United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
C. Lamberth United States District Judge
John Edmond's sixteenth pro se case, his fifth against
the U.S. Postal Service or its employees. Like others before
it, it alleges some interesting facts. For one, Edmond claims
that he handwrote his complaint "because coconspirators
United States Postal Service and Drug Enforcement
Administration have hacked into the routers that control
[his] cell phone and computer" and that he lacks
evidence "because the coconspirators hacked into the
computer and erased it." Compl. ¶ 11, ECF No. 1. He
further claims the Postal Service and other federal entities
violated his First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendment rights for the past twelve years by fraudulently
charging his credit cards and tracking him with light
aircraft in connection with a nationwide investigation
involving the DEA, the Los Angeles Department of Power &
Water, the director of a Los Angeles veterans hospital, and a
Mercedes Benz dealership. Pl.'s Opp'n Mot. Sum. J.
¶¶ 3-4, ECF No. 12; Letter from John Edmond to
Natalie Bonanno, Chief Counsel, Fed. Compliance, U.S. Postal
Serv. 1 (June 1, 2018), ECF No. 11-2 Ex. • G. More
recently, Edmond claims the Postal Service confiscated his
correspondence with Maxine Waters, Eric Holder, and Barack
Obama, rerouting it to the DEA. See Letter from John
Edmond to U.S. Postal Serv., Freedom of Info. Act Requester
Serv. Ctr. Field 1-2 (July 10, 2017), ECF No. 11-2 Ex. A.
2017, Edmond filed a FOIA request to the Postal Service
seeking "a copy of the United States Postal Services
(USPS) file that it has compiled of John Edmond."
Id. at 1. The Postal Service responded with a letter
advising Edmond his request lacked "sufficient detail to
allow for the ready identification and retrieval of the
desired documents." Letter from Brenda Rahe, Gov't
Info. Specialist, U.S. Postal Serv. 1 (Aug. 7, 2017), ECF No.
11-2 Ex. B. The letter suggested additional information he
could provide to meet his burden of reasonably describing the
desired record, including providing its subject matter, a
date range, or other geographic locations where it could be.
Id. (citing 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A)). After
thirty days with no response, the Postal Service terminated
Edmond's request. See Letter from Brenda Rahe,
Gov't Info. Specialist, U.S. Postal Serv. (Sept. 7,
2017), ECF No. 11-2 Ex. C.
appealed. See Letter from John Edmond to Gen.
Counsel, U.S. Postal Serv. (Oct. 4, 2017), ECF No. 11-2 Ex.
D. In his appeal letter, he further described the requested
directing] the FOIA researchers to the Los Angeles,
California field office where the data shows the DEA
conspired with the Greater West Los Angeles, California
Veteran Affairs Hospital Director Donna Beiter... . The file
would also reflect where the DEA accessed Edmond's Bank
of America account as well as hacking into cell phones, I
pads [sic] and other electronic devices.
Id. at 1. After considering this additional
information, the Postal Service concluded it "does not
maintain the records [Edmond] requested," provided
contact information for the DEA and Department of Veterans
Affairs' FOIA departments, and affirmed the decision to
close his request. Letter from Natalie Bonanno, Chief
Counsel, Fed. Compliance, U.S. Postal Serv., to John Edmond 2
(May 7, 2018), ECF No. 11-2 Ex. F.
exhausted his administrative remedies, Edmond turned to this
Court for relief. But the government moved for summary
judgment, arguing it properly terminated Edmond's request
since it did not adequately describe the records sought. The
judgment is proper if... 'there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact.. . [and] the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.'" Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, Ml U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)). Once the moving party identifies a valid basis for
summary judgment, the opposing party must identify
"specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for
trial." Id. at 323-24 (internal quotation marks
omitted) (quoting Rule 56(e)). To succeed, the opposing party
must also produce evidence allowing a reasonable factfinder
to find in its favor. Greer v. Paulson, 505 F.3d
1306, 1315 (D.C. Cir. 2007).
Edmond does not' identify any disputed facts bearing on
his request's' specificity, this case turns on
whether his request for "a copy of the United States
Postal Services (USPS) file that it has compiled of John
Edmond" satisfied his legal burden to "reasonably
describe" the records sought. § 552(a)(3)(A).
Although the government must "construe a FOIA request
liberally," Nation Magazine, Wash. Bureau v. U.S.
Customs Serv., 71 F.3d 885, 890 (D.C. Cir. 1995), the
government still must be able "to determine
'precisely what records [are] being requested."'
Yeager v. Drug Enf'tAdmin., 678 F.2d 315, 326
(D.C. Cir. 1982) (quoting S. Rep. No. 854, at 10 (1974))
(describing this as "the linchpin inquiry"). So to
reasonably describe a record, a FOIA request must alert the
agency what has "been requested and the nature of the
information sought." Id. For context, the Court
of Appeals has said a request failing to describe "the
subject matter, location and form of materials sought"
would be unreasonable. See McGehee v. C.I.A., 697
F.2d 1095, 1102 (D.C. Cir. 1983). And even requests
describing these details may still be unreasonable if they
remain so broad as to "impose an unreasonable burden
upon the agency." Am. Fed'n of Gov Y
Emps., Local 2782 v. U.S. Dep 't of Commerce,
907 F.2d 203, 209 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (holding unreasonable a
search "requiring] the agency to locate, review, redact,
and arrange for inspection a vast quantity of
Edmond failed to reasonably describe his request. A
generalized request for the Postal Service's file on a
single individual does little to identify the record's
subject matter, location, or form. Indeed, it presumes the
existence of a file the Postal Service swears it doesn't
maintain. See Decl. Janine Castorina ¶ 13, ECF
No. 11-1. And even if the Postal Service did keep the type of
file Edmond seeks, locating it would require individually
searching the Postal Service's approximately 35, 000
facilities, doubtlessly an unreasonably imposition.
Id. at ¶ 15. Since he offers only a bald
request for "a copy of the United States Postal
Services['s] (USPS) file" on him, Edmond falls short
of his burden to adequately describe his request.
Court GRANTS the government's motion
 for summary judgment and DISMISS ...