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Sharkey v. DOJ, No. 16-2672, 2018 WL 838678 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 13, 2018) (Lioi, J.)


Sharkey v. DOJ, No. 16-2672, 2018 WL 838678 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 13, 2018) (Lioi, J.)

Re: Request for records plaintiff "believes will demonstrate that some person or persons have altered records at his place of employment to discredit him"

Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations Adequacy of Search:  "[T]he Court finds that [defendant's] declaration sets forth sufficient factual detail of the methods utilized in conducting the searches for responsive documents for the Court to conclude that the FBI '"has conducted [searches] reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents."'"  "[Plaintiff] has not come forward with evidence calling into question either search to overcome the presumption afforded the supporting declaration."
  • Exemption 7, Threshold:  The court holds that "[t]he documents at issue clearly were compiled for law enforcement purposes."  "The record shows that the documents produced to [plaintiff] were investigatory records pertaining to the FBI's investigation into [plaintiff's] complaints regarding insider trading and fraud[.]"
  • Exemption 7(C):  "Applying the balancing of interests pertinent to Exemption 7(C) withholding of information, the Court finds that the FBI properly withheld certain information[,]" including "the names and identifying information of the FBI Special Agents and support personnel[.]"  "In the absence of any evidence that this identifying information is necessary to demonstrate any wrongdoing or complicity of the FBI, the Court finds that [plaintiff's] and the public's interest in this information is de minimis."
  • Exemption 7(E):  The court relates that "the FBI withheld key indicators that it uses for determining whether and how it enters data into non-public databases used for official law enforcement purposes."  "Such information would clearly disclose law enforcement procedures, techniques or guidelines."  The court finds that "public disclosure of such information would permit criminals to determine the types of information the FBI gathers, analyzes and utilizes within this database, and would reveal the location where such records and information is stored, making it vulnerable to cyber attackers."  "Such information squarely falls within the protection of Exemption 7(E)."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 7
Exemption 7(C)
Exemption 7(E)
Exemption 7, Threshold
Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search
Updated December 3, 2021