United States District Court, District of Columbia
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration; Granting
Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment; Denying
Plaintiff’s Motion for preliminary injunction
se Plaintiff Jeremy Pinson brought this case to
challenge the government’s response to multiple
requests she filed under the Freedom of Information Act
(“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552, with different
departments of the U.S. Department of Justice
(“DOJ”), including the Executive Office of the
United States Attorneys (“EOUSA”) and Federal
Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). On May 23, 2018, the
Court granted in part the DOJ’s fourth motion for
summary judgment with respect to FOIA requests directed at
the BOP, which Pinson did not oppose. See Pinson v. U.S.
Dep’t of Justice (“Pinson
I”), 313 F. Supp. 3d 88');">313 F. Supp. 3d 88 (D.D.C. 2018). Pinson now
moves to vacate that judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60,
arguing that she did not get the opportunity to oppose the
motion because she never received it. Although both parties
treat the motion as one under Rule 60, the Court treats it as
a motion for reconsideration under Fed. R. Civ. P. 54, and
because Pinson has not sufficiently established that she is
entitled to relief, the Court denies the motion.
addition, before the Court are two renewed motions for
summary judgments by DOJ with respect to the remaining
requests directed at the EOUSA and BOP. This Court has
granted in part and denied in part three past DOJ motions for
summary judgment with respect to the EOUSA, and denied a
motion for summary judgment with respect to two remaining
FOIA requests directed at the EOUSA in May 2018. See
Pinson v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice (“Pinson
II”), 313 F. Supp. 3d 122');">313 F. Supp. 3d 122 (D.D.C. 2018).
DOJ now files a renewed motion for summary judgment with
respect to those two requests, arguing that it has adequately
described the search terms used to perform the searches and
responded to all requests. With respect to the BOP, the Court
has granted in part and denied in part four past motions for
summary judgment by DOJ. See generally Pinson I, 313
F. Supp. 3d at 88. In its renewed motion, DOJ argues that the
BOP properly withheld records from disclosure under FOIA
Exemption 7(F). For the reasons set forth below, the Court
grants both DOJ motions for summary judgment.
Pinson has moved for sanctions and for a preliminary
injunction, arguing that the BOP is improperly interfering
with her access to the courts. Because Pinson has not shown
that she is substantially likely to prevail on the merits of
a right of access claim, the Court denies the motion.
Court has already discussed the factual background for this
case in detail in its prior Memorandum Opinions. See
Pinson II, 313 F. Supp. 3d at 125-26; Pinson I,
313 F. Supp. 3d at 99-104. The Court assumes familiarity with
its prior opinions and confines its discussion to the facts
most relevant to the present motions.
Requests Nos. 2012-39 and 2013-1684
filed this case in 2012, claiming that DOJ had unlawfully
failed to comply with many of her FOIA requests. See
Compl. ¶¶ 5–25, ECF No. 1. Several of those
requests were directed at BOP, including Requests No. 2012-39
and 2013-1684. With respect to Request No. 2012-39,
“Pinson sought, among other records, ‘[a]ll
emails, memorandums by ADX Florence Executive Staff and/or
Department Supervisors written or generated in connection
with the 2011 Accreditation review by the ACA and/or making
reference or mentioning such review.’” Pinson
I, 313 F. Supp. 3d at 99 (citation omitted). And with
respect to Request No. 2013-1684, Pinson sought files
“located in the Central File, SIS File, and any other
file maintained on Jeremy Pinson.” Id. at 100.
October 23, 2017, after several motions, responses, and
orders arising from the complaint and after the government
fulfilled several of the requests, DOJ filed its fourth
motion for partial summary judgment on Requests No. 2012-39
and 2013-1684, which were the last remaining FOIA requests
with respect to the BOP. See Defs.’ 4th
Renewed BOP Mot. Summ. J (“BOP’s 4th MSJ”),
ECF No. 403; Defs.’ Opp’n Mot. Vacate
(“BOP’s Opp’n”) 1, ECF No. 439. The
next day, this Court issued a Fox/Neal
order advising Pinson to respond to the motion before
November 22, 2017. See Fox/Neal Order 1,
ECF No. 404. On October 26, 2017, Pinson signed a legal mail
log at the FMC Rochester prison facility, acknowledging the
receipt of mail from defense counsel. See
BOP’s Opp’n Ex. A, ECF No. 439-1. On November 3,
2017, Pinson filed a motion for a 60-day stay of proceedings
to permit settlement discussions. See Pl.’s
Mot. Stay Proceedings (“Pl.’s Mot. Stay”),
ECF No. 407. In the motion, Pinson also asserted that if the
defendants did not agree to such a stay, she would seek an
enlargement of time to respond to DOJ’s summary
judgment motion, stating that she “would seek
enlargement of time to respond to the most recent motion
(Doc. 403) by 30 days.” Id. On December 6,
2017, this Court denied Pinson’s motion to stay
proceedings and further ordered that Pinson respond to
DOJ’s fourth summary judgment motion as to the BOP by
January 5, 2018. Min. Order (Dec. 6, 2017).
did not respond to the motion by January 5, 2018. On May 23,
2018, four months after the extended deadline, this Court
granted in part and denied in part the DOJ’s motion for
partial summary judgment. Pinson I, 313 F. Supp. 3d
at 122. The Court granted summary judgment on most of the
documents for which the BOP invoked exemptions in requests
2012-39 and 2013-1684. See Id. However, the Court
rejected the BOP’s argument that FOIA Exemption 6
precluded the production of Document Nos. 7, 8, 17, and 18
under Request No. 2012-39 because “BOP ha[d] failed to
demonstrate why the third-party, non-BOP employee who
assisted with a pre-ACA audit ha[d] a privacy interest in not
disclosing his or her name that outweigh[ed] the public
interest in disclosure.” Id. at 112. It also
held that DOJ did not sufficiently show that Exemptions 7(E)
and 7(F) were applicable to Document No. 69 under Request No.
2013-1684. See Id. at 122.
2, 2018, Pinson filed a motion to vacate the May 23 judgment.
See Pl.’s Mot. Vacate, ECF No. 437. Pinson
claims she did not respond to DOJ’s motion due to
“withholding [of the motion for summary judgment] . . .
by BOP officials,” “never receiv[ing] a Fox
notice from the Court clerk,” and more generally not
receiving communications from the court clerk or counsel on
this matter. Id. at 2. Pinson asserts that if she
had received DOJ’s motion for partial summary judgment
and the Fox/Neal Order, she would have responded to
it in time. See id.
29, 2018, DOJ filed a motion for leave to file in
camera a renewed motion for summary judgment with
respect to the BOP. See Defs.’ Mot. Leave File
in camera, ECF No. 434. The Court granted DOJ’s motion.
Min. Order (July 2, 2018). DOJ then renewed its motion for
summary judgment with respect to the BOP in camera
on July 2, 2018, which it filed a public, redacted version of
on March 1, 2019. See Defs.’ 5th Renewed BOP
Mot. Summ. J. (“BOP Mot. Summ. J.”), ECF No.
456-1. In the motion, DOJ solely argues that the BOP properly
withheld Document 69 under Request No. 2013-1684 pursuant to
FOIA Exemption 7(F), asserting that it has demonstrated a
reasonable expectation of endangerment to Pinson or other
inmates should the document be released. See
Defs.’ 5th Renewed BOP Mem. Supp. Summ. J. (“BOP
Mem. Supp. Summ. J.) 4–5, ECF No. 456-1. DOJ supports
its claim with a supplemental declaration by BOP employee
Kara Christenson. See 8th Christenson Decl., BOP
Mot. Summ. J. Ex. B. DOJ does not renew its motion for
summary judgment with respect to Request No. 2012-39, and
represents in its motion that the BOP will release the
relevant documents without redactions, in line with this
Court’s holding. See BOP Mem. Supp. Summ. J.
the Court directed her to respond and denied her motion to
appoint counsel, see Order Denying Mot. Appointment
Counsel, ECF No. 461, Pinson filed her opposition on June 3,
2019, see Pl.’s Opp’n BOP Mot. Summ. J.
(“Pl.’s Opp’n”), ECF No. 462. In her
opposition, Pinson asked that the Court “resolve the
Motion by conducting an in camera review of the FOIA release,
evidence and Motion.” Id. at 1.
Request Nos. 13-1085 and 12-1757
23, 2018, the Court denied DOJ’s motion for summary
judgment with respect to the remaining two requests
concerning the EOUSA, Requests Nos. 13-1085 and 12-1757.
See Pinson II, 313 F. Supp. 3d at 128. Under Request
No. 13-1085, Pinson sought records in the District of Idaho
case United States v. Garcia, No.
11–cr–68 (D. Idaho). See Id. at 127. In
its opinion, the Court denied DOJ’s motion for summary
judgment with regards to Request No. 13-1085 because EOUSA
had not “clarif[ied] that the correct search terms were
used to perform a search reasonably calculated to uncover all
relevant documents” sought in the request. Id.
at 128. EOUSA had provided a general description of the
search, including details of the records system that was
searched, the amount of time used to conduct the search, and
the scope of the search, which was limited to public records,
but had failed to clearly indicate which docket number was
used to conduct the search. See Id. at 127-28. And,
in his declaration in support of the motion, David Luczynski,
Attorney Advisor at EOUSA, had referenced
“12–cr–236” rather than
“11–cr–68” as the case to which the
materials produced were related. Id. The Court thus
determined that the wrong case number may have been used in
responding to Request No. 13-1085. See Id. at
Request No. 12-1757, Pinson sought “production of all
documents, email, or records” for, inter alia,
two Middle District of Pennsylvania cases, Wiggins v.
Bledsoe, 10-cv-949 (M.D. Pa.) and Gomez v.
Holt, 11-cv-1906 (M.D. Pa.). Id. at 125
(citation omitted). The Court denied DOJ’s motion for
summary judgment because EOUSA’s declaration did not
provide “clarification of whether ‘the search and
released documents were limited to only public records’
nor d[id] it contain an explanation of ‘the discrepancy
between the 197 pages located and the 200 pages apparently
released.’” Id. at 128 (citation
omitted). The Court stated it would continue to deny summary
judgment until EOUSA “provide[d] a declaration that
adequately explain[ed] whether the FOIA contact’s
search was limited to public documents, as well as the
discrepancy between the pages located and those
3, 2018, DOJ filed a renewed motion for summary judgment with
respect to the EOUSA. See Defs.’ Renewed EOUSA
Mot. Summ. J (“EOUSA Mot. Summ. J.”), ECF No.
435. Pinson did not oppose the motion. In its renewed motion,
DOJ asserts that Pinson was provided with the correct
documents with respect to Request No. 13-1085, and that there
was no error in the search terms used to generate the
documents. See Defs.’s Renewed EOUSA Mem.
Supp. Summ. J. (“EOUSA Mem. Supp.”) 5–6,
ECF No. 435-1. In a supplemental declaration, Danielle Haws,
a FOIA contact for the United State Attorney’s Office
for the District of Idaho, states that correct docket numbers
were used to complete the search for Request No. 13-1085.
See Haws Supp. Decl. (“Haws Decl.”),
EOUSA Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 4, ECF No. 435-4. DOJ attributes the
discrepancy between the docket number searched for and the
docket number referenced in its initial declaration to a
typographical error by the declarant at EOUSA. EOUSA Mem.
Supp. 6, ECF No. 435-1. Luczynski notes in a supplemental
declaration that “[w]hen referring back to the
plaintiff’s original request for records from the
District of Idaho, [he] inadvertently used the case number
directly below the correct number, 11-cr-68.” Luczynski
Decl. ¶ 2, EOUSA Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 3, ECF No. 435-3. He
further states that “[t]he actual search and release of
responsive records to the plaintiff was in actuality related
to case number 11-cr-68.” Id. ¶ 3.
renewed motion for summary judgment, DOJ also clarifies its
search terms with respect to Request No. 12-1757.
See EOUSA Mem. Supp. 4. DOJ asserts that with
respect to Request No. 12-1757, the search “encompassed
both public and nonpublic records.” EOUSA Mem. Supp. 4.
In a supplemental declaration, Jodi Matuszewski, a FOIA
coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office for
the Middle District of Pennsylvania, states that the search
resulted in 22 pages of non-public information and 67 pages
of public documents with respect to Gomez.
Matuszewski Decl. ¶ 7, EOUSA Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 5, No.
435-5. With respect to Wiggins, Matuszewski states
that the search resulted in 14 pages of non-public documents
and 97 pages of public documents. Id. ¶ 18.
Matuszewski further declares that her previous tabulation of
94 pages of public records was incorrect, and that the
correct number of pages is 97. Id. ¶ 19. DOJ
asserts that the incorrect tabulation led to the 3-page
discrepancy between the 200 pages released to Pinson and the
197 pages mentioned in Matuszewski’s previous
declaration. See EOUSA Mem. Supp. 4.
Pinson’s Motion for Sanctions and a Preliminary
14, 2019, Pinson filed a motion for sanctions and preliminary
injunction. See Pl.’s Mot. Prelim. Inj., ECF
No. 464. In a declaration attached to the motion, Pinson
represented that the BOP had interfered with her access to
this Court when it placed her in the SHU in April 2019, by
seizing her legal file relating to Pinson v. U.S.
Dep’t of Justice, No. 18-486 (D.D.C.), denying her
legal postage, and banning her from making legal calls.
See Pinson Decl. ¶¶ 1–2, 4, 6, ECF
No. 464-1. Pinson asked that the Court “enjoin such
interference” with her right of ...