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Truthout and Jeffrey Light v. DOJ, No. 12-1660, 2013 WL 5630250 (D.D.C. Oct. 16, 2013) (Collyer, J.)

Re: Request for records concerning "Occupy Wall Street" and other Occupy encampment  Disposition: Denying plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration
  • Adequacy of Search: The court holds that reconsideration is not warranted because plaintiffs did not meet their burden of showing "mistake" or "extraordinary circumstances" warranting relief from the court's judgment that the FBI conducted a reasonable and adequate search for records.  The court rejects plaintiff's allegation that it was a "manifest injustice" for the FBI to search its Central Records System (CRS), but not its Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) file system.  The court notes that "the FBI searched CRS because that is the place where records responsive to Plaintiffs' requests were most likely to be kept."  The court observes that the FBI declaration explains "that the search of CRS would have identified both potentially responsive main files as well as cross references . . . and these main files and cross references would have identified relevant ELSUR files and shared drives if they existed."  The court finds that this is a sufficient explanation and notes that "[t]he FBI was not required to search every record system; it was only required to conduct a reasonable search of those systems of records likely to possess the requested information."  The court also rejects plaintiffs' contention that the search must have been inadequate because a potentially responsive record was located in another case.  The court notes that the located report does not contain any of the search terms used in the instant case and points to the FBI's explanation that "'the report was not indexed in such a way so that the FBI would have been able to locate it through its searches of the CRS.'"  The court further states that the report released in that other case "was not located via a CRS search; instead it was specifically requested by the plaintiff [in that case]  . . . and the FBI conducted a targeted search, which included following leads from other documents produced in that litigation." Finally, the court notes that the report has now been released to plaintiffs in the current case and concludes that reconsideration is not warranted.
Court Decision Topic(s)
Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search
District Court opinions
Updated August 6, 2014