Sciacca v. FBI, No. 08-2030, 2014 WL 879557 (D.D.C. Mar. 6, 2014) (Jackson, J.)
Re: Request for records concerning plaintiff's criminal case
Disposition: Denying defendant's motion for summary judgment without prejudice
- Litigation Considerations, Vaughn Index/Declaration: The court "concludes that Defendants have fallen short of their duty to provide adequate information regarding the redactions and withholdings, and that, without more information, this Court cannot evaluate whether Defendants have properly employed the various exemptions pursuant to which Defendants redacted and withheld the documents in question." The court explains that "[w]hile it is true that Defendants need not produce documents where redactions would cause them to have 'minimal or no information content,' . . . Defendants must do more than simply state that they withheld documents for this reason." Instead, the court states, "they must give the Court some basis on which to evaluate their claim that no reasonably segregable information exists in those documents." Here, the court relates, defendant "does not provide any information on the segregability of the documents that were entirely withheld." Moreover, the court states that defendant "seems to put the cart before the horse insofar as it elaborately identifies Defendants' asserted exemptions, but neglects to provide an overall picture of the universe of documents at issue as is necessary for the Court to be able to put those exemption justifications in the proper context."
- Litigation Considerations, Pleadings: The court finds that "even if the fact that the FBI initially claimed that it could not locate any records responsive to [plaintiff's] request evidenced bad faith–and this Court is not convinced that it does—this evidence relates only to the FBI's efforts regarding the adequacy of its search for responsive documents, and [plaintiff] has expressly disavowed any challenge to the adequacy of the FBI's search." The court explains that plaintiff "makes no allegations regarding bad faith with respect to the withholding of responsive information, which, by [plaintiff's] own admission, is the only issue before the Court."