United States District Court, District of Columbia
BERMAN JACKSON JUDGE
Marcelo Sandoval, proceeding pro se, brought this
action under the Freedom of Information Act
(“FOIA”) and the Privacy Act against defendants
United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the
Executive Office for United States Attorneys
(“EOUSA”), the United States Attorney's
Office for the Central District of Illinois (“USAO
CDIL”), the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(“FBI”), and the Federal Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”), seeking both the production of documents
and the correction of inaccurate records. Compl. [Dkt. # 1]
22, 2017, defendants filed a motion to dismiss and a motion
for summary judgment. Defs.' First Mot. to Dismiss &
for Summ. J. [Dkt. # 17] (“Defs.' First
Mot.”); Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of Defs.' Mot.
[Dkt. # 17-2] (“Defs.' First Mem.”). They
argued that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies, Defs.' First Mem. at 3-4; the FBI and EOUSA
conducted adequate searches, id. at 4-6; the FBI
properly withheld some information pursuant to FOIA
exemptions, id. at 6-13; and plaintiff failed to
state a Privacy Act claim. Id. at 14. In
plaintiff's opposition, filed on October 20, 2017, he
challenged adequacy of defendants' searches and the use
of certain FOIA Exemptions. See Pl.'s Opp. to
Defs.' First Mem. [Dkt. # 20] (“Pl.'s First
November 2, 2017, the Court dismissed plaintiff's Privacy
Act claims against all defendants and granted defendant
FBI's motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's FOIA
claims. Sandoval v. DOJ, 296 F.Supp.3d 1, 6 (D.D.C.
2017). But the Court denied the motions filed by defendants
DOJ, EOUSA, and the USAO on the basis that their declarations
were deficient. Id. at 11-18. The matter was
remanded to these agencies to provide a more detailed
justification for the adequacy of their searches for
responsive documents, and to release any reasonably
segregable non-exempt material to plaintiff consistent with
FOIA. Id. at 16-17.
April 3, 2018 defendants DOJ, EOUSA, and USAO CDIL filed a
second motion for summary judgment. See Defs.'
Second Mot. for Summ. J. [Dkt. # 29] (“Defs.'
Second Mot.”). Because defendants have now provided
sufficiently detailed explanations, the Court concludes that
the searches were adequate, and it will grant defendants'
factual and procedural background of this case are laid out
in detail in the Court's Memorandum Opinion granting in
part and denying in part defendants' first motion for
summary judgment, so the Court will address the facts only
briefly here. See Sandoval v. DOJ, 296 F.Supp.3d at
August 31, 2015, plaintiff sent a Freedom of
Information/Privacy Act (“FOIPA”) request to
EOUSA asking for access to “any and all records . . .
that relate to and/or make reference to Sandoval, ”
“in and around 1997-2015, ” including
“[i]naccurate records, depict[ing] Sandoval as a
‘Mexican Mafia Member' and other false records such
as Sandoval working with the government.” Decl. of
David Luczynski [Dkt. # 29-2] (“Luczynski Decl.”)
¶ 4, Ex. A.
submitted another FOIPA request to USAO CDIL dated September
11, 2015. Luczynski Decl. ¶ 5, Ex. B. He sought records
from “case: #99-40019-(Central District of
Illinois)” between 1997 and 2015, “[s]howing that
Sandoval is a member of the Mexican Mafia & that Sandoval
was working for the FBI/DEA. And of [d]ocuments refuting
supra.” Id. USAO CDIL advised plaintiff to
direct all future correspondence to EOUSA since that
organization within the Department of Justice handles all
FOIA requests involving U.S. Attorneys' Offices, and it
sent a letter to EOUSA on September 23, 2015, enclosing a
copy of plaintiff's FOIPA request for processing. Decl.
of Julie Leeper [Dkt. # 17-6] (“Leeper Decl.”)
¶ 3. EOUSA informed plaintiff on October 9, 2015, that
it had received the request he sent to the office that
prosecuted him, and EOUSA assigned it FOIA No. 2015-04040.
Luczynski Decl. ¶ 7, Ex. D; Suppl. Decl. of Julie Leeper
[Dkt. # 29-3] (“Suppl. Leeper Decl.”) at 1.
October 20, 2015, plaintiff sent a third request to EOUSA,
seeking the following:
I request specific documents proving my actual innocence of
the kidnapping described in USA v. Sandoval, #99-cr-40019-JBM
(C.D. Ill./Rock Island) & inaccurate records dep[icting]
Sandoval as a member of the Mexican Mafia & government
informant, which are both untrue, [and] also concerning
government witnesses against Sandoval convicted of violence
& committing perjury at Sandoval's jury trial.
Decl. ¶ 6, Ex. C. This request was also limited to the
1997 through 2015 time frame. See id. USAO CDIL
received this request from EOUSA sometime in November 2015,
and it deemed the request, which retained the same FOIA No.
2015-04040, to supersede plaintiff's first two requests.
Suppl. Leeper Decl. at 1.
October 8, 2015 and June 13, 2016, USAO CDIL performed a
physical and electronic search for documents. Suppl. Leeper
Decl. at 1. On approximately June 13, 2016, it informed EOUSA
that it was unable to locate any responsive documents. Leeper
Decl. ¶¶ 4, 13.
September 16, 2016, EOUSA responded to request No.
2015-04040, informing plaintiff that his request had been
processed and no responsive records had been found. Luczynski
Decl. ¶ 10, Ex. G. On October 3, 2016, plaintiff
appealed EOUSA's determination, id. ¶ 11,
Ex. H, and on December 15, 2016, the Office ...