United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT RE: DKT. NO. 46
J. DAVILA United States District Judge
Plaintiff Tania McCash seeks disclosure of documents that the
FBI withheld in response to her request under the Freedom of
Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552.
The FBI moves for summary judgment on the basis that these
documents are exempt from disclosure because they would
reveal secret law enforcement techniques. The FBI's
motion will be GRANTED.
sent FOIA requests to the CIA, NSA, and FBI seeking
disclosure of records about herself. Compl. ¶ 7, Dkt.
No. 1. The CIA responded that it had no relevant unclassified
records other than its past communications with her. Decl. of
Martha M. Lutz ¶ 12, Dkt. No. 23. As for classified
records, it responded that it could neither confirm nor deny
their existence (known as a “Glomar response”).
Id. ¶ 28. The NSA gave a similar reply, but it
noted that its search did not include earlier correspondence
from McCash. Supp. Decl. of Renee Kuntz ¶¶ 1-4,
Dkt. No. 32. The FBI found 44 pages of “complaints made
by Plaintiff on various subjects.” Decl. of David Hardy
¶ 5-15, Dkt. No. 24. Since the FBI determined that some
of those pages contained information that was exempt from
disclosure, it withheld two pages, released 32 pages with
redactions, and released ten pages in full. Id.
¶¶ 4, 15.
unsuccessfully appealed the agencies' responses. Compl.
¶¶ 13, 20, 27. She then brought this action,
alleging that each agency “failed to conduct an
adequate search for responsive records and has wrongfully
withheld” the documents she seeks. Id.
¶¶ 15, 21, 29.
agencies moved for summary judgment, arguing that their
searches were adequate, that their Glomar responses were
proper, and that the FBI properly withheld information that
fell within certain statutory exemptions. Dkt. No. 22. This
Court held that the searches, Glomar responses, and partial
withholdings were proper, but that the FBI failed to explain
why it withheld two pages in full, or why those pages could
not be partially redacted. Id. at 9-24.
now move for summary judgment on the basis that the FBI
properly withheld those two pages. Defs.' Mot. for Summ.
J. (“MSJ”), Dkt. No. 46.
judgment is proper where no genuine issue of material fact
exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Samuels v. Holland American Line-
USA Inc., 656 F.3d 948, 952 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). The Court “must draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.”
Id. “The central issue is ‘whether the
evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require
submission to a jury or whether it is so onesided that one
party must prevail as a matter of law.'”
Id. (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986)). Pro se pleadings and
motions should be construed liberally. Resnick v.
Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000).
Summary Judgment in FOIA Cases
agency withholds information that is responsive to a FOIA
request, it must prove that the information falls within a
statutory exception to the disclosure requirement. See
Dobronski v. FCC, 17 F.3d 275, 277 (9th Cir. 1994). The
agency may submit affidavits to satisfy its burden, but
“the government ‘may not rely upon conclusory and
generalized allegations of exemptions.' ”
Kamman v. IRS, 56 F.3d 46, 48 (9th Cir.1995)
(quoting Church of Scientology v. U.S. Dep't of the
Army, 611 F.2d 738, 742 (9th Cir.1979)). The
agency's “affidavits must contain ‘reasonably
detailed descriptions of the documents and allege facts
sufficient to establish an exemption.' ”
Id. (quoting Lewis v. IRS, 823 F.2d 375,
378 (9th Cir. 1987)).
argues that the FBI has not adequately justified its decision
to withhold the two pages at issue. Pl.'s Opp'n to
Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. ...