Roman v. Nat'l Reconnaissance Office, No. 12-1370 (EGS), 2013 WL 3388391 (D.D.C. July 9, 2013) (Sullivan, J.)

Date: 
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Re: Request for records concerning functional magnetic resonance imaging technology Disposition: Granting defendant's motion to dismiss on grounds of res judicata, collateral estoppel, and plaintiff's failure to state a claim
  • Monetary Damages:  "[N]o money damages are available under FOIA."  "The sole remedy available to a requester is injunctive relief—the court can compel an agency to produce documents or enjoin an agency from improperly withholding documents."
  • Litigation Considerations:  The court finds that "Plaintiff is barred by the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel from seeking adjudication . . . with respect to his [second] FOIA request.  Plaintiff filed a lawsuit against defendant in the Eastern District of New York challenging the adequacy of defendant's search, the same issue raised in the claim currently before the court.  The Eastern District of New York "found that the NRO performed a reasonable and adequate search for the requested documents and did not improperly withhold any responsive documents."  Therefore, "this Court is not the forum to adjudicate Plaintiff's claims regarding his [second] request."
  • Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies:  As to plaintiff's first and third FOIA requests, "Defendant advised Plaintiff of his right to appeal its determination, which according to the record before this Court, Plaintiff did not."  "When a plaintiff has not exhausted administrative remedies, the court can dismiss the complaint sua sponte for failure to state a claim."
Topic: 
Damages
District Court
Exhaustion
Litigation Considerations
Updated August 6, 2014