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Shapiro v. U.S. Department of Justice

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

February 2, 2015

RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Defendant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO, Plaintiff: Jeffrey Louis Light, LAW OFFICE OF JEFFREY LIGHT, Washington, DC.

For DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Defendant: William Mark Nebeker, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROSEMARY M. COLLYER, United States District Judge.

Ryan Noah Shapiro brings suit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, seeking the release of any records held by the FBI that relate to " Occupy Houston," an offshoot of

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the protest movement and New York City encampment known as " Occupy Wall Street." On March 12, 2014, the Court granted in part and denied in part FBI's motion to dismiss or for summary judgment, directing FBI to provide more specificity for its withholding certain records pursuant to FOIA Exemption 7. See Shapiro v. U.S. Department of Justice ( Shapiro I), Civ. No. 13-595, 37 F.Supp.3d 7, 2014 WL 953270 (D.D.C. Mar. 12, 2014).[1] FBI subsequently submitted to the Court a supplemental memorandum and declaration in support of its withholding decisions, as well as the records at issue. After conducting an in camera and ex parte review of the records, the Court will grant FBI's Motion and dismiss this case.[2]

I. FACTS

Inasmuch as Shapiro I set forth much of the factual and procedural background relevant here, the Court assumes familiarity with that decision and draws liberally from it. To summarize, Mr. Shapiro is a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He seeks records generally concerning Occupy Houston as well as records regarding an alleged plot by unidentified actors to assassinate the leaders of Occupy Houston. Upon receiving Mr. Shapiro's FOIA requests, FBI conducted a records search, identified seventeen pages of responsive records, produced five of those pages in part and entirely withheld twelve pages under FOIA Exemptions 1, 3, 6, 7(A), 7(C), 7(D), and 7(E). Id. at *2-3. In Shapiro I, the Court found that FBI had conducted adequate searches for responsive records, had properly withheld records under Exemptions 1, 3, and 6, and could not reasonably segregate non-exempt information. Id. at *10, 12, 14. The Court also found that FBI's affiant had spoken in generalities without sufficient specifics to explain the applicability of Exemption 7, on which it partially relied to withhold some or all of some records. Id. at *13-14. The Court, therefore, directed FBI to provide more specificity on this point.

The Court's initial decision was issued on March 12, 2014. On April 9, 2014, the FBI filed a Supplemental Memorandum [Dkt. 21] which also included a Third Declaration of David M. Hardy, Section Chief of FBI's Record/Information Dissemination Section (RIDS), Records Management Division (Third Hardy Decl.) [Dkt. 21-1]. Mr. Shapiro filed a Response on April 24, 2014 [Dkt. 23] and a Notice of Supplemental Authority on May 8, 2014 [Dkt. 24]. By Minute Order entered on June 4, 2014, the Court directed FBI to submit the records in dispute for in camera and ex parte review. These were submitted on June 28, 2014 [Dkt. 25] and Mr. Shapiro filed a Second Notice of Supplemental Authority on October 27, 2014 [Dkt. 26].

II. LEGAL STANDARDS and ANALYSIS

In Shapiro I, this Court denied FBI's motion to dismiss on grounds of mootness and failure to state a claim. Thus, the only remaining question in this case is whether FBI's motion for summary judgment

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is warranted based on its claim that it properly withheld information requested by Mr. ...


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