaintiff's]] representative under the Freedom of Information Act . . .'" The court finds that "[t]his language represents a clear and unambiguous waiver of Defendant's right to these records."