The opinion of the court was delivered by: PRATT
In this Freedom of Information Act suit, the parties are before the Court on cross-motions for summary judgment, as well as plaintiff's motion for a protective order and defendants' opposition thereto. For the reasons hereinafter set forth, we grant defendants' motion for summary judgment.
Plaintiff addressed its initial request for records under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, to the United States Customs Service on March 5, 1976. A supplemental letter expanding the scope of plaintiff's request, dated March 31, 1976, was forwarded to the Director, Classification and Value Division, Office of Regulations and Rulings, U.S. Customs Service. On April 16, 1976, the Assistant Commissioner, Office of Regulations and Rulings (the Customs official charged by regulation with making initial determinations under the FOIA) issued a partial denial of plaintiff's request.
On April 30, 1976, plaintiff filed an appeal with the Customs Service from the Assistant Commissioner's decision. The Service requested, on May 18, 1976, a voluntary extension of thirty days within which to respond to plaintiff's appeal. (The response was due on June 12, 1976). By letter dated May 28, 1976, plaintiff denied the request for a voluntary extension.
On June 7, 1976, plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court requesting, inter alia, that the U.S. Customs Service make available to the plaintiff the documentation requested and referred to in plaintiff's appeal of April 30, 1976.
Since the filing of the complaint, the Customs Service has released five documents:
(1) A letter dated June 16, 1975, from the Chairman of the International Trade Commission to Vernon D. Acree, Commissioner of Customs;
(2) A memorandum dated June 17, 1975, from Ben L. Irvin to James J. Featherstone;
(3) An August 13, 1975 letter from William D. Kane, Customs Representative, Bonn Republic of West Germany, to Mario Cozzi, Chief, Foreign Investigations Branch, Customs Headquarters;
(4) A December 29, 1975 memorandum from the Commissioner of Customs to David R. MacDonald, Assistant Treasury Secretary (Enforcement, Operations, and Tariff Affairs); and
(5) A memorandum dated August 4, 1975 from B. J. Victor to the File.
Each of the above documents was previously claimed to be exempt in its entirety. Four additional documents described in the March 2, 1977 affidavit of Vernon D. Acree, Commissioner of Customs, at paras. 13, 15, 16, 17 (hereinafter the "Acree affidavit") which were previously withheld, have been partially disclosed. The Acree affidavit is attached to defendants' Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment.
A letter dated May 6, 1975, to Senator Henry Jackson from Ivor I. Allsop, has also recently been released. Therefore, the partial or complete nondisclosure by the defendants of ten documents identified and described in ...