The opinion of the court was delivered by: Urbina, District Judge.
GRANTING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS; GRANTING THE
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A SUPPLEMENTAL COMPLAINT
I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
This matter comes before the court on the defendant's motion
to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and the
plaintiffs motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint. On
May 11, 1995, Steven Aftergood ("the plaintiff"), filed a
Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552 et seq.,
request with the Central Intelligence Agency ("CIA" or "the
defendant") seeking budget information for the years 1947
through 1990. Compl. ¶ 14. The CIA denied the plaintiffs request
and on June 5, 1995 the plaintiff filed an administrative appeal
with the CIA. Id. ¶ 16-17. Five years later, the CIA denied
the plaintiffs appeal. Id. ¶ 18. Continuing his effort to
obtain the budget information from the CIA, the plaintiff filed
a complaint with this court on December 7, 2001. Id. ¶ 10.
A. The Court Grants the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for
Lack of Subject-Matter Jurisdiction
The defendant moves to dismiss, pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), arguing that the statute of
limitations precludes the court's subject-matter jurisdiction.
Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss at 1. On a motion to dismiss pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(1), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing
that the court has jurisdiction. Dist. of Columbia Retirement
Bd. v. United States, 657 F. Supp. 428, 431 (D.C. 1987). In
evaluating whether subject-matter jurisdiction exists, the court
must accept all the complaint's well-pled factual allegations as
true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs favor.
Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40
L.Ed.2d 90 (1974), overturned on other grounds, Harlow v.
Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 73 L.Ed.2d 396
(1982). The court need not, however, accept inferences
unsupported by the facts alleged or legal conclusions that are
cast as factual allegations. See, e.g., Lawrence v. Dunbar,
919 F.2d 1525, 1529 (11th Cir. 1990).
The plaintiff in this case filed his complaint pro
se.*fn1 As such, the court recognizes and applies to this
case the principal that "[p]ro se litigants are allowed more
latitude than litigants represented by counsel to correct
defects in service of process and pleadings." Moore v. Agency
for Int'l Dev., 994 F.2d 874, 876 (D.C.Cir. 1993) (citing
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d
652 (1972)). Nevertheless, a pro se plaintiff, must still
follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Id.
The applicable statute of limitations for FOIA actions is
28 U.S.C. § 2401(a), which requires that a complaint be filed
within six years of the accrual of a claim. 5 U.S.C. § 552;
Spannaus v. Dep't of Justice, 824 F.2d 52, 55 (D.C.Cir. 1987).
"Unlike an ordinary statute of limitations, § 2401(a) is a
jurisdictional condition attached to the government's waiver of
sovereign immunity, and as such must be strictly construed."
Generally, a cause of action accrues as soon as the claimant
can institute and maintain a suit in court. Spannaus, 824 F.2d
at 56. More specifically, a FOIA claim accrues once the claimant
has constructively exhausted his or her administrative remedies.
Id. at 57. Constructive exhaustion occurs when the time limits
by which an agency must reply to a FOIA claimant's request or
appeal (if there is an appeal) expire. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(C);
Spannaus, 824 F.2d at 58.
B. The Court Grants the Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File
a Supplemental Complaint Based on the 2002 FOIA Request
The plaintiff filed a second FOIA request with the CIA on
February 22, 2002. Pl.'s Mot. for Leave to File a Supp. Compl.
at 1-2. Though the requests were filed at different times and
may have been reviewed by different CIA employees, the 2002 FOIA
request is "substantially similar" to the 1995 FOIA request in
that both request the same CIA budget information. Id.
Regarding the 2002 request, the plaintiff constructively
exhausted his administrative remedies 20 business days after
filing the 2002 request, when the agency's response period
expired. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i). Therefore, a new cause of
action accrued on or about March 22, 2002. Id.; Pl.'s Mot. for
Leave to File a Supp. Compl. at 2. The plaintiff requests leave
to file a ...