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Bey v. U.S. Dep't of Justice

March 26, 2007

JERRY LEWIS BEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John Garrett Penn United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on defendant's two motions for summary judgment [15, 28].*fn1 Having considered defendant's motions and accompanying declarations, plaintiff's oppositions, and the entire record of this case, the Court will grant summary judgment for defendant.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff brings this action against the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), see 5 U.S.C. § 552. This action pertains to three FOIA requests that plaintiff filed with the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), which is a component of the DOJ.

A. Request for Plaintiff's Telephone Records

Plaintiff sent a FOIA request to the FBI's Headquarters ("FBIHQ") for "records on Plaintiff (Jerry Lewis Bey), residential home telephone number[s] (314) 741-3341 and (314) 355-6721." Am. Compl. ¶ 1 & Ex. G (August 30, 2002 FOIA Request to FBIHQ). According to plaintiff, this information would be found in "St. Louis FBI file [245B-5], which is Titled "Jerry Lewis Bey, et. al. Moorish Science temple of America." Id. ¶ 1. Plaintiff initially limited his request to "only . . . long-distance toll-records for the month of November 1985." Id. ¶ 2, Ex. G. FBIHQ assigned this matter Request Number 967782. See Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Def.'s First Summ. J. Mot."), Declaration of David M. Hardy ("First Hardy Decl.") ¶ 8 & Ex. B (September 27, 2002 letter from D.M. Hardy, Section Chief, Freedom of Information, Privacy Acts Section, Records Management Division, FBIHQ). A subsequent letter from plaintiff requested toll records only for his home telephone number (314) 355-6721, but sought records from July through December 1985. Id. ¶ 9 & Ex. C (May 9, 2003 letter to Freedom of Information Officer, St. Louis Field Office).

On November 6, 2003, after review of "528 pages of records from Subfiles C through I and Subfiles K through M of St. Louis file 245B-SL-5," FBIHQ released 458 pages of records to plaintiff, while withholding certain information under Exemptions 2, 7(C), 7(D), 7(E), and 7(F). See First Hardy Decl. ¶ 12 & Ex. F (November 6, 2003 letter from D.M. Hardy). FBIHQ considered this release the final resolution of Request Number 967782 and two prior FOIA requests for records maintained in St. Louis file 245B-SL-5. Id. Plaintiff deemed the documents non-responsive to his FOIA request, and returned them to FBIHQ. Id. ¶ 15 & Ex. I (November 29, 2003 letter to D.M. Hardy). He filed an administrative appeal, assigned Appeal Number 04-1113, of FBIHQ's refusal to disclose the requested telephone toll records. Id. ¶¶ 19-20 & Ex. M (February 7, 2004 letter to Office of Information and Privacy ("OIP")), Ex. N (March 4, 2004 letter from P. Jones, Administrative Specialist, OIP). The appeal had not been decided when plaintiff filed this action.

B. Request for Records Pertaining to Doris Lewis Bey

Doris Lewis Bey (also known as Doris Franklin) sent a FOIA request to FBIHQ on plaintiff's behalf for any information in St. Louis file 245B-SL-5 about herself. See Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Def.'s Second Mot."), Third Declaration of David M. Hardy ("Third Hardy Decl.") ¶ 7 & Ex. A (September 20, 2002 letter from Doris Lewis Bey to FBIHQ). This request was assigned Request Number 976807. Id. ¶ 10 & Ex. D (May 8, 2003 letter from D.M. Hardy). Plaintiff already had submitted a similar request to the St. Louis Field Office, which had "advised that a search of the manual and automated indices to the Central Records System at the St. Louis Field Office had located records responsive to his request." Id. ¶ 8 & Ex. B (letter from T.B. Bush, Special Agent in Charge, St. Louis Field Office). His request was forwarded to FBIHQ for processing. Id.

FBIHQ informed plaintiff that a search of the automated indices to the Central Records System at FBIHQ yielded no records pertaining to Doris Lewis Bey. Id. ¶ 10 & Ex. D. In addition, FBIHQ reviewed 15 pages of records obtained from the St. Louis Field Office and released 5 of them, Serials 70 and 71 of St. Louis file number 245-SL-5, withholding information under Exemptions 7(C) and 7(D). Id. ¶ 14 & Ex. H (July 15, 2003 letter from D.M. Hardy).

Doris J. Franklin sent a FOIA request to FBIHQ asking that the FBIHQ disclose all records pertaining to her in St. Louis file number 245B-SL-5 to plaintiff. Compl. ¶ 54 & Ex. A (April 7, 2004 letter to D.M. Hardy); Third Hardy Decl. ¶ 15 & Ex. I (April 7, 2004 letter to D.M. Hardy). Plaintiff did not receive an acknowledgment of receipt of this request before the filing of this civil action. See id., Ex. J (July 21, 2004 letter to FBIHQ), Ex. K (September 20, 2004 letter to D.M. Hardy), Ex. L (November 20, 2004 letter to FBIHQ).

C. Request for Records Pertaining to Tonya Timmons

Tonya Timmons, who is also known as Tonya Lewis Bey and Tonya S. Brown, sent a request to FBIHQ asking that all information pertaining to herself, which was maintained in St. Louis file 245B-5, be released to plaintiff. Compl. ¶ 6 & Ex. B (April 9, 2004 letter to D.M. Hardy); Third Hardy Decl. ¶¶ 26-27 & Ex. T (April 9, 2004 letter to D.M. Hardy). A manual search of the St. Louis file ultimately located 639 pages of records which were redacted and released to plaintiff. See Defendant's Reply to Plaintiff's Motion in ...


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