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HALDEMAN v. FREEMAN

February 28, 1983

HARRY R. HALDEMAN, Plaintiff
v.
ROWLAND G. FREEMAN, III, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: PENN

Harry R. Haldeman, former White House Chief of Staff, filed this action against Rowland G. Freeman, III, Administrator of the General Services Administration, Robert Warner, Archivist of the United States, Richard A. Jacobs, Assistant Archivist, and the United States of America, pursuant to section 105(a) of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act ("the Act"), 44 U.S.C. § 2107 note (1974). He seeks damages for the seizure and retention of his personal property by defendants since April 30, 1973.

 I

 Plaintiff was White House Chief of Staff from January 20, 1969 until April 30, 1973, when his resignation was accepted by President Richard M. Nixon. Complaint paras. 7, 8. The next day, May 1, 1973, plaintiff's office at the White House was sealed pursuant to the direction of President Nixon and then Attorney General, Elliot Richardson. Complaint para. 9; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment at 1.

 Among the materials included in the sealing were journals and audio tapes comprising plaintiff's personal diary. Complaint paras. 9, 13, 14; Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts para. 2. The parties agree that the diary was "personal and private" as the term is defined by the Act. See Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts para. 4.

 On May 25, 1973 plaintiff's files became the subject of a Grand Jury subpoena. Five days later Watergate Special Prosecutor, Archibald Cox, directed White House officials to secure the files and prohibit the removal of any papers. *fn1" Exhibits 4, 5, Defendant United States' Motion for Summary Judgment; Complaint para. 11.

 President Gerald R. Ford signed the Act into law on December 19, 1974, four months after the resignation of Richard M. Nixon as President of the United States. The next day, Nixon instituted an action challenging the constitutionality of the Act. Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 408 F. Supp. 321 (D.D.C. 1976), aff'd, 433 U.S. 425, 97 S. Ct. 2777, 53 L. Ed. 2d 867 (1977). During the pendency of that action plaintiff's materials were retained by White House Counsel. Affidavit of Richard A. Jacobs paras. 4, 5. *fn2" Moreover, this Court enjoined the Administrator of General Services from processing files under the Act, pending a final disposition of Nixon's action. See Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 408 F. Supp. at 374-375.

 On July 28, 1977 the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Act. Nixon v. Administrator of General Services, 433 U.S. 425, 97 S. Ct. 2777, 53 L. Ed. 2d 867 (1977). Shortly thereafter, on August 9, 1977, plaintiff's papers were removed to the vault area in the National Archives. Complaint para. 12; Defendant United States' Statement of Material Facts para. 8.

 Congress approved the regulations promulgated to implement the Act -- 41 C.F.R. Part 105-63 -- on December 12, 1977, and archival processing began one month later on January 16, 1978. Jacobs Affidavit para. 7.

 On January 5, 1979 plaintiff commenced litigation in this Court *fn3" for the return of his journals and tapes. That action was settled in the following manner:

 
(1) [The National Archives and Record Service, General Services Administration (NARS)], in the course of normal processing, examined the Haldeman files and determined which materials were personal and returnable to Mr. Haldeman; (2) NARS reviewed the subject journal and audio cassettes to locate, identify and reproduce all possible security classified portions; (3) NARS transmitted these portions to the National Security Council for classification review; (4) copies of all journals and tapes were provided to Mr. Haldeman except for security classified material; and (5) Mr. Haldeman donated the original materials to NARS.

 Jacobs Affidavit para. 13. Plaintiff then executed a deed of gift, entitled Gift of Papers and Other Historical Materials of H. R. Haldeman to Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library, on March 27, 1980, in which he donated the materials to the United States. Id. On November 5, 1980 plaintiff received the last installment of a copy of his diary with national security information removed. Id.; Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment at 5.

 The instant action, in its present posture, *fn4" seeks compensation from the United States, pursuant to Sections 105(a) & (c) of the Act, for the deprivation of plaintiff's personal and private property from May 1, 1973 until November 5, 1980. Complaint Count IV; Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment at 7.

 The case is presently before the Court on plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment (on the issue of liability), and the cross-motion of ...


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