Skip to main content

Stanco v. IRS, No. 18-00873, 2021 WL 3912259 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 1, 2021) (Nunley, J.)


Stanco v. IRS, No. 18-00873, 2021 WL 3912259 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 1, 2021) (Nunley, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning plaintiff's requirement to file IRS Forms 8938 and 5471

Disposition:  Denying defendant's motion to dismiss

  • Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies:  The court relates that "Defendant argues it is undisputed that Plaintiffs failed to administratively appeal those requests and Plaintiffs cannot allege they exhausted their April 2017 requests by filing and appealing duplicative requests in January 2019."  "Plaintiffs argue their failure to administratively appeal the April 2017 requests has 'been resolved by either or both of the November 2017 or January 2019 requests,' which were fully exhausted and covered the same material."  "[T]he Court cannot say that Plaintiffs failed to constructively exhaust their April 2017 requests."  "To grant Defendant's motion to dismiss, the Court would need to accept what seems to be Defendant's sweeping argument that a requester can never constructively exhaust a FOIA request by filing and fully exhausting a duplicate request."  "Defendant fails to provide authority to support this broad proposition."  The court notes that "[prior case law] seems to suggest the opposite:  that a duplicate request can constructively exhaust previously unexhausted issues so long as the purposes of exhaustion – 'giving agencies the opportunity to correct their own errors, affording parties and courts the benefits of agencies' expertise, [and] compiling a record adequate for judicial review' – have been met."  "Moreover, 'exhaustion under [the] FOIA is a prudential consideration rather than a jurisdictional prerequisite.'"  "To the extent Defendant wishes to challenge the April 2017 requests again in a future motion, Defendant should cite specific facts in the record showing it never 'had an opportunity to review [its] initial determinations . . . , such that the purposes of exhaustion could be fulfilled.'"
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
Updated September 21, 2021