Shah v. DOJ, No. 15-00044, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88048 (E.D. Ark. July 7, 2016) (Baker, J.)
Re: Requests for evaluation of certain BOP facility, lists and numbers of certain types of inmates, and records concerning plaintiff
Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
- Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies: The court holds that "BOP complied with the FOIA in its responses to [plaintiff], and [plaintiff] failed to exhaust his administrative remedies because he did not appeal the denials [of three] of his requests[.]" The court notes that "[plaintiff] did not file an appeal of the[se] denials[.]" Responding to plaintiff's arguments concerning constructive exhaustion, the court finds that on one request "BOP responded within 20 days as required by 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)[,]" and on the other two, "[u]nder 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B), an agency may give a requester notice of the need for an extension in unusual circumstances, including 'the need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request.' 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B)(iii)(I) [and] [t]hat is what the BOP did in [those] case[s]."
- Exemptions 6, 7(C) & 7(F): The court finds that "BOP has produced the documents requested [in several other requests] with the actual names and register numbers of the inmates redacted due to the privacy concerns described in the 5 U.S.C. §§ 552(b)(6) and 552(b)(7)(C) exemptions." The court similarly finds that BOP correctly asserted exemptions 6, 7(C), and 7(F) in responding to several other requests.
- Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records: The court finds that BOP correctly "responded that the information sought by [plaintiff] was not maintained by the agency." The court agrees with defendant's argument that "'FOIA does not require federal agencies to create records in response to a FOIA request[;] instead it requires agencies to provide access to reasonably described, nonexempt, existing agency records.'"