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Tereshchuk v. Bureau of Prisons

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

September 16, 2014


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MYRON TERESHCHUK, Plaintiff, Pro se, Mount Rainier, MD.

For BUREAU OF PRISONS, Director, Defendant: Peter C. Pfaffenroth, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Civil Division, Washington, DC.

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Royce C. Lamberth, United States District Judge.

This case concerns whether defendant, the Bureau of Prisons (" BOP" ), has sufficiently responded to plaintiff Myron Tereshchuk's Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA" ) request. Although the parties have resolved many of the issues between them, defendant continues to withhold many of the records sought. As a result, plaintiff asserts claims under FOIA, the Administrative Procedures Act (" APA" ), and the United States Constitution, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief and asking the Court to order disclosure of the records sought.

Before the Court is defendant BOP's Motion for Summary Judgment, May 2, 2014, ECF No. 92. Upon consideration of the defendant's motion, the plaintiff's Opposition, June 13, 2014, ECF No. 95, the defendant's Reply thereto, July 16, 2014, ECF No. 98, the record herein, and applicable law, the Court GRANTS defendant's motion for summary judgment.


On August 10, 2009, Mr. Tereshchuk submitted a FOIA request seeking access to " all of the Administrative Remedy Indexes and Responses of the Central Office, all of the Administrative Remedy Indexes and Responses for all Regional Offices, and all of the Administrative Remedy Indexes and Responses for each and every institution under the control of the Federal Bureau of Prisons." Compl. ¶ 2 (emphasis in original). In a telephone conversation with the BOP's counsel on July 23, 2013, Mr. Tereshchuk agreed to limit his request to documents originating after the year 2000. Def.'s Statement of Fact ¶ 2. In early 2014, the BOP sent Mr. Tereshchuk CDs containing all of the administrative remedy indexes sought, with inmate names and register numbers redacted. Id. ¶ 3.

A. The Administrative Remedy Program

The Administrative Remedy Program (ARP) allows inmates to seek formal review of any issue relating to any aspect of their confinement. 28 C.F.R. § 542.10(a). Generally, " an inmate shall first present an issue of concern informally to staff, and staff shall attempt to informally resolve the issue before an inmate submits a Request for Administrative Remedy." Id. § 542.13(a). If an inmate is unsatisfied by any informal resolution, he may submit a formal written administrative remedy request. Id. § 542.14(a). If still unsatisfied by the warden's response, the inmate " may submit an [a]ppeal to the Regional Director,"

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and then further to the General Counsel at the BOP's Central Office. Id. § 542.15(a). Such responses " may grant or deny the inmate's request, or the BOP may provide an informational response addressing the inmate's concern." Albright Decl. ¶ 4. Such requests and appeals must be available to inmates and the public, with indexes available through the BOP Central Office. Id. § 542.19. To access responses, a requester must " identif[y] by Remedy ID number as indicated on an index" the response sought. Id. Responses are provided after inmate names and register numbers have been removed. Id.

B. Plaintiff's Request

Although the BOP has provided digital copies of all indexes requested, Mr. Tereshchuk now argues that " the indexes are so heavily redacted as to be rendered useless." Opp'n 1. He thus seeks more detailed indexes.

Further, he continues to seek all administrative remedy responses from each institution under the control of the BOP. Compl. ¶ 6. Mr. Tereshchuk requests ARP responses in order to examine the BOP's treatment of prisoners. Compl. ¶ ¶ 34, 40, 43. He believes the records will expose patterns of unequal treatment among prisoners, lack of uniform policy, and corruption. Opp'n 4.

Finally, Mr. Tereshchuk argues the responses are the result of adversarial proceedings and thus should be contained in reading rooms pursuant to § 552(a)(2). Opp'n 2-4.

He asserts claims under FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552; the APA, 5 U.S.C. § 700 et. seq.; and the United States Constitution. Compl. ¶ ¶ 2, 6, 20-21; Supp. Compl., ¶ ¶ 2, 6, 16-19.


A. Standard of Review

Summary judgment should be granted when the " materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations, . . . admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials" show " that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)-(c). The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Factual assertions in the moving party's affidavits or declarations may be accepted as true unless the opposing ...

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