prior to seeking a judicial remedy. Any requester of records must "describe those records in sufficient detail to enable Department [of Justice] personnel to locate the system of records containing the record with a reasonable amount of effort." 28 C.F.R. § 16.41. This plaintiff has not done. Furthermore, the Tax Division has received a number of similar requests from Oxford, WI, where plaintiff is incarcerated (Ferrel Declaration, P5). In several instances, the Tax Division has never received the initial request, and became aware of the request only upon the filing of an appeal. The precipitous filing of a lawsuit without making even a minimal effort to follow Justice Department guidelines cannot be sanctioned.
Dismissing this count without prejudice will enable plaintiff to go through the proper administrative channels to obtain the information he seeks; if he is not satisfied with the Tax Division's response, he is free to re-file this suit in the future.
III. COUNT IX (Internal Revenue Service)
On April 8, 1995, plaintiff sent a request for "any and all documents and any type of information that your agency has or had in its possession that is in any way connected to, related to or even remotely in reference to his name" to the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"). According to the sworn statements of Mary Lou Osowski, Disclosure Specialist for the IRS in Chicago (the "Osowski Declaration") and Lester D. Langell, Criminal Investigation Division Disclosure Coordinator for the IRS's Chicago District (the "Langell Declaration"), defendant asked that plaintiff amend his request to comply with agency guidelines. Plaintiff complied, stating that his records most likely would be found in the Criminal Investigation Division (CID). The IRS conducted a search of its CID database, and found nothing with plaintiff's taxpayer I.D. number on it (Langell Declaration, P4). The IRS so notified plaintiff.
Plaintiff does not actually allege a FOIA violation by IRS, but simply states in his complaint that "IRS is withholding information from plaintiff." This charge is unsupported by any evidence.
In a FOIA suit, the agency "must show beyond material doubt that it has conducted a search reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents. The issue is not whether any further documents might conceivably exist, but rather whether the government's search for responsive documents was adequate." Weisberg v. United States Dept. of State, 227 U.S. App. D.C. 253, 705 F.2d 1344, 1350 (D.C. Cir. 1983), quoting Perry v Block, 221 U.S. App. D.C. 347, 684 F.2d 121, 128 (D.C. Cir. 1982). The IRS has fully discharged its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act by conducting a thorough search of its database (Langell Declaration, P4). The plaintiff is not entitled to any further relief as a matter of law.
Plaintiff has failed to show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Accordingly, defendants' motions for summary judgment are granted. An appropriate order follows.
United States District Court