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Adam Davis v. Federal Bureau of Investigation et al

March 7, 2011

ADAM DAVIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Emmet G. Sullivan United States District Judge

Document No. 26

MEMORANDUM OPINION

In this action brought under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552, plaintiff sues several federal agencies and agency components for allegedly failing to respond to his requests for records pertaining to himself. He names as defendants the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), the Executive Office for United States Attorneys ("EOUSA"), the Departments of Treasury, Justice ("DOJ") and Homeland Security, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network ("FinCen"), the Secret Service, and the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). Pending before the Court is the motion of Treasury, FinCen, Homeland Security, the SEC and the Secret Service to dismiss or for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies [Dkt. # 26]. Plaintiff has not opposed this motion. Upon consideration of the parties' submissions and the relevant parts of the record, and for the reasons explained below, the Court will grant the moving defendants' motion for summary judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that he requested from each defendant all records pertaining to himself, "including, but not limited to, Criminal, Civil, Corporate, Individual, and Bond Information and/or Commercial Crimes Bonding Information and/or Case Bonding Information and/or Commercial Crimes Bonding Certification . . . ." Compl. Attach. The moving defendants' responses are as follows.

Treasury's Response

Treasury's Office of Disclosure Services received plaintiff's request dated October 5, 2009, on October 13, 2009. Declaration of Hugh Gilmore ("Gilmore Decl.") [Dkt. # 26- 8] ¶ 3, Ex. A. By letter of October 20, 2009, Disclosure Services informed plaintiff that it could not process his request for several reasons. It informed plaintiff, among other things, that he had to provide verification of his identity, that Treasury had no centralized file or central index and, therefore, he "should submit [his] request to the [enclosed list of] Treasury bureaus that [he] believe[d] would maintain responsive records[,]" and that he had to agree to pay any assessed fees prior to the processing of his request. Id., Ex. B.

By letter of November 3, 2009, plaintiff agreed to pay $25 in search fees and provided a photo identification card, but provided no further clarification of his request. Id., Ex. C. By letter of November 5, 2009, Disclosure Services again advised plaintiff that it maintained no central index, that he would need to target specific bureaus and that it maintained no "information, or documentation of the nature you have requested . . . ." Id., Ex. D. It referred plaintiff to websites that may contain information about "Treasury Contract Trust Accounts and Bills of Exchange" and "Treasury's list of companies approved to serve as sureties on federal bonds," and advised plaintiff that it would not respond "to further correspondence of this nature" and was returning his request pursuant to 31 C.F.R. Part 1, Subpart A. Id. Treasury has no record of having received subsequent correspondence from plaintiff. Id. ¶ 6.

FinCen's Response

FinCen received plaintiff's request dated October 5, 2009, on October 9, 2009. Declaration of Amanda Michanczyk [Dkt. # 26-3] ¶ 6, Ex. A. Following a search, FinCen informed plaintiff by letter of October 15, 2009 that it had located no responsive records and advised him of his right to appeal administratively within 35 days of the determination. Id. ¶ 8 & Ex. C. [Dkt. # 40-1]. FinCen has no record of an appeal from plaintiff. Michanczyk Decl. ¶ 8.

Homeland Security's Response

Homeland Security received plaintiff's request dated September 28, 2009, on October 7, 2009. Declaration of Vania T. Lockett [Dkt. # 26-1] ¶ 9 & Ex. A. By letter of October 15, 2009, Homeland Security informed plaintiff that it could not search for responsive records because the request was not sufficiently specific. Id., Ex. B. It advised plaintiff to perfect his request within 30 days or it would assume he was no longer interested in the request and close his file. Id. Homeland Security has no record of having received a response from plaintiff. Id. ¶ 14.

SEC's Response

Plaintiff alleges that he submitted a FOIA request to the SEC. Compl. at 8-9. The SEC has no record of having received plaintiff's request. See Declaration of Margaret ...


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