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White v. DOJ, No. 16-948, 2021 WL 212274 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 21, 2021) (Gilbert, J.)


White v. DOJ, No. 16-948, 2021 WL 212274 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 21, 2021) (Gilbert, J.)

Re:  Requests for a variety of records from various DOJ components

Disposition:  Denying plaintiff's motion to hold defendant in contempt, denying plaintiff's motion to alter or amend judgment; denying plaintiff's motion for costs

  • Litigation Considerations:  "[T]he Court is unable to hold the USMS in contempt of court."  The court finds that "[plaintiff] has not pointed to any detailed, unequivocal decree from the Court that the USMS violated."  "Furthermore, there is no clear and convincing evidence that [defendant's] declarations were false or intended to perpetrate a fraud on the Court."  "There is no clear evidence that the unfortunate staff turnover without adequate succession planning, although foreseeable and avoidable, was an intentional – or even reckless – ploy to delay responding to [plaintiff's] FOIA request or that any related declarations were an attempt to defraud the Court."  "Furthermore, the USMS's post-judgment effort to process [plaintiff's] request was clearly 'diligent and energetic' and was ultimately successful in producing the final releases."
  • Litigation Considerations:  "[T]he Court declines to alter or amend the judgment in this case."  "It is true that the Court misunderstood the factual situation based on the USMS's declaration that it would complete its response to [plaintiff's] 2013 FOIA request long before it actually did."  "However, that delinquency has since been remedied."  "Based on the current circumstances, the judgment in the case remains the correct resolution of this case, even if one conclusion in the supporting order is not."
  • Attorney Fees:  The Court further declines to award [plaintiff] any costs in this case."  "The Court's analysis in its May 19, 2020, order remains valid in its conclusion that [plaintiff] has failed to show he substantially prevailed in this litigation."  "To the extent he arguably was a catalyst for the USMS's response to his 2013 FOIA request, that success was such a miniscule part of this litigation that [plaintiff] otherwise lost that the Court will not deem him to have substantially prevailed in the litigation as a whole."  "Even had the Court deemed him to have prevailed as a catalyst in his claim relating to his 2013 FOIA request, the Court would still decline to award costs for the reasons stated in its original order."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Attorney Fees
Litigation Considerations, Supplemental to Main Categories
Updated February 9, 2021