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Spadaro v. CBP, No. 16-16, 2019 WL 1368786 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2019) (Sullivan, J.)


Spadaro v. CBP, No. 16-16, 2019 WL 1368786 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2019) (Sullivan, J.)

Re:  Requests for records concerning revocation of plaintiff's visa

Disposition:  Granting defendants' renewed motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's renewed motion for summary judgment

  • Exemption 7(E):  "[T]he Court is satisfied that the government's supplemental declarations have adequately justified its reliance on Exemption 7(E)."  "Many of the documents were withheld to protect information related to the investigative focus of a specific investigation . . . which was an initiative focused on international organized crime . . . ."  "Those documents are clearly exempt under Exemption 7(E)."  "The next document relates to the identity and location of an FBI unit . . . and is therefore properly withheld pursuant to Exemption 7(E) . . . ."  "Two more documents were redacted to protect material related to 'Intelligence Information Reports' – 'a raw intelligence report that is shared within the FBI and throughout the intelligence and law enforcement communities.'"  "Those, too, were properly redacted, as the Court defers to the affiant's judgment that disclosure would compromise the FBI's counterintelligence efforts."  "Finally, one document contains a redaction made to protect sensitive file numbers utilized internally by the FBI."  "That redaction was clearly appropriate."'
  • Waiver & Exemption 5:  The court holds that "Plaintiff's legal arguments as to Exemption 5 and, specifically, waiver of the deliberative process and work product privileges, conflate the various privileges and their associated waiver doctrines."  The court explains that "'there is no subject-matter waiver associated with the deliberative process privilege.'"  "Indeed, as the government points out, a broad subject-matter waiver doctrine akin to that of attorney-client privilege would defeat the entire purpose of the deliberative process privilege; government actors must be able to discuss a subject in a 'predecisional' and 'deliberative' manner without fear that disclosure of their final decision will waive privilege as to all precursor communications."  Additionally, the court finds that "[a]lthough the waiver doctrine in the context of the work product privilege may be broader than in the context of the deliberative process privilege, . . . that waiver doctrine is not as broad as the subject-matter waiver theory on which Plaintiff relies."  "Accordingly, Plaintiff's challenge to the government's invocation of the work product doctrine also fails."
  • Litigation Considerations, "Reasonably Segregable" Requirements:  "[T]he Court finds that the government has adequately demonstrated that no additional, segregable information remains to be disclosed."  The court relates that, "[h]ere, the affiants have each stated that they reviewed the documents withheld by their respective agencies and concluded that all reasonably segregable information has been disclosed."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 5
Exemption 7(E)
Litigation Considerations, “Reasonably Segregable” Requirements
Waiver and Discretionary Disclosure
Updated January 11, 2022