Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Maurice D. Cooper v. William G. Stewart

February 8, 2011

MAURICE D. COOPER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM G. STEWART, II, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Beryl A. Howell United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on defendants' motion to dismiss or, alternatively, for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed below, the motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff brings this action under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), see 5 U.S.C. § 552, in order to obtain records from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys ("EOUSA") pertaining to a detainer lodged against him in January 2007. See Compl. at 3; Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss or, Alternatively, for Summ. J. ("Defs.' Mem."), Decl. of Dione J. Stearns ("Stearns Decl.") & 7; see id., Ex. D (Letter from plaintiff to the Director of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Staff, EOUSA, dated March 30, 2009) at 1-2 (page numbers designated by the Court). Plaintiff explains that he learned of the detainer following his arrest on January 10, 2007 in Queens, New York, while detained at the Rikers Island Detention Center. Id., Ex. D at 2. In this FOIA request, he seeks of a copy of the detainer.*fn1 See id. at 4.

Plaintiff pursued an administrative appeal to the DOJ's Office of Information Policy ("OIP"). Id., Stearns Decl. & 10. With his appeal, he included "an affidavit that was executed in this case, and a copy of the arrest warrant" issued by the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. Id., Ex. H (Letter from plaintiff to OIP dated August 15, 2009). The affidavit to which plaintiff referred was that of FBI Special Agent Brad Cadard regarding his determination that plaintiff was the same individual for whom the Nevada arrest warrant had been issued on January 12, 2007. See Pl.'s Opp'n, Stmt. of Material Facts As to Which There is No Genuine Issue, Pursuant to Local Rule 7(h) ¶ 9; id., Ex. I (Cadard Aff.) ¶¶ 1-3.*fn2 The OIP responded as follows:

EOUSA staff assigned the matter a tracking number, Request No. 09-1488. Defs.' Mem., Stearns Decl., Ex. E (Letter to plaintiff from W.G. Stewart II, Assistant Director, Freedom of Information & Privacy Staff, EOUSA, dated May 5, 2009). A search of records maintained by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Nevada ("USAO/DNV") yielded one public document described as Defendant's Sentencing Voluntary Statement. Id., Decl. of Blaine T. Welsh ("Welsh Decl.") && 10-14. This document was not deemed responsive to the FOIA request, and it was not forwarded to the EOUSA for processing. Id. ¶¶ 12, 15. Consequently, the EOUSA informed plaintiff that no responsive records had been found at the USAO/DNV. Stearns Decl. ¶ 9*fn3 ; see id., Ex. G (Letter to plaintiff from William G. Stewart II, Assistant Director, Freedom of Information & Privacy Staff, EOUSA, dated July 29, 2009).

After carefully considering your appeal, and as a result of discussions between EOUSA personnel and a member of my staff, EOUSA determined that records located as a result of its search, although originally considered to be non-responsive, are in fact responsive to your request. Accordingly, I am remanding your request for processing of the responsive records.

Id., Ex. J (Letter from J.G. McLeod, Associate Director, Office of Information Policy, dated November 9, 2009).*fn4

On October 5, 2009, an EOUSA staff member "requested the 16-page Defendant's Sentencing Voluntary Statement," and the document "was e-mailed . . . on October 6, 2009." Welsh Decl. ¶ 16. The EOUSA released this document to plaintiff in full. Id., Stearns Decl. ¶ 13; see id., Ex. K (Letter to plaintiff from W.G. Stewart II dated November 19, 2009).

II. DISCUSSION

A. The Complaint Is Construed as a FOIA Action Against the DOJ

Plaintiff names three individuals as defendants to this action, each involved in the processing of his FOIA claim. Because the FOIA applies only to certain executive branch agencies of the federal government, see 5 U.S.C. § 552(f)(1), plaintiff cannot bring a FOIA claim against these individuals. See Beard v. Dep' t of Justice, 917 F. Supp. 62, 63 (D.D.C. 1996); Whittle v. Moschella, 756 F. Supp. 589, 596 (D.D.C. 1991). Accordingly, William G. Stewart, II, Dione J. Stearns, and Janice Galli McLeod will be dismissed as party defendants, and all claims against these individuals will be dismissed.

Additionally, to the extent that plaintiff attempts to bring constitutional claims against these individual defendants under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), or against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, see generally Pl.'s Opp'n at 14-21, such claims are not recognized under the FOIA. Johnson v. Exec. Office for U.S. Attorneys, 310 F.3d 771, 777 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (affirming dismissal of Bivens claim against federal government official who allegedly mishandled a FOIA request purportedly in violation of requester's Fifth Amendment right to due process because "the comprehensiveness of FOIA precludes the creation of a Bivens remedy"); Harrison v. Lappin, No. 04-0061, 2005 WL 752186, at *3 (D.D.C. Mar. 31, 2005) ("To the extent that plaintiff's complaint . . . may be read as seeking relief from any defendant for an alleged violation of constitutional rights for failure to comply with the FOIA . . ., it fails. [The] FOIA is a comprehensive statutory scheme to resolve all issues associated with the release of government documents.").

The Court construes plaintiff's complaint as a FOIA action only as against the DOJ. For convenience, however, the Court will refer to the defendant in this action as the EOUSA, the DOJ ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.