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Carson v. U.S. Office of Special Counsel

February 19, 2008

JOSEPH P. CARSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Pro se plaintiff Joseph Carson seeks relief from the Court against the United States Office of Special Counsel ("OSC") under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552.*fn1 This matter is now before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment.*fn2 For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant defendant's motion for summary judgment and will deny plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

This case was filed as an appeal from the responses of the Office of Special Counsel to three requests made by plaintiff under the FOIA. See Complaint at 1. In his opposition and cross motion, however, plaintiff informs the Court that he withdraws his request under two of the FOIA requests, leaving only his request designated FO-06-2732 under consideration. See Pl. Mot. at 1.

Defendant submitted the following statement of material facts in relation to this FOIA request:

9. On September 5, 2006, the OSC received a third FOIA request from Plaintiff dated September 4, 2006, and designated as the OSC's File Number FO-06-2732. McDonnell Decl. ¶ 13.

10. Plaintiff requested the following records from the OSC:

(a) any court referrals made to the OSC, since 1989, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(F), regarding federal district determinations in litigation about FOIA requests; and (b) copies of the OSC's findings and recommendations for its investigation of all such Court referrals. McDonnell Decl. ¶ 13, Exhibit 8.

11. On September 5, 2006, the OSC responded to Plaintiff's request and advised him that the OSC's automated case management system does not distinguish between allegations received from courts and other sources. The OSC also advised Plaintiff that a manual search of records was not feasible because most of the case files over three years old had been destroyed in accordance with the National Archives and Records Administration disposition schedule for such files. McDonnell Decl. ¶ 14, Exhibit 9.

12. By letter dated September 9, 2006, Plaintiff appealed the OSC's response. McDonnell Decl. ¶ 15, Exhibit 10.

13. While his FOIA action was pending, Plaintiff, by letter to the OSC dated January 13, 2007, requested expedited processing of his FOIA request. McDonnell Decl. ¶ 16, Exhibit 3. The OSC denied Plaintiff's request. McDonnell Decl. ¶ 17, Exhibit 4.

14. By letter to the OSC dated February 2, 2007, Plaintiff clarified his FOIA request. McDonnell Decl. ¶ 18, Exhibit 11.

15. On May 31, 2007, the OSC responded to Plaintiff's FOIA appeal. The OSC advised Plaintiff that the OSC was upholding its initial response to Plaintiff that the OSC had no records responsive to his request. In addition, the OSC notified Plaintiff that there had been no known court referrals to the OSC ...


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