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Ryan v. FBI, No. 14-1422, 2016 WL 1273180 (D.D.C. Mar. 31, 2016) (Chutkan, J.)


Ryan v. FBI, No. 14-1422, 2016 WL 1273180 (D.D.C. Mar. 31, 2016) (Chutkan, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning plaintiff

Disposition: Granting defendant's renewed motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations:  The court holds that "[t]he FBI has conducted an adequate search for any records responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA request."  The court finds that "[a]ny ambiguity the court found in Defendant's prior motion as to whether it searched ELSUR for [plaintiff's] name . . . is eliminated by the clear explanation in [defendant's] Fourth Declaration that (i) a failure to find responsive documents in CRS means that Defendant is unlikely to find responsive records in ELSUR; and (ii) that prior ELSUR searches did include variations of the names Plaintiff has gone by—including the name on his government-issued identification."  "Moreover, Defendant further supported the adequacy of its search by conducting additional searches in ELSUR using different possible phonetic spellings of Plaintiff’s name."  "Defendant's search methodology was discussed in 'detailed, nonconclusory affidavits submitted in good faith,' . . . and provided the search terms used, the files searched, and explicitly declared that all files likely to contain responsive records were searched."  Responding to plaintiff's arguments, the court finds "that agency declarations in FOIA disputes are presumed to be in good faith, and that presumption 'cannot be rebutted by "purely speculative claims about the existence and discoverability of other documents."'"
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Supplemental to Main Categories
Updated January 20, 2022