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White v. FBI, No. 20-1798, 2021 WL 1118087 (7th Cir. Mar. 24, 2021) (per curiam)


White v. FBI, No. 20-1798, 2021 WL 1118087 (7th Cir. Mar. 24, 2021) (per curiam)

Re:  Request for records concerning white supremacy and white nationalism

Disposition:  Affirming district court's denial of requester's motion for preliminary injunction

  • Litigation Considerations, Preliminary Injunctions:  The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit notes that "[the requester] challenges only the denial of his request that the FBI release 55,000 pages of documents immediately."  The court holds that "under § 552(a)(6)(D)(1), agencies may develop regulations 'for multitrack processing of requests for records based on the amount of work or time (or both) involved in processing requests.'"  "And the Department of Justice has done so, allowing agencies such as the FBI to 'designate additional processing tracks that distinguish between simple and more complex requests based on the estimated amount of work or time needed to process the request.'"  "The FBI's policy for requests exceeding 500 pages of documents is one of those contemplated tracks that allows for measured production of large FOIA requests."  "Furthermore, the district court permissibly ruled that the FBI's application of its policy did not warrant an injunction."  "The policy does not prohibit all requests for immediate release of large amounts of documents."  "Rather, FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(E), and the DOJ's regulations, 28 C.F.R. § 16.5(e), allow for expedited production if the requester's safety is in danger, the public's need to know about governmental activity is urgent, or widespread media interest raises questions about the government’s integrity."  "[The requester] does not attack this standard on its face, and the court reasonably ruled that [the requester] did not meet it."  "Thus, the district court reasonably concluded that the FBI was not improperly withholding documents by following its statutorily permissible policy and producing documents at 500 pages per month."
Court Decision Topic(s)
Court of Appeals opinions
Litigation Considerations, Preliminary Injunctions
Updated April 20, 2021