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Widi v. McNeil, No. 12-cv-00188, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139228 (D. Me. Aug. 27, 2013) (Woodcock, C. J.)

Re: Request for records of statements made by five individuals concerning plaintiff in his criminal case Disposition: Denying defendant's motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment 
  • Litigation Considerations:  The court, "does not grant summary judgment."  The court finds that, "[plaintiff] has presented a genuine dispute of material fact as to the FOIA request that he alleges he sent to [defendant]."  "Specifically, he has produced record evidence to support his assertion that he included a zip code on the envelope in which he sent the request."  "From this presumption, a fact-finder could conclude that [defendant] received [plaintiff's] FOIA request and failed entirely to respond."
  • Fees:  The court denies defendant's motion for summary judgment.  The court states that, "drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of [plaintiff] the letter of November 25 on its face presents a disputed question of material fact."  "This is so because the letter is ambiguous about whether it is assessing a fee."  "Viewing the letter in the light most favorable to [plaintiff] the ordinary reader looking over the letter might be confused about whether the second bracketed paragraph demanded a fee."  "Other paragraphs clearly applicable to [plaintiff's] request are checked, but not the fee paragraph."  "A reasonable fact-finder could decide that the unchecked fee box means that the language in the un-checked paragraph is not applicable to the request."  The court concludes by stating that, "[t]he earlier correspondence between [defendant] and [plaintiff] agreed to pay some fees at some point . . . does not erase the ambiguity of the language" in the letter from defendant.
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Fees and Fee Waivers
Updated August 6, 2014