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Sikes v. Dep't of the Navy, No. 316-074, 2019 WL 1302631 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 21, 2019) (Bowen, J.)


Sikes v. Dep't of the Navy, No. 316-074, 2019 WL 1302631 (S.D. Ga. Mar. 21, 2019) (Bowen, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning suicide committed by Navy Admiral

Disposition:  Denying plaintiff's motion for attorney fees

  • Attorney Fees, Eligibility:  "In this case, Plaintiff obtained relief on appeal when the Eleventh Circuit held that the Navy could not withhold documents responsive to his FOIA request simply because it had previously provided the documents to Plaintiff in response to a prior request."  "Thus, Plaintiff may be eligible for an award of attorney's fees."
  • Attorney Fees, Entitlement:  The court holds that "Plaintiff is not entitled to an award of attorney's fees in this case."  The court finds that "[t]he first factor militates against an award of attorney's fees."  "In this case, the documents at issue, the 'backseat notes,' had already been produced to Plaintiff in response to prior litigation."  "Thus, there is no public interest in disclosing information that was already in the public domain."  "The Court found Plaintiff's interest in the requested documents to be of a private nature and remarked that Plaintiff stood to benefit commercially from disclosure through the publication of a book."  "Plaintiff has done nothing to tip the balance in his favor with respect to these factors."  "Moreover, as noted, the 'backseat notes' have already been disclosed to Plaintiff so that any public benefit to be realized from production should have already occurred."  Finally, the court finds that "the Navy's conduct in withholding the documents was reasonable."  "Finally, nothing in the record of this case demonstrates that the Navy was recalcitrant or obdurate."
Court Decision Topic(s)
Attorney Fees
District Court opinions
Updated March 5, 2021