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GREENSPUN v. COMMISSIONER

September 30, 1985

GRETCHEN GREENSPUN, Plaintiff
v.
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: OBERDORFER

 LOUIS F. OBERDORFER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 Plaintiff, proceeding as her own attorney, brought this action under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") and the Privacy Act of 1974 in order to obtain documents and records allegedly possessed by the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"). In general, plaintiff's request referred to several categories of documents and over eighty systems of records and sought records relating to her and to her recent conviction for failure to file income tax returns. The parties previously filed cross motions for summary judgment, the IRS claiming that it had released all but eleven pages of the requested material in its control. *fn1" By memorandum dated June 26, 1985, the Court denied without prejudice the parties' cross motions for summary judgment. An order accompanying that memorandum required defendant to file, on or before July 8, 1985, a renewed motion for summary judgment. *fn2" Defendant has complied with that order. For the reasons stated below, an accompanying order will grant defendants' renewed motion for summary judgment.

 I.

 The Court's order of June 26, 1985 required defendant to include with its renewed motion for summary judgment "a detailed justification explaining whether the IRS has segregated disclosable from non-disclosable information appearing in the eleven documents presently at issue in this case." *fn3" Such segregation is required by the FOIA, which provides that "any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be provided to any person requesting such record after deletion of the portions which are exempt under this subsection." 5 U.S.C. § 552(b). In response to the Court's order, defendants have filed the Declaration of Michael J. Salem.

 The Salem Declaration also clarifies that three of the eleven pages were not released to plaintiff, even in redacted form. These documents, however, were not erroneously withheld as they were apparently not responsive to plaintiff's request. Pages 9 and 10 are described as a

 
two page . . . deficiency assessment pertaining to a third party taxpayer. It contains no information relating to plaintiff, and therefore, while it was located in a file indexed under her name, bears no connection to any of her tax years. Therefore, while it could be released by removing all identifiers, addresses and identifying numbers, it does not actually concern her request, and if redacted, would convey little if any information.

 Salem Declaration at para. 5 (emphasis added).

 Similarly, the eleventh page, a "computer printout pertaining to a third-party taxpayer," was not redacted and released "since it does not pertain to plaintiff in any way." Id. at para. 5. Given the lack of any relation between these pages and plaintiff, as well as the minimal information that would remain after redaction, defendants' decision not to release these documents was not erroneous. See Neufeld v. Internal Revenue Service, 240 U.S. App. D.C. 339, 646 F.2d 661, 666 (D.C. Cir. 1981).

 In short, the Salem Declaration demonstrates that defendants have fulfilled their obligation with respect to the eleven contested pages to insure that "any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be released to any person requesting such record after deletion of the portions which are exempt under this subsection." 5 U.S.C. § 552 (b). There remains for consideration the question of (1) whether defendants' search was reasonably calculated to uncover other relevant documents and (2) whether certain documents withheld were, as defendants claimed, protected from disclosure as grand jury materials.

 II.

 The Court's order of June 26, 1985 further required defendants to file an affidavit "demonstrating that the IRS has conducted a search calculated to uncover all relevant documents." See Weisberg v. Department of Justice, 240 U.S. App. D.C. 339, 745 F.2d 1476, 1485 (1984), (quoting Weisberg v. Department of Justice, 227 U.S. App. D.C. 253, 705 F.2d 1344, 1351 (D.C. Cir. 1983)). In response to the Court's order, defendants have filed the "Declaration of Stuart Chamberlain."

 Mr. Chamberlain, the Disclosure Specialist for the Internal Revenue Service, Philadelphia District, in his declaration stated that plaintiff "initially requested all records pertaining to her in eighty-one (81) specifically identified systems of records as well as any record pertaining ...


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