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Tracy v. U.S. Dept. of Justice

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

July 31, 2015

KIMBERLY F. TRACY, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Defendant

KIMBERLY F. TRACY, Plaintiff, Pro se, Las Vegas, NV.

For U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Defendant: Andrew Donald Fiorillo, Christina Doran Troiani, LEAD ATTORNEYS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, DC.

Page 2

MEMORANDUM OPINION

TANYA S. CHUTKAN, United States District Judge.

The present dispute involves a Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA" ) request made by Plaintiff Kimberly F. Tracy. In January 2015, Plaintiff submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (" FBI" ) seeking all records pertaining to herself. Specifically, Plaintiff sought records relating to FBI interviews, victim reports, and a telephone call she made to the agency on a specified date. In February 2015, the FBI acknowledged receipt of her request, assigned a tracking number and advised Plaintiff that it was searching its records.

Having received no records by March 19, 2015, Plaintiff initiated the present lawsuit. The FBI released eight pages of records (either in whole or part) to the Plaintiff on May 14, 2015, along with an explanation identifying the FOIA exemptions that supported any redactions. (ECF No. 14-1, Hardy Decl. ¶ ¶ 8, 23-26). On June 15, 2015, the FBI filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that the agency had fulfilled is obligations under FOIA by conducting a proper search and releasing documents to the Plaintiff, along with support for its redactions.

In response to the FBI's motion, Plaintiff filed a combined response and cross-motion for summary judgment that contained no challenge to the FBI's substantive arguments. Rather, Plaintiff cited to the FOIA statute and pointed out that the agency had failed to " determine whether to comply with [her] request by March 10, 2015" as required by statute. (ECF 15, Pls. Br. at 1)(citing 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)).

With respect to the time frame in which an agency must respond to a FOIA request, the statute provides that:

Each agency, upon any request for records made under paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection, shall--
(i) determine within 20 days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) after the receipt of any such request whether to comply with such request and shall immediately notify the

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person making such request of such determination and the reasons therefor, and of the right of such person to appeal to the head of the agency any adverse determination. . . .

5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i).

Thus, it appears that Plaintiff's sole argument in support of her claims was based upon the agency's failure to disclose the requested documents, as required by statute, within 20 days after she made her FOIA request. Relying on this failure, Plaintiff sought summary judgment in her favor. (Pl. Br. at 1-2). Plaintiff also requested an award of reasonable ...


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