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.

Rafael Perez-Rodriguez v. United States Department of Justice

August 31, 2012

RAFAEL PEREZ-RODRIGUEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John D. Bates United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Partial Motion to Dismiss, or Alternatively, for Summary Judgment [Dkt. #20] and Defendant ICE's Partial Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. #26]. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants the former and denies the latter without prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Rafael Perez Rodriguez is also known as Arthur Louis Guajardo. See Compl. at 1, 8 (Attestation); Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of Defs.' Partial Mot. to Dismiss or, Alternatively, for Summ. J. ("Defs.' Mem."), Decl. of David Luczynski ("Luczynski Decl."), Ex. A (identifying requester as Arthur L. Guajardo); see id., Decl. of Jim Morphew ("Morphew Decl."), Ex. B (Third Party Release Statement dated November 18, 2010) at 1 (identifying requester as Rafael Perez Rodriguez A.K.A. Arthur Louis Guajardo). He brings this action under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), see 5 U.S.C. § 552, and challenges the responses of the Executive Office for United States Attorneys ("EOUSA"), the Social Security Administration ("SSA"), and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") to his requests for information.

A. Request to the Executive Office for United States Attorneys

"On or about December 14, 2010, [plaintiff] did make a request in writing for a copy of any record . . . maintained by the [EOUSA]" about himself. Compl. at 2 (page numbers designated by the Court). Although the document plaintiff submitted to the EOUSA was labeled "Freedom of Information Request," in substance the document was a "Certificate of Identity" that did not indicate "which information [plaintiff] is seeking." Defs.' Mem., Luczynski Decl. ¶ 4. The EOUSA informed plaintiff that staff could not process the request because it did not "describe the records sought in sufficient detail to allow location of the records with a reasonable amount of effort (i.e., processing the request should not require an unduly burdensome effort or be disruptive to Department operations)." Id., Luczynski Decl., Ex. B (Letter to plaintiff from William G. Stewart II, Assistant Director, Freedom of Information & Privacy Staff, EOUSA, dated November 22, 2010) at 1. In addition, the EOUSA noted that the request did not "identify the specific United States Attorney's office(s) where [he] believe[d] records [responsive to his request] may be located," such as "the district(s) in which a prosecution or litigation occurred." Id., Luczynski Decl., Ex. B at 1.

Plaintiff responded by letter, explaining that his was "a general request." Id., Luczynski Decl., Ex. C (Letter to W.G. Stewart II from plaintiff dated December 3, 2010). Plaintiff asserted that he could "file for virtually anything the government has in its files that reference [him]," and he "demand[ed] copies of anything the government has in any file, department, agency, or databank that is indexed under [his] name, social security number, or other identifier." Id., Luczynski Decl., Ex. C. The EOUSA deemed the request insufficient still, as plaintiff "did not adequately describe the location of the records he was seeking." Id., Luczynski Decl. ¶ 7. Plaintiff did not pursue an administrative appeal to the Office of Information Policy ("OIP"), see id., Luczynski Decl. ¶ 8, and the EOUSA closed the request, see id., Luczynski Decl., Ex. D (Letter to plaintiff from W.G. Stewart II dated February 3, 2011) at 2. According to plaintiff, the EOUSA "did fail, refuse, and neglect to comply" with his FOIA request, at which time he "elected to treat" the lack of response "as a denial of his request." Compl. at 2.

B. Request to the Social Security Administration

"On or about November 23, 2010, [plaintiff] did make a request in writing for his entire . . . record maintained . . . by the [SSA]" about himself. Compl. at 4. Plaintiff addressed his request to the SSA's Office of Central Records Operations in Baltimore, Maryland. Defs.' Mem., Decl. of Dawn S. Wiggins ("Wiggins Decl."), Ex. A (Third Party Release Statement dated November 18, 2010) at 1. Attached to the request were a list of plaintiff's previous employers and copies of his earning statements. See id., Wiggins Decl., Ex. A. Staff determined that information pertaining to plaintiff would be located at its Lubbock, Texas office, id., Wiggins Decl., Ex. B (Letter to plaintiff from Dawn S. Wiggins, Freedom of Information Officer, SSA, dated March 30, 2011), and forwarded the request to that location by fax, id., Wiggins Decl. ¶¶ 7-8.

The request sought "release of all . . . information concerning [plaintiff]," id., Wiggins Decl., Ex. A, but it did not identify any particular information of interest. SSA staff was "unsure of the purpose of the request because [plaintiff] had requested . . . earnings information," even though he "submitted a copy of the earnings information that [the SSA] had already provided to him." Id., Morphew Decl. ¶ 6. Plaintiff was informed that, "if he needed information that was different than the earnings record that he had already been provided, he should make another request for information." Id., Morphew Decl. ¶ 6. The SSA received no further inquiries or requests from plaintiff. Id., Morphew Decl. ¶ 7. According to plaintiff, the SSA "did fail, refuse, and neglect to comply" with his FOIA request, at which time plaintiff "elected to treat" the lack of response "as a denial of his request." Compl. at 4.

C. Request to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

"On or about November 23, 2010, [plaintiff] did make a request in writing for his entire record maintained . . . by the [ICE]." Compl. at 6. In relevant part, the request stated:

I request that a copy of the following documents be provided to me:

1. A copy of all and every single document[s] in the file pertaining to the report of investigation through the U.S. [D]department of Homeland Security in the Agency known as ...


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.