United States District Court, District of Columbia
MICHAEL S. EVANS, Plaintiff,
FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, Defendant.
A. HOWELL, Chief Judge
plaintiff brings this action under the Freedom of Information
Act (“FOIA”), see 5 U.S.C. § 552,
against the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”), a
component of the United States Department of Justice
(“DOJ”). BOP has now moved for summary judgment,
Def.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 16, which motion is
granted, for the reasons discussed below.
plaintiff is a federal prisoner who, while incarcerated at
the Gilmer Federal Correctional Institution in Glenville,
West Virginia (“FCI Gilmer”), “was involved
in a fight in the prison dining room[.]” Def.'s
Mem. of P. & A. in Support of Def.'s Mot. for Summ.
J. (“Def.'s Mem.”), at 1, ECF No. 16-1. The
plaintiff claims to have been “brutally attacked, and
stabbed, by surprise” with a Phillips-head screwdriver
by another inmate. Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. for
Summ. J. (“Pl.'s Opp'n”), filed
with Pl.'s Aff. & Reply to Def.'s Mot. for
Summ. J. by Pl. Michael S. Evans (“Pl.'s
Decl.”) ¶ 2, ECF No. 19. In contrast, BOP staff
consider the incident “a fight between [the plaintiff]
and his attacker, ” Pl.'s Decl. ¶ 4, for which
the plaintiff was sanctioned, see id. ¶¶
the plaintiff “pursued civil actions and suits under
the Federal Tort Claims Act and Bivens - 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the BOP based upon its officers['] delayed
response and intervention i. . ., and their failure to
properly secure the tool used to stab [him].” Pl.'s
Decl. ¶ 6. These efforts proved unsuccessful - the suits
“were ultimately dismissed based on the BOP's
disclaiming ownership of the tool used in [the] attack and
stabbing.” Id. ¶ 8. “In order for
[the plaintiff] to effectively address [his] legal issue[s],
” Compl., Ex. A at 1, in February 2016, the plaintiff
submitted a request to the BOP for the following information:
• Names, numbers, and addresses to all companies that
shipped and/or delivered tools, recreation equipment,
maintenance equipment, and machines to [FCI Gilmer] from
January 2003, to June 2013.
• . . . Receiving and Departure Logs for all tools,
recreation equipment, maintenance equipment, and machines
shipped and/or delivered to [FCI Gilmer] from January 2003,
to, June 2013.
• Names and pictures of all tools, recreation equipment,
maintenance equipment, and machines shipped and/or delivered
to [FCI Gilmer] from January 2003, to, June 2013.
• A copy of the video footage of the May 02, 2013
incident of Michael Evans being ass[a]ulted in the inmate
dining area at [FCI Gilmer].
Id., Ex. A at 1-2. BOP staff estimated that the cost
of its response to the request would be $14, 320.00. See
generally Def.'s Mem., Decl. of Sharon Wahl
(“Wahl Decl.”), Ex. 2. The plaintiff was offered
an opportunity to pay the estimated cost in full, or to
reformulate his request “to meet [his] needs at a lower
cost.” Wahl Decl., Ex. 2 at 1. Opting for the latter,
the plaintiff modified his request as follows:
I want to be provided with a copy of the video footage of the
May 02, 2013 incident of Michael Evans being assaulted in the
inmate dinning [sic] area at F.C.I. Gilmer.
I enclosed a picture of a Phillips head screwdriver, the
screwdriver may have been a maintenance accessory tool that
came with recreaction [sic], or maintenance equipment. I
would like the name of the company that made the tool, along
with the phone number and mailing address of that company. I
would like to know what is the tool used for and what
equipment it came with, and when that equipment was delivered
to F.C.I. Gilmer[.]
Wahl Decl., Ex. 3.
staff located one video recording responsive to the
plaintiff's request. See id. ¶ 9. By
letter, dated April 19, 2016, the BOP notified the plaintiff:
(1) it withheld the video in full under FOIA Exemptions 2,
7(C), 7(E), and 7(F); (2) it was not required to respond to
the plaintiff's inquiries or to create records in
response to a FOIA request; and (3) ...