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Court opinions issued Sept. 25, 2015

Court Opinions (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Bigwood v. U.S. Dep't of Def. (D.D.C.) -- adopting magistrate's findings that the Dep't of Defense: (1) conducted an adequate search for requested records concerning a coup d'état in Honduras; (2) properly withheld certain information pursuant to Exemptions 1 and 7(E); and (3) produced all reasonably segregable, non-exempt records.  The court further agreed with magistrate's recommendation to deny plaintiff's request for an in camera inspection of records, as well as his motion to file a sur-reply.     

Hall v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons (D.D.C.) -- determining that agency-defendants performed reasonable searches for records concerning plaintiff's criminal case and that Exemption 7(C) was properly invoked to withhold name of a grand jury foreman.   

Kleinert v. Bureau of Land Mgmt. (D.D.C.) -- deciding that neither party was entitled to summary judgment except with respect to limited amounts of information that the court ordered to be released or withheld.  The court otherwise concluded that the agency had not adequately described its search or justified its withholdings under Exemptions 5, 6, and 7(C). 

Whitmore v. U.S. Dep't of Justice (D.D.C.) -- finding that the Executive Office for United States Attorneys conducted an adequate search for records about plaintiff's criminal case and that it properly withheld the identities of special agents and the direct phone number of the prosecutor under Exemption 7(C).  

McKneely v. U.S. Dep't of Justice (D.D.C.) -- concluding that the Drug Enforcement Administration performed a reasonable search fir records concerning plaintiff's criminal case and that it properly withheld certain information under Exemptions 7(C), 7(D), 7(E), and 7(F).

Intellectual Property Watch v. U.S. Trade Rep. (S.D.N.Y) -- in case involving records of Trans-Pacific Partnership (a free trade agreement), the court granted in part and denied in part the parties' motions for summary judgment.  The court found that USTR properly invoked Exemption 1 to protect decision memoranda, draft agreement text, and certain communications between USTR and Industry Trade Advisory Committee (ITAC) that reflected U.S. positions and proposals that were shared with foreign counterparties.  With respect to other agency-ITAC communications, however, the court rejected USTR's reliance on deliberative process privilege and granted plaintiff's motion for summary judgment after concluding that ITAC was neither an agency nor a disinterested consultant.  Lastly, the court found that neither party was entitled to summary judgment with respect to agency-ITAC communications that were withheld pursuant to Exemption 3in conjunction with 19 U.S.C. § 2155(g) and/or Exemption 4.     

Summaries of all cases since April 2015 are available here.