Venkataram v. OIP, No. 13-4404, 2014 WL 5802149 (3d Cir. Nov. 10, 2014) (per curiam)
Re: Request for records concerning decision to dismiss criminal charges against plaintiff's co-conspirator
Disposition: Affirming district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment and denial of plaintiff's motion for reconsideration
- Waiver: The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit "agree[s] with the District Court that [plaintiff] failed to establish that the information in the Agreement has been officially acknowledged." The Third Circuit explains that plaintiff "argued in the District Court only that this document had been officially acknowledged, not that 'the specific information' in the document had been acknowledged."
- Exemption 7(C): The Third Circuit holds that "the District Court did not err in concluding that exemption 7(C) applies here." The Third Circuit finds that "[o]n the one hand, the criminal charges against [the co-conspirator] were dismissed, and he thus has a 'fundamental interest' in limiting the disclosure of this information." "Meanwhile, the public benefit of the disclosure would be slight." The Third Circuit specifically notes that plaintiff supports his argument "that the Government somehow acted improperly . . . with just his 'bare suspicion.'"
- Exemption 5, Attorney Work-Product: "[Plaintiff] argues that the District Court erroneously relied on the exemption found in § 552(b)(5)—which covers, among other things, documents protected by work-product privilege—to deny his request for the disclosure of the Agreement." "He is mistaken; the Government sought to withhold the document solely based on Exemptions 6 and 7(C), and the District Court considered only those exemptions."