Skip to content

Case Detail

[Subscribe to updates]
Case TitleMCMICHAEL v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2011cv02119
Date Filed2011-11-29
Date Closed2012-12-18
JudgeJudge Rosemary M. Collyer
PlaintiffWILLIAM MCMICHAEL
DefendantUNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Opinion/Order [19]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Rosemary Collyer has ruled that the Defense Department improperly issued a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying journalist William McMichael's requests concerning the existence of an Inspector General investigation of Captain William Power, who served as J4 Director at the U.S. Strategic Command, based on a complaint that he allegedly maintained an abusive command climate. After McMichael's first request identifying Power as the subject of the IG investigation was rejected on the basis that the confirmation of such a request would violate Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), he made two subsequent requests concerning the investigation that did not identify Power but were rejected for the same reason. Collyer first explained that "Captain Power has a legitimate interest in keeping private the record of any investigation of an abusive command climate. But Captain Power's status as a federal employee with leadership responsibilities diminishes his privacy interest. Additionally, Mr. McMichael presented evidence that some number of USSTRATCOM employees were aware of the investigation and its subject." As to the public interest in disclosure, Collyer noted that "the public has a strong interest in knowing whether the IG investigated allegations of an abusive command climate by the J4 Director. Disclosure of whether the investigation took place will provide insight into what the government is up to, specifically if the IG's office is carrying out its official duties. Further, the public interest in information regarding an investigation is strengthened when the subject of the investigation is a federal employee in a leadership position." She concluded that "balancing Captain Power's diminished expectation of privacy against the public's interest in knowing whether the IG investigated allegations of misconduct, it must be concluded that the public interest prevails. Particularly where the fact that the IG investigation was known to a number of people and the identity of the person under investigation was equally apparent, a Glomar response cannot satisfy. The Court concludes, on these facts and this Complaint, that a Glomar response was inappropriate even if the records in question, if they exist, may otherwise be exempt from disclosure under FOIA Exemptions 7(C) and 6."
Issues: Determination - Glomar response, Exemption 7(C) - Invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2011-11-291COMPLAINT against UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ( Filing fee $ 350, receipt number 4616044078) filed by WILLIAM MCMICHAEL. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(dr) (Entered: 11/30/2011)
2011-11-29SUMMONS (3) Issued as to UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (dr) (Entered: 11/30/2011)
2011-12-012NOTICE of Appearance by Lee Levine on behalf of WILLIAM MCMICHAEL (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(Levine, Lee) (Entered: 12/01/2011)
2011-12-203RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 12/5/2011. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 1/4/2012. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Jennifer Pinkerton-Burke, # 2 Certificate of Service)(Levine, Lee) (Entered: 12/20/2011)
2011-12-204RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 12/5/2011. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Jennifer Pinkerton-Burke, # 2 Certificate of Service)(Levine, Lee) (Entered: 12/20/2011)
2011-12-205RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE served on 12/5/2011 (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Jennifer Pinkerton-Burke, # 2 Certificate of Service)(Levine, Lee) (Entered: 12/20/2011)
2012-01-046Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Francis, Tricia) (Entered: 01/04/2012)
2012-01-05MINUTE ORDER granting nunc pro tunc to January 4, 2012 6 Defendant's Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. Defendant shall file an Answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint no later than February 21, 2012. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 1/5/2012. (lcrmc1) (Entered: 01/05/2012)
2012-01-05Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Answer to complaint due by 2/21/2012. (cdw) (Entered: 01/06/2012)
2012-02-217MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Francis, Tricia) (Entered: 02/21/2012)
2012-02-218RESPONSE re 7 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint filed by WILLIAM MCMICHAEL. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Levine, Lee) (Entered: 02/21/2012)
2012-02-22MINUTE ORDER granting nunc pro tunc to February 21, 2012 7 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. Defendant shall answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint no later than March 22, 2012. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 2/22/2012. (lcrmc1) (Entered: 02/22/2012)
2012-02-22Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Answer to the complaint due by 3/22/2012. (cdw) (Entered: 02/23/2012)
2012-02-289NOTICE of Change of Address by Lee Levine (Levine, Lee) (Entered: 02/28/2012)
2012-03-2210MOTION to Dismiss, MOTION for Summary Judgment by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Memorandum in Support, # 3 Exhibit, # 4 Exhibit, # 5 Exhibit)(Francis, Tricia) (Entered: 03/22/2012)
2012-04-0311NOTICE of Appearance by Lee Levine on behalf of WILLIAM MCMICHAEL (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Order of Chief Judge Lamberth For Student Practice Pursuant to Local Rule 83.4, # 2 Exhibit Approval of Jennifer Bishop, Michael Knobler, and James Shih for Student Practice)(Levine, Lee) (Entered: 04/03/2012)
2012-04-0412Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment by WILLIAM MCMICHAEL (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order re Plaintiff's Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to File Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment)(Levine, Lee) (Entered: 04/04/2012)
2012-04-05MINUTE ORDER granting 12 Plaintiff's Motion for Extension of Time. Plaintiff shall file a response to the 10 motion to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment no later than April 19, 2012. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 4/5/2012. (lcrmc1) (Entered: 04/05/2012)
2012-04-05Set/Reset Deadlines: Response to Dispositive Motion due by 4/19/2012. (tth) (Entered: 04/05/2012)
2012-04-1913Memorandum in opposition to re 10 MOTION to Dismiss MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by WILLIAM MCMICHAEL. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Declaration of William McMichael, # 3 Exhibit (s) A-T to McMichael Declaration, # 4 Declaration of Max Mishkin, # 5 Text of Proposed Order)(Levine, Lee) (Entered: 04/19/2012)
2012-04-2014ORDER by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer authorizing law students James Shih, Jennifer D. Bishop, and Michael Knobler to appear in court or at other proceedings and prepare documents on behalf of the plaintiff in this matter. Signed on April 18, 2012. (cdw) (Entered: 04/24/2012)
2012-04-3015Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Francis, Tricia) (Entered: 04/30/2012)
2012-04-30MINUTE ORDER granting 15 Defendant's Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply. Defendant shall file a reply in support of its 10 Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative for Summary Judgment no later than May 30, 2012. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 4/30/2012. (lcrmc1) (Entered: 04/30/2012)
2012-04-30Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Reply to 10 due by 5/30/2012. (cdw) (Entered: 05/01/2012)
2012-05-2916MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Francis, Tricia) (Entered: 05/29/2012)
2012-05-3017Memorandum in opposition to re 16 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment filed by WILLIAM MCMICHAEL. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Levine, Lee) (Entered: 05/30/2012)
2012-05-30MINUTE ORDER granting nunc pro tunc to May 29, 2012 16 Defendant's motion for extension of time. Defendant shall file a reply in support of its 10 motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment no later than June 11, 2012. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 5/30/2012. (lcrmc1) (Entered: 05/30/2012)
2012-06-1118REPLY to opposition to motion re 10 MOTION to Dismiss, MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration)(Francis, Tricia) Modified on 7/6/2012 to correct linkage and enhance text(rdj). (Entered: 06/11/2012)
2012-12-1819MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 12/18/2012. (lcrmc3) (Entered: 12/18/2012)
2012-12-1820ORDER denying 10 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment without prejudice; denying 13 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. The case is remanded to Defendant to perform a FOIA analysis of the requested documents. This case is closed. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 12/18/2012. (lcrmc3) (Entered: 12/18/2012)
Hide Docket Events
by FOIA Project Staff
Skip to toolbar