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Harrison v. Executive Office for United States Attorneys

July 13, 2005

DAVE HARRISON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff, a federal inmate proceeding pro se, brought this action pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552. Plaintiff challenges the disposition of his FOIA request by the Executive Office for United States Attorneys ("EOUSA"). Defendant has filed a motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff has filed an opposition to Defendant's motion and a motion for summary judgment. Based on the undisputed facts, the applicable law, and the parties' submissions, the Court will grant the Defendant's motion.

Background

On September 4, 2001, plaintiff sent a FOIA request to the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California ("USAO/SDCA"). Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Deft's Mot."), Declaration of Mary Beth Uitti ("Uitti Decl."), Exhibit ("Ex.") A. Plaintiff requested the following information:

From January, 1985, until Larry A. Burns became a magistrate judge, I request a comprehensive list of every case, to include (1) case caption and number; (2) name of parties; (3) name of court; (4) name of the judge presiding over the case; and (5) name(s) and address(es) of defense counsel; prosecuted by Burns (A) for the federal government in his capacity as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and (B) for the State of California in his capacity as Special Prosecutor (or under any designation).

Id.

Mr. Burns was an Assistant United States Attorney with the USAO/SDCA from 1985 to 1997 and a San Diego County District Attorney from 1979 to 1985. Uitti Decl., ¶ 5.

At the direction of the EOUSA, the USAO/SDCA searched for records responsive to plaintiff's request. Id., ¶ 8. On November 5, 2003, in response to plaintiff's request, the EOUSA sent 32 pages in part. Id., Ex. E & F. The EOUSA informed plaintiff that pursuant to Exemption 7 (C) of the FOIA and the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a(j)(2), it had redacted the pages of the following information: court number; case number; name of participant; name and address of opposing attorney; USAO Matter Number, case initiation date; disposition date; and sentencing date. Uitti Decl., Ex E. & Ex. F.

Plaintiff appealed the EOUSA's decision to the Office of Information and Privacy ("OIP"). Plaintiff's Opposition to Deft's Mot. ("Pl's Opp."), Ex. C. On February 27, 2004, OIP affirmed EOUSA's decision. Uitti Decl., Ex. I.

Standard of Review

Under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is appropriate if the pleadings on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 (c). Material facts are those that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Tao v. Freeh, 27 F.3d 635, 638 (D.C. Cir. 1994).

In considering whether there is a triable issue of fact, the Court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; see also Washington Post Co. v. United States Dep't of Health and Human Servs., 865 F.2d 320, 325 (D.C. Cir. 1989). The party opposing a motion for summary judgment, however, "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The non-moving party must do more than simply "show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Moreover, "any factual assertions in the movant's affidavits will be accepted as being true unless [the opposing party] submits his own affidavits or other documentary evidence contradicting the assertion." Neal v. Kelly, 963 F.2d 453, 456 (D.C. Cir.1992) (quoting Lewis v. Faulkner, 689 F.2d 100, 102 (7th Cir. 1982)).

The mere existence of a factual dispute by itself, however, is not enough to bar summary judgment. The party opposing the motion must show that there is a genuine issue of material fact. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48. To be material, the fact must be capable of affecting the outcome of the litigation; to be genuine, the issue must be supported by admissible evidence sufficient for a reasonable trier of fact to find in ...


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