Monday, August 22, 2016
Zaldivar v. VA, No. 14-01493, 2016 WL 4429657 (D. Ariz. Aug. 22, 2016) (Campbeli, J.)
Re: Request for various records concerning plaintiff
Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
- Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies: The court holds that plaintiff "did not exhaust his administrative remedies" as to one request. The court explains that "the VARO timely responded to Plaintiff's FOIA request" and "[p]laintiff's attempted appeal, claiming he did not receive a response, was filed before he received the VARO's response[.]" "Plaintiff does not claim that he filed any appeal challenging the adequacy of the VARO's response after he received it." "By not filing an appeal on the VARO's actual response, Plaintiff deprived the agency of 'an opportunity to exercise its discretion and expertise on the matter and to make a factual record to support its decision.'" The court also notes that "[a]lternatively, the Court will grant summary judgment to Defendants on the adequacy of the VARO's search [in response to this request]."
- Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search: Regarding another request, the court holds that "[d]efendants have met their burden of showing that they conducted a search for documents that was 'reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents' by [describing] where [they] conducted the search and the methods [they] used." "[Defendant's] declaration is entitled to a presumption of good faith, and Plaintiff has not rebutted that presumption."
- Exemption 6: "[T]he Court will grant summary judgment to Defendants on claimed FOIA Exemption (b)(6)." The court finds that "[p]laintiff has not identified what public interest would be served by the disclosure of [a third party's] contact information and social security number." "Even assuming [the third party] had disclosed the information in some other proceeding or the agency did not assert the exemption in a prior release of records, such disclosure still fails to shed light on how the agency performed its statutory duties in Plaintiff's case."
Adequacy of Search
Updated January 19, 2017