United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
in this action brought pursuant to the Freedom of Information
Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552, against
defendant United States Postal Service (“USPS”).
Before the court is defendant's motion for summary
judgment for lack of jurisdiction. Alternatively, the USPS
seeks judgment as a matter of law. Plaintiff opposes the
motion. For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned
agrees that the USPS satisfied its disclosure obligations and
will recommend that defendant's motion be granted.
around May 2013, a Mule Creek State Prison
(“MCSP”) “Letter Carrier, ” Ray
Garcia, returned to plaintiff two 2-day Flat Rate Priority
Mail Envelopes because they were “over 13 ounce.”
Compl. Ex. 1 (ECF No. 1 at 14-15). Plaintiff claims that this
individual had no authority to refuse to mail plaintiff's
21, 2013, plaintiff submitted a FOIA request to the Ione,
California Postmaster. He received a response from the USPS
dated July 26, 2013, but no documents or information was
provided. Dissatisfied, plaintiff pursued a writ of mandamus
in the California courts between August 1, 2013, and December
25, 2013. When these efforts proved unsuccessful, plaintiff
appealed the USPS's denial of the FOIA request to the
Postmaster General in Washington, D.C.
December 30, 2013, plaintiff submitted a second FOIA request.
He received a denial from the USPS dated January 27, 2014.
Plaintiff then filed another appeal on May 17, 2014.
seeks injunctive relief and damages.
General Summary Judgment Standards
judgment is appropriate when the moving party “shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
summary judgment practice, “[t]he moving party
initially bears the burden of proving the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” In re Oracle Corp.
Sec. Litig., 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)).
The moving party may accomplish this by “citing to
particular parts of materials in the record, including
depositions, documents, electronically stored information,
affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those
made for purposes of the motion only), admission,
interrogatory answers, or other materials” or by
showing that such materials “do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that the adverse
party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). “Where the
non-moving party bears the burden of proof at trial, the
moving party need only prove that there is an absence of
evidence to support the non-moving party's case.”
Oracle Corp., 627 F.3d at 387 (citing
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325); see also
summary judgment should be entered, “after adequate
time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. “[A] complete
failure of proof concerning an essential element of the
nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other
facts immaterial.” Id. at 323. Summary
judgment should be granted, “so long as whatever is
before the district court demonstrates that the standard for
entry of summary judgment . . . is satisfied.”
Id. at 323.
moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden
then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine
issue as to any material fact actually does exist.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). In attempting to establish the
existence of this factual dispute, the opposing party may not
rely upon the allegations or denials of its pleadings but is
required to tender evidence of specific facts in the form of
affidavits, and/or admissible discovery material, in support
of its contention that the dispute exists. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(1); Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 n.11. The
opposing party must demonstrate that the fact in contention
is material, i.e., a fact “that might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law, ”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec.
Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir.
1987), and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party, ” Anderson,
447 U.S. at 248.
endeavor to establish the existence of a factual dispute, the
opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact
conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that
“‘the claimed factual dispute be shown to require
a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing
versions of the truth at trial.'” T.W. Elec.
Serv., 809 F.2d at 630 (quoting First Nat'l Bank
v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288-89 (1968). Thus,
the “purpose of summary judgment is to pierce the
pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether
there is a genuine need for trial.”
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted).
evaluating the evidence to determine whether there is a
genuine issue of fact, [the court] draw[s] all inferences
supported by the evidence in favor of the non-moving
party.” Walls v. Central Contra Costa Transit
Auth., 653 F.3d 963, 966 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation
omitted). It is the opposing party's obligation to
produce a factual predicate from which the inference may be
drawn. Richards v. Nielsen Freight Lines, 810 F.2d
898, 902 (9th Cir. 1987). Finally, to demonstrate a genuine
issue, the opposing party “must do more than simply
show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 (citations
omitted). “Where the record taken as a whole could not
lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving
party, there is no ‘genuine issue for
trial.'” Id. at 587 (quoting First
Nat'l Bank, 391 U.S. at 289).