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Bloomgarden v. United States Department of Justice

United States District Court, D. Columbia

January 22, 2014

HOWARD BLOOMGARDEN, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Defendant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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HOWARD BLOOMGARDEN, Plaintiff, Pro se, LOS ANGELES, CA.

For HOWARD BLOOMGARDEN, Plaintiff: Jack Earley, LEAD ATTORNEY, Additional Service for plaintiff, Irvine, CA; Scott Allan Hodes, LEAD ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICE OF SCOTT HODES, Washington, DC.

For KENNETH COURTER, Defendant: Kimberly J. Duplechain, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC; Sean Joseph Vanek, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Executive Office for United States Attorneys, Washington, DC.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION

ELLEN SEGAL HUVELLE, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Howard Bloomgarden has sued the Department of Justice (" DOJ" ) to compel the production of records by the Executive Office for United States Attorneys (" EOUSA" ) under the Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA" ), 5 U.S.C. § § 552, et seq. (Amend. Compl., Nov. 9, 2012 [ECF No. 11].) The defendant alleges that after a diligent search no responsive records were found. Defendant now moves for summary judgment (Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Sept. 4, 2014 [ECF No. 23] (" Mot." ).) For the reasons stated below, defendant's motion will be granted.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in Los Angeles, California, awaiting trial in a capital case. (Bloomgarden Decl., Oct. 9, 2013 [ECF No. 26-3], at ¶ 2.) In preparation of his defense, he has sought to acquire documents from the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York (" USAO-EDNY" ) regarding the termination of former Assistant United States Attorney (" AUSA" ) Raymond Granger.[1] (Pltf.'s Stat. of Pts. & Auth. in Support of His Opp. to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Oct. 9, 2013 [ECF No. 26-2] (" Opp." ), 2.) According to plaintiff, these documents may contain evidence that while Mr. Granger was an AUSA, he signed agreements with plaintiff's former counsel on behalf of California authorities without their authorization, which could potentially constitute prosecutorial misconduct. ( Id. ) In addition, plaintiff believes that AUSA Granger was terminated in part because he made anti-semitic remarks. As the plaintiff is Jewish, he believes that Granger's anti-semitic views may have played a role in the current prosecution against him. ( Id. )

Plaintiff filed two FOIA requests seeking information related to AUSA Granger's termination. On January 6, 2012, Clark Arwine (a paralegal working with the plaintiff) sent an electronic FOIA request (" the First Request" ) to the EOUSA seeking " a 35-page termination letter regarding a former AUSA, Raymond R. Granger, dated approximately October,

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1996" and " seven binders of exhibits that pertain to the letter." (Mot., Ex. A.) After receiving no response from the EOUSA, plaintiff filed a complaint on May 24, 2012, in order to compel the production of these documents. (Compl. [ECF No. 1].) On June 26, 2012, the EOUSA notified plaintiff by letter that his FOIA request had been received and that it had been split into two requests--one for case files and the other for ...


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