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Shipman v. AMTRAK, No. 14-384, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176546 (D.D.C. Dec. 23, 2014) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.)


Shipman v. AMTRAK, No. 14-384, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176546 (D.D.C. Dec. 23, 2014) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.)

Re: Request for plaintiff's EEOC charge file

Disposition: Denying defendant's motion for summary judgment; entering summary judgment for plaintiff

  • Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies:  "[T]he Court notes that Plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies is not a bar to pursuing his FOIA claim in this Court" "[b]ecause more than 30 days elapsed between the request and the agency's denial."
  • Exemption 3:  The court holds that "EEOC's arguments in favor of dismissal and in favor of summary judgment on this FOIA claim fail."  Defendant relied on Exemption 3 and Section 706(b) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The court finds that defendant's "argument fails" because "the Supreme Court has concluded that 'Congress did not include charging parties within the 'public' to whom disclosure of confidential information is illegal under the provisions of Title VII here at issue.'"  The court explains that "Exemption 3, as applied to these circumstances, prevents a member of the public from receiving the records of the EEOC's investigation of someone else's discrimination complaint."  "However, it allows a complainant to receive the records that pertain to his complaint as long as (1) the EEOC has completed its investigation and issued its determination and (2) either the complainant requests the records during the 90-day window in which he may file suit against an employer or if the complainant has actually filed suit against the employer."
  • Litigation Considerations, Summary Judgment:  The court relates that "'district courts are widely acknowledged to possess the power to enter summary judgments sua sponte, so long as the losing party was on notice that she had to come forward with all of her evidence.'"  The court holds that "[j]udgment as a matter of law in Plaintiff's favor is appropriate" because "the EEOC has come forward with all of its evidence, and there are no genuine issues of material fact with respect to the FOIA claim, as the EEOC itself argues."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 3
Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
Litigation Considerations, Summary Judgment
Updated January 24, 2022