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BEARD v. DOJ

March 5, 1996

HUGH JOSEPH BEARD, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPORKIN

 This matter comes before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff is an attorney appearing pro se. Defendant is the United States Department of Justice.

 FACTS

 At this stage the case involves a dispute over a single document, namely an investigative report regarding the Plaintiff prepared by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD). Defendant claims that the document need not be produced because it comes within exemption (7)(D) of ยง 552 of the FOIA. This provision protects from disclosure confidential sources named in law enforcement documents. The FBI obtained the MPD report as part of a background investigation of Plaintiff.

 SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

 Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Mere allegations or denials of the moving party's pleadings are not enough to prevent issuance of summary judgment. The adverse party's response to the summary judgment motion must "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e).

 The Supreme Court set forth the governing standards for issuance of summary judgment in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986), in which the Supreme Court recognized the need for summary judgment to the fair and efficient functioning of the justice system:

 
Summary judgment procedure is properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are designed "to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action." Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 1 . . . . Rule 56 must be construed with due regard not only for the rights of persons asserting claims and defenses that are adequately based in fact to have those claims and defenses tried to a jury, but also for the rights of persons opposing such claims and defenses to demonstrate in the manner provided by the Rule, prior to trial, that the claims and defenses have no factual basis. Id. at 327. (citation omitted).

 The non-moving party, is "required to provide evidence that would permit a reasonable jury to find in its favor". Laningham v. U.S. Navy, 259 U.S. App. D.C. 115, 813 F.2d 1236, 1242 (D.C. Cir. 1987)(p er curiam)(citing Celotex, supra). The moving party is entitled to summary judgment where "the non-moving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of [its] case with respect to which [it] has the burden of proof." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Any factual assertions contained in affidavits and other evidence in support of the moving party's motion for summary judgment shall be accepted as true unless the facts are controverted by the non-moving party through affidavits or other documentary evidence. See Local Rule 108(h).

 In resolving the summary judgment motion, all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the court must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505. The inferences, however, must be reasonable, and the non-moving party can only defeat a motion for summary judgment by responding with some factual showing to create a genuine issue of material fact. Harding v. Gray, 9 F.3d 150, 154 (D.C. Cir. 1993).

 ANALYSIS AND DECISION

 Exemption (7)(D) states:

 
This section does not apply to . . . records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information. . . could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local or foreign agency . . . which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the ...

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