United States District Court, D. Columbia
Jesse J. Dean, Jr., Plaintiff,
United States Department of Justice, et al., Defendant
JEROME DEAN, JR., Plaintiff, Pro se, MCRAE, GA.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, UNITED STATES DRUG
ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, PRISCILLA JONES, Supervisory
Administrative Specialist, U.S. Department of Justice -
Office of Information Policy, KATHERINE L. MYRICK, Chief,
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration - FOI/Records Management
Section, Defendants: Eric Joseph Young, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S.
ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.
Mehta, United States District Judge.
Freedom of Information Act (" FOIA" ) case, the
court denied Defendants' initial motion for summary
judgment based on Defendant Drug Enforcement
Administration's (" DEA" ) decision to neither
confirm nor deny the existence of records sought by Plaintiff
Jesse J. Dean. Dean v. United States DOJ, 87
F.Supp.3d 318 (D.D.C. 2015). Plaintiff defeated
Defendants' motion by showing that the record he sought
from the DEA--a " cooperating individual
agreement," which he had signed with the DEA in 1991--in
fact existed, because prosecutors had used that record at his
trial to secure his conviction. Id. at 321. The
court ordered the DEA to conduct a search for the requested
record. Id. at 322.
again move for summary judgment, this time on the basis that
the DEA has conducted an adequate search, yet was unable to
locate the requested document. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J.,
ECF No. 32. Upon consideration of the parties'
submissions, the court finds that the search was indeed
adequate. It therefore grants Defendants' motion for
summary judgment for the reasons explained below.
background of this case was previously recited and will not
be repeated here. See Dean, 87 F.Supp.3d at
319-20. An inadequate search for records constitutes an
improper withholding under the FOIA. See Maydak
v. United States DOJ, 254 F.Supp.2d 23, 44 (D.D.C.
2003). Hence, " a requester dissatisfied with the
agency's response that no records have been found may
challenge the adequacy of the agency's search by filing a
lawsuit in the district court[.]" Valencia-Lucena v.
U.S. Coast Guard, 180 F.3d 321, 326, 336 U.S.App.D.C.
386 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (citations omitted).
agency seeking summary judgment on the search question bears
the burden of showing that, even with the facts viewed in the
light most favorable to the requester, the agency has
conducted a search " reasonably calculated to uncover
all relevant documents." Weisberg v. DOJ, 705
F.2d 1344, 1351, 227 U.S.App.D.C. 253 (D.C. Cir. 1983). To
carry this burden, the agency may submit a " reasonably
detailed affidavit, setting forth the search terms and the
type of search performed, and averring that all files likely
to contain responsive materials (if such records exist) were
searched." Oglesby v. U.S. Dep't of Army,
920 F.2d 57, 68, 287 U.S.App.D.C. 126 (D.C. Cir. 1990).
Production of such an affidavit allows a requester to
challenge, and a court to assess, the adequacy of the search
performed by the agency. Id. The agency's
affidavits are afforded " a presumption of good faith,
which cannot be rebutted by purely speculative claims."
SafeCard Servs., Inc. v. SEC, 926 F.2d 1197, 1200,
288 U.S.App.D.C. 324 (D.C. Cir. 1991) (internal quotation
have proffered the declaration of Jeffrey Green, DEA Special
Agent and Unit Chief of the Confidential Source Unit, Policy
and Source Management Section, Office of Operations
Management (" OMPI" ). Declaration of Jeffrey
Green, ECF No. 32-3, ¶ ¶ 1-2. Green is an expert on
matters such as the " maintenance, storage, retention