United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION Re Document No.: 265
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
in Part Defendants’ Second Motion for Partial Summary
in prison, pro se Plaintiff Jeremy Pinson filed
multiple Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5
U.S.C. § 552, requests with different components of the
U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”). On several
occasions, the DOJ has asked Pinson to clarify
records requests, told her that it could not find records
that are responsive to her requests, or informed her that the
records she sought were exempt from disclosure by law. Pinson
took issue with some of these determinations, so she filed a
complaint claiming that the DOJ improperly withheld numerous
records from her in violation of FOIA. In response, the DOJ
filed several pre-answer motions, each asking the Court to
dismiss or grant summary judgment in its favor on different
portions of Pinson’s complaint.
previously moved for summary judgment as to Pinson’s
numerous FOIA claims against the Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”). The Court resolved that prior motion by
granting summary judgment in part to the DOJ and denying
summary judgment in part. See Pinson v. U.S. Dep’t
of Justice, No. 12-1872, 2016 WL 29245, at *1 (D.D.C.
Jan. 4, 2016). On February 3, 2016, the DOJ filed a second
motion for partial summary judgment as to some of
Pinson’s claims against the BOP. See
Defs.’ 2d Mot. Summ. J. Respect BOP
(“Defs.’ 2d MSJ”), ECF No. 265.
Specifically, the DOJ’s second motion addresses seven
numbered requests, and argues that the searches it conducted
were reasonably calculated to identify responsive records,
and that any records not produced were properly withheld
pursuant to FOIA exemptions. See Defs.’ Mem. P.
& A., ECF No. 265-2.
March 18, 2016, the Court advised Pinson of her obligation to
timely respond to DOJ’s second motion for summary
judgment. See Order of Mar. 18, 2016, ECF No. 272;
see also Fox v. Strickland, 837 F.2d 507, 509 (D.C.
Cir. 1988) (per curiam) (holding that a district court must
take pains to advise a pro se party of the consequences of
the failure to respond to a dispositive motion); Neal v.
Kelly, 963 F.2d 453, 456 (D.C. Cir. 1992). In that same
order, the Court granted Pinson additional time to respond
and explained that if Pinson failed to do so by May 18, 2016,
the Court could treat the motion as conceded, grant the
motion, and dismiss Pinson’s claims as to the BOP.
See Order of Mar. 18, 2016. May 18, 2016, has now
passed, and Pinson has still not responded to DOJ’s
second motion for partial summary judgment.
light of her failure to respond, Pinson has conceded the
DOJ’s statement of undisputed facts. See
D.D.C. Local Civ. R. 7(h). With those conceded facts in mind,
the Court will address whether granting DOJ’s second
motion for partial summary judgment is warranted.
Court has already explained the factual background in detail
in its prior Memorandum Opinion. See Pinson, 2016 WL
29245, at *3-5. The Court assumes familiarity with its prior
opinion and confines its discussion to the facts most
relevant to the present motion.
Request No. 2011-4954
February 2011, Pinson submitted a request to the BOP for the
production of “[a]ny Discipline Hearing Officer Report,
issued in the years 2010 or 2011, to an inmate assigned to
any phase of the ADX Step-Down Program, wherein a Prohibited
Act Code 100, 100A, 101, 101A was found to have been
committed.” 2d Decl. Kara Christenson Ex. 2 (“2d
Christenson Decl.”), ECF No. 265-4. This request was
assigned number 2011-4954 and, by letter dated October 20,
2011, the DOJ advised Pinson that it had located no
responsive records. See Id. ¶¶ 5, 10 &
Ex. 3. In its first motion for summary judgment, the DOJ
argued that Pinson had failed to exhaust her administrative
remedies, but the Court denied the DOJ’s motion for
summary judgment because genuine issues of fact remained
concerning whether Pinson ever received BOP’s final
response for this request. See Pinson, 2016 WL
29245, at *12-13. Since the Court issued that opinion, the
BOP has hand-delivered a copy of the final response letter to
Pinson. See 2d Christenson Decl. ¶ 4 & Ex.
1. In this motion, the DOJ now argues that its search was
adequate. See Defs.’ 2d MSJ at 1-2.
Request No. 2011-9164
2011, Pinson submitted a request to the BOP for the
production of: (1) “All information regarding debts or
encumbrances to [her] inmate trust account including the
date, source and amount of each since 1-1-2008”; (2)
“All contact data, incoming and outgoing messages in
[Pinson’s] TRULINCS account from 2-14-08 to
5/30/08”; and (3) photographs taken of Pinson
“following altercations on Aug. 31, 2007 and Sept. 9,
2007 at USP Beaumont, Oct. 15, 2007 and Dec. 12, 2007 at USP
Florence, March 30, 2008 and April 9, 2008 at USP
Victorville, Sept. 10, 2009 and June 25, 2010 at FCI
Talladega.” See 2d Christenson Decl. Ex. 4. In
response to this request, the DOJ released 114 pages of
responsive records by letter dated July 26, 2012. See
Id. ¶ 24. The DOJ informed Pinson that no records
could be found concerning the TRULINCS account because it had
not existed at the facility in which Pinson was housed during
the identified time period. See Id. ¶¶ 15,
24 & Ex 5. Moreover, the BOP advised Pinson that it had
only been able to locate photographic records for five of the
eight altercations she had listed. See Id. ¶ 24
& Ex. 5. The Court denied the DOJ’s previous motion
for summary judgment with respect to this request, concluding
that there was a factual dispute as to whether Pinson had
received the DOJ’s final response. See Pinson,
2016 WL 29245, at *13. And, again, after the Court issued its
opinion, the BOP hand-delivered a copy of its final response
letter to Pinson. See 2d Christenson Decl. ¶ 4
& Ex. 1. The DOJ now argues that its search was adequate.
See Defs.’ 2d MSJ at 1-2.
Request No. 2011-9398
about July 7, 2011, Pinson submitted Request No. 2011-9398 to
the BOP for the “production of all information
maintained by [the BOP] on the Florencia X3 gang.”
Decl. Eugene E. Baime ¶ 4 & Attach. 1 (“Baime
Decl.”), ECF No. 265-3. By letter dated August 25,
2011, the BOP informed Pinson that it had not located any
responsive records because “the BOP does not maintain
records on the Florencia X3 gang.” Id. ¶
5 & Attach. 2. As with the prior two requests, the Court
denied the DOJ’s motion for summary judgment, see
Pinson, 2016 WL 29245, at *13, the BOP hand-delivered a
copy of that final response letter to Pinson, see 2d
Christenson Decl. ¶ 4 & Ex. 1, and the DOJ now
contends that its search was adequate, see
Defs.’ 2d MSJ at 1-2.
Request No. 2012-3706
January 2012, Pinson submitted a request to the BOP for the
production of certain ADX Florence institution supplements.
See 2d Christenson Decl. ¶¶ 25-26 &
Ex. 6. Those supplements are documents that explain how
national BOP policy will be implemented “at a local
level.” See Id. ¶ 26. The request was
assigned number 2012-3706 and, by letter dated March 15,
2012, the DOJ released 25 pages of responsive records in full
and informed Pinson that the remaining institution
supplements requested either did not exist or were cancelled
(and thus no longer in force). See Id. ¶¶
25, 28 & Ex. 7. The Court denied the DOJ’s prior
motion for summary judgment with respect to this request, it
has been hand-delivered to Pinson, and the DOJ again moves
for summary judgment, this time on the ground that its search
was adequate. See Defs.’ 2d MSJ at 1-2.
Request No. 2013-2100
about November 14, 2012, Pinson submitted a request to the
BOP for “copies of all public comments submitted in
connection with the promulgation” of certain proposed
BOP regulations. See Baime Decl. Attach. 3. On
December 4, 2012, the BOP issued a letter informing Pinson
that the request-which had been assigned number
2013-2100-would not be processed because the requested
records were not held by the BOP. See Id. ¶ 6
& Attach. 4. The request’s history follows similar
lines as all of the above requests, and DOJ now argues that
its search for responsive records was adequate. See
Defs.’ 2d MSJ at 1-2.
Request Nos. ...