Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

EAST TENNESSEE RESEARCH CORP. v. TVA

June 28, 1976

EAST TENNESSEE RESEARCH CORP., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SIRICA

 This is an action under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552 (1970), as amended, (Supp. IV, 1974). The plaintiffs are an individual person and two citizen groups, all from Tennessee. The defendants are the Tennessee Valley Authority ("TVA"), a federal government corporation based in Knoxville, Tennessee, and R. Lynn Seeber, the corporation's general manager, who lives and works in Tennessee also.

 The defendants have moved for dismissal of this suit on two grounds: (1) that they are not amenable to service of process by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and (2) that, assuming they can be served, they have not been served in an authorized manner. For the reasons which follow, the Court concludes that the defendants are wrong on both counts.

 I

 Rule 4(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that:

 
all process other than subpoena may be served anywhere within the territorial limits of the state in which the district court is held, and, when authorized by a statute of the United States or by these rules, beyond the territorial limits of that state. . . .

 The Court assumes, and the plaintiffs do not dispute, that the TVA, and therefore Mr. Seeber, are not amenable to service within the District of Columbia itself. Cf. Fehlhaber Pile Co. v. TVA, 81 U.S. App. D.C. 124, 155 F.2d 864 (1946). Rather, the plaintiffs argue that a statute of the United States, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4) (B) (Supp. IV, 1974), authorizes extraterritorial service on the TVA in FOIA cases. That section provides that:

 
on complaint, the district court of the United States in the district in which the complainant resides, or has his principal place of business, or in which the agency records are situated, or in the District of Columbia, has jurisdiction to enjoin [an agency subject to the Act] . . . . [emphasis added]

 Congress in 1974 specifically added the District of Columbia District Court to the list of possible forums in which a complainant might bring an FOIA action. Pub. L. No. 93-502, § 1(b)(2) (Nov. 21, 1974), amending 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3) (1970). The reason for this was two-fold: (1) to give a plaintiff an opportunity to put his case before a court which has "substantial expertise" in working with the Act, and (2), "since attorneys in the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., will have been involved in initial FOIA determinations at the administrative level," to provide a forum that would be convenient to the defendant government as well. S. Rep. No. 854, 93d Cong., 2d Sess. 12-13 (1974).

 The first of these reasons obviously will not diminish in importance depending on the particular defendant; its focus is on the forum itself. The second loses all its force, however, when the TVA is the defendant, since the corporation neither is represented by nor confers with the Justice Department on FOIA matters; the TVA's own attorneys in Knoxville, Tennessee, do this work. It is possible, therefore, that Congress might have intended that this portion of § 552(a)(4)(B) not apply where the TVA was the defendant.

 The Court concludes that § 552(a)(4)(B) gives plaintiffs in FOIA suits against the TVA the right to sue in this District Court. This necessarily implies that the TVA is amenable to extraterritorial service of process by this Court.

 II

 Process was served on an appointed agent of both of the defendants by a deputy U.S. marshal in Tennessee. The defendants argue that this manner ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.