Walsh v. FBI, No. 11-2213, 2013 WL 3340364 (D.D.C. July 3, 2013) (Roberts, J.)

Date: 
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Re: Request for records concerning former Marine Commandant's alleged harassing of plaintiff Disposition: Denying plaintiff's motion for recusal; granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion for summary judgment
  • Adequacy of the Search:  The court finds that defendant's search was adequate.  The court notes that "despite [defendant]'s unsuccessful effort to get from [plaintiff] more identifying information that would enable a reasonable search for responsive records, [defendant] resourcefully used information it gleaned from [plaintiff]'s submissions in this case to conduct an appropriate, reasonable search to find the information [plaintiff] sought."  The court finds that defendant's "declaration explains the system used to conduct the search, why the relevant information would be in that system, and the scope of the search."  Additionally, plaintiff "has not shown that [defendant]'s search was inadequate, and [plaintiff's] bare allegation that [declarant] was untruthful is insufficient to overcome the presumption of good faith accorded to agency declarations."
  • Exemptions 6 and 7(C):  The court denies defendant's "motion for summary judgment regarding [plaintiff]'s request for the names of the agents in charge of the Harrisburg Resident Agency."  The court notes defendant's statement that, "Exemptions 6 and 7(C) [were used to] withhold the names of [defendant] agents in charge of the Harrisburg Resident Agency because the agents are 'responsible for conducting, supervising and/or maintaining investigative activities[,]' and because of 'the risk of harassment of these agents.'"  The court finds that this statement, "fail[s] to meet [defendant's] burden to justify withholding the names of the agents in charge of the Harrisburg Resident Agency."  The court explains that defendant, "has not analyzed or explained how the balance of privacy and public interests favors concealing the mere identity of the managing head of a field office or resident agency."  The court notes that, "[t]hat is information that would intuitively seem to be public anyway and not shielded otherwise by [defendant's] practices."
Topic: 
Adequacy of Search
District Court
Exemption 6
Exemption 7C
Updated August 6, 2014