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SUMMERS v. U.S. DOJ

August 9, 1996

ANTHONY SUMMERS, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHEY

 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 INTRODUCTION

 Before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment in the above-captioned case involving the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552. The parties dispute the adequacy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) search for J. Edgar Hoover's commitment calendars, telephone logs, and telephone message slips, as well as the FBI's reliance on Exemption 7 to the FOIA for redactions made in the Hoover telephone logs.

 Upon consideration of the filings by the parties, the entire record herein, and the applicable law thereto, and for the reasons set forth below, the Court shall deny the plaintiff's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court shall grant in part the defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment with respect to the adequacy of the search conducted for the telephone logs, the Court shall deny in part the defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment with respect to the commitment calendars and telephone message slips and shall direct the FBI to conduct an additional search and file an additional pleading. Additionally, the Court shall deny in part the defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment with respect to the redactions made to the telephone logs, and the Court shall direct the parties to meet and confer regarding the validity of the FBI's Exemption 7 claims.

 BACKGROUND

 The facts and procedural history of this case are set forth more fully in the numerous opinions issued by Judge Revercomb, by the undersigned Judge, and by the Court of Appeals for this Circuit. A brief description of the facts and procedural history of this case are as follows.

 On January 4, 1988, pursuant to the FOIA, counsel for the plaintiff wrote to FBI Headquarters requesting documents pertaining to J. Edgar Hoover's telephone logs and appointment calendars during his tenure as Director of the FBI. The plaintiff filed his Complaint on December 7, 1989. In response, the FBI conducted a search of its Central Records System. From July 23, 1990 until May 24, 1991, the FBI released copies of Hoover's daily logs and appointment calendars with deletions made pursuant to various FOIA exemptions.

 Following the Supreme Court's decision in United States Department of Justice v. Landano, 508 U.S. 165, 124 L. Ed. 2d 84, 113 S. Ct. 2014 (1993), the FBI reprocessed the plaintiff's FOIA request. On January 24, 1994, the FBI produced to the plaintiff 23,744 pages of reprocessed documents and 10,103 pages of documents relating to Hoover's telephone logs. Nevertheless, the FBI withheld some information pursuant to Exemptions 1 and 7 to the FOIA. The plaintiff subsequently requested the FBI to identify a sample of the withheld information and to produce a Vaughn Index. The FBI filed a Vaughn Index, and the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment.

 On July 13, 1995, the Court granted the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment with respect to those records withheld pursuant to Exemption 1, but the Court denied the FBI's Motion with respect to the Hoover telephone log entries withheld pursuant to Exemption 7 and directed the FBI to reprocess those records and to file a pleading explaining the justification for withholding any of the reprocessed records. The Court also directed the FBI to file a detailed pleading documenting the extent of the FBI's search for the records requested by the plaintiff. See Summers v. Department of Justice, Mem. Op. and Order, June 13, 1995 (Richey, J.).

 The defendant filed a declaration detailing the FBI's search for records responsive to the plaintiff's request on June 28, 1995. See Moran Decl., June 28, 1995 (Second Moran Decl.) This declaration also explained the FBI's efforts to reprocess the Hoover telephone logs. Id. P 11. The FBI then produced an additional 447 pages of telephone logs in full to the plaintiff, and redacted 590 pages pursuant to exemption 7.

 Through the latter part of 1995 and the beginning of 1996, the parties filed renewed cross-motions for summary judgment and briefs in support of said motions. On May 23, 1996, the Court held a hearing on the parties' cross-motions. The Court will now proceed to address the merits of these motions.

 DISCUSSION

 Summary judgment is appropriate when no genuine issues of material fact are in dispute and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986); Perry v. Block, 221 U.S. App. D.C. 347, 684 F.2d 121, 126 (D.C. Cir. 1982).

 The parties' cross-motions raise several issues: (1) whether the FBI's search for commitment calendars, telephone logs, and telephone message slips was adequate; and (2) whether the FBI has met its burden of showing that the redactions made to the Hoover ...


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