Skip to content

Case Detail

[Subscribe to updates]
Case TitleEil v. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
DistrictDistrict of Rhode Island
CityProvidence
Case Number1:2015cv00099
Date Filed2015-03-18
Date Closed2016-09-16
JudgeJudge John J. McConnell, Jr.
PlaintiffPhilip Eil
Case DescriptionPhilip Eil, a journalist working on a book about the trial and conviction of Paul Volkman, submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for records included on the government's exhibit list for Volkman's trial. EOUSA referred the request to DEA. The agency began to review 15,000 pages and over time processed portions of them, releasing about 1600 pages to Eil and redacting much of the information under Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records) and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). Eil finally filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantU.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
AppealFirst Circuit 16-2359
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Complaint attachment 5
Complaint attachment 6
Complaint attachment 7
Complaint attachment 8
Complaint attachment 9
Complaint attachment 10
Complaint attachment 11
Opinion/Order [22]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in Rhode Island has ruled that the DEA must disclose exhibits introduced at the criminal trial of Dr. Paul Volkman, who was convicted and given a life sentence in 2011 for overprescribing pain pills that led to the death of 14 patients, to journalist Philip Eil, who became interested in Volkman's case because the doctor had been a college and medical school classmate of Eil's father. To explore how Volkman became an alleged mass murderer, Eil requested the exhibits from the Southern District of Ohio and the Sixth Circuit. The exhibits, totaling more than 15,000 pages, had never been redacted nor sealed by the court. Eil was told he should request the records under FOIA and he submitted a request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, which referred the request to the DEA. The agency disclosed 3,813 pages with redactions, about 25 percent of the pages admitted as full exhibits, and withheld the rest, primarily under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy) and Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records). Noting generally the importance of public judicial proceedings, the court pointed out that "the records at issue in this case are not simply records 'accumulated in various governmental files;' they are the very records that the government relied upon to prosecute Dr. Volkman and the jury used to convict him." Saying that "it is hard to take the government's vehement arguments asserting the strong privacy interest of the third parties here too seriously," the court observed that "the government introduced unredacted copies of previously private medical records into a public trial. . .The government to this date has not sought an order from the trial court or the Sixth Circuit seeking to seal any of the private medical records that were trial exhibits. Moreover, it has allowed the trial transcript containing all of the names of the third parties and discussion of their medical conditions to remain available to the public." However, the court noted that "regardless of the government's prior failure to take measures to protect the privacy interest of these third parties, it is this Court's obligation to make a determination of the privacy interests involved." Balancing the privacy interests against the public interest in disclosure, the court indicated that "it can protect most of the privacy interests of the third parties by excluding personally identifiable information in the exhibits." The court added that it would "minimize the invasion of privacy by ordering the DEA to redact highly personal information of no consequence to the trial or conviction of Dr. Volkman."
Issues: Exemption 7(C) - Invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records, Public domain
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2015-03-181COMPLAINT ( filing fee paid $ 400.00, receipt number 0103-829459 ), filed by Philip Eil. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Exhibit E, # 6 Exhibit F, # 7 Exhibit G, # 8 Exhibit H, # 9 Exhibit I, # 10 Civil Cover Sheet, # 11 Summons)(McNamara, Neal) (Attachment 10 replaced on 3/18/2015) (Melendez, Filipa). (Entered: 03/18/2015)
2015-03-18CORRECTIVE DOCKET ENTRY Regarding: 1 Complaint.This case has been electronically filed and processed, however, after a quality control review the following deficiencies were found: Civil Cover Sheet not signed. The filer is directed to file a signed Civil Cover Sheet within one day. (Melendez, Filipa) (Entered: 03/18/2015)
2015-03-18Case assigned to Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. and Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond. (Melendez, Filipa) (Entered: 03/18/2015)
2015-03-182Summons Issued as to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Melendez, Filipa) (Entered: 03/18/2015)
2015-04-163Summons Request filed by Philip Eil. (McNamara, Neal) (Entered: 04/16/2015)
2015-04-164Summons Request filed by Philip Eil. (McNamara, Neal) (Entered: 04/16/2015)
2015-04-175Summons Issued as to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. (Attachments: # 1 Summons)(McGuire, Vickie) (Entered: 04/17/2015)
2015-05-196MOTION for an Extension of Time to File Defendant's Answer or other responsive pleading filed by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Responses due by 6/5/2015 (Wong, Bethany) (Entered: 05/19/2015)
2015-05-27TEXT ORDER granting 6 Motion for Extension of Time to File; Reset Deadlines: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration answer due 7/6/2015.- So Ordered by Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. on 5/29/15. (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 05/27/2015)
2015-06-307Joint MOTION for an Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint, filed by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Responses due by 7/17/2015 (Wong, Bethany) (Entered: 06/30/2015)
2015-07-02TEXT ORDER granting 7 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer: Reset Deadlines: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration answer due 9/4/2015.- So Ordered by Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. on 7/2/2015. (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 07/02/2015)
2015-09-038Joint MOTION for an Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint, Joint Stipulated Motion for Extension of Time filed by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Responses due by 9/21/2015 (Wong, Bethany) (Entered: 09/03/2015)
2015-09-08TEXT ORDER granting 8 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer: Reset Deadlines: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration answer due 10/19/2015.- So Ordered by Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. on 9/8/2015. (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 09/08/2015)
2015-10-199NOTICE of Appearance by Richard Myrus on behalf of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (Myrus, Richard) (Entered: 10/19/2015)
2015-10-1910ANSWER to Complaint by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.(Myrus, Richard) (Entered: 10/19/2015)
2015-10-2211NOTICE of Hearing:Telephonic Rule 16 Conference set for Wednesday, 11/18/2015 at 09:30 AM before Judge John J. McConnell, Jr.; Court to initiate call. Kindly provide clerk at 401-752-7202 with contact information (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 10/22/2015)
2015-11-1012RULE 16 STATEMENT by Philip Eil. (McNamara, Neal) (Entered: 11/10/2015)
2015-11-1313RULE 16 STATEMENT by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. (Myrus, Richard) (Entered: 11/13/2015)
2015-11-18Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge John J. McConnell, Jr.: Rule 16 Conference held on 11/18/2015; Neal McNamara, Jessica Jewell and Richard Myrus participated (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 11/18/2015)
2015-11-18TEXT ORDER: Fact Discovery shall close on January 19, 2016 - So Ordered by Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. on 11/18/2015. (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 11/18/2015)
2015-11-18NOTICE of Hearing: Telephonic Status Conference set for Tuesday, 1/26/2016 at 09:30 AM before Judge John J. McConnell, Jr.; Court to initiate call(Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 11/18/2015)
2016-01-26Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge John J. McConnell, Jr.: Telephonic Status Conference held on 1/26/2016; Neal J. McNamara, Jessica Schachter Jewell, Richard Myrus and Bethany Wong participated (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 01/26/2016)
2016-01-26TEXT SCHEDULING ORDER:Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before 3/14/2016; Defendant's objection and Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before 5/4/16; Plaintiff's reply shall be filed on or before 6/6/16 and Defendant's rebuttal shall be filed on or before 7/6/16- So Ordered by Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. on 1/26/2016. (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 01/26/2016)
2016-03-1114Letter from plaintiff requesting exemption from LR Cv 56 (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 03/11/2016)
2016-03-11TEXT ORDER: The parties are exempt from filing statements of facts pursuant to LR Cv 56 - So Ordered by Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. on 3/11/2016. (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 03/11/2016)
2016-03-1415MOTION for Summary Judgment With Supporting Memo filed by All Plaintiffs. Responses due by 3/31/2016 (Attachments: # 1 Supporting Memorandum, # 2 Affidavit, # 3 Exhibit, # 4 Exhibit, # 5 Exhibit, # 6 Exhibit, # 7 Exhibit, # 8 Exhibit, # 9 Exhibit, # 10 Exhibit, # 11 Exhibit, # 12 Exhibit, # 13 Exhibit, # 14 Exhibit, # 15 Exhibit, # 16 Exhibit, # 17 Exhibit, # 18 Exhibit, # 19 Exhibit, # 20 Exhibit, # 21 Exhibit, # 22 Exhibit, # 23 Exhibit, # 24 Exhibit, # 25 Exhibit, # 26 Exhibit, # 27 Exhibit, # 28 Exhibit, # 29 Exhibit, # 30 Exhibit, # 31 Exhibit, # 32 Exhibit, # 33 Exhibit, # 34 Exhibit, # 35 Exhibit, # 36 Exhibit, # 37 Exhibit)(Jewell, Jessica) (Entered: 03/14/2016)
2016-05-0416MOTION for Summary Judgment with supporting memo filed by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Responses due by 5/23/2016 (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D)(Wong, Bethany) (Entered: 05/04/2016)
2016-06-0117STIPULATION re 16 MOTION for Summary Judgment by Philip Eil. (McNamara, Neal) (Entered: 06/01/2016)
2016-06-02TEXT ORDER entering 17 Stipulation to extend time; Reset Deadlines: Plaintiff's reply shall be filed by 6/20/16 and Defendant's rebuttal shall be filed by 7/20/16 - So Ordered by Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. on 6/2/2016. (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 06/02/2016)
2016-06-2018RESPONSE in Support re 15 MOTION for Summary Judgment , 16 MOTION for Summary Judgment Memorandum in Further Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Philip Eil. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit Supplemental Affidavit of P. Eil, # 2 Affidavit Affidavit of P. Eil, # 3 Exhibit Ex. A to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 4 Exhibit Ex. B to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 5 Exhibit Ex. C to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 6 Exhibit Ex. D to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 7 Exhibit Ex. E to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 8 Exhibit Ex. F to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 9 Exhibit Ex. G to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 10 Exhibit Ex. H to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 11 Exhibit Ex. I to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 12 Exhibit Ex. J to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 13 Exhibit Ex. K Part 1 to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 14 Exhibit Ex. K Part 2 to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 15 Exhibit Ex. K Part 3 to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 16 Exhibit Ex. K Part 4 to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 17 Exhibit Ex. L Part 1 to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 18 Exhibit Ex. L Part 2 to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 19 Exhibit Ex. M Part 1 to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 20 Exhibit Ex. M Part 2 to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 21 Exhibit Ex. M Part 3 to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 22 Exhibit Ex. N to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 23 Exhibit Ex. O to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 24 Exhibit Ex. P to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 25 Exhibit Ex. Q to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 26 Exhibit Ex. R to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 27 Exhibit Ex. S to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 28 Exhibit Ex. T to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 29 Exhibit Ex. U Part 1 to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 30 Exhibit Ex. U Part 2 to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 31 Exhibit Ex. V to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 32 Exhibit Ex. W to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 33 Exhibit Ex. X to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 34 Exhibit Ex. Y to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 35 Exhibit Ex. Z to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 36 Exhibit Ex. AA to Affidavit of P. Eil, # 37 Exhibit Ex. BB to Affidavit of P. Eil)(McNamara, Neal) (Entered: 06/20/2016)
2016-07-11NOTICE of Hearing on Motion 15 MOTION for Summary Judgment , 16 MOTION for Summary Judgment : Motion Hearing set for Monday, 7/25/2016 at 02:00 PM in Courtroom 3 before Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 07/11/2016)
2016-07-13HEARING CANCELLED: The Cross Motions for summary Judgment hearing scheduled for Monday, 7/25/16 at 2:30 p.m. in Courtroom 3 before Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. is cancelled and will be rescheduled (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 07/13/2016)
2016-07-13REVISED NOTICE of Hearing on Motion 15 MOTION for Summary Judgment , 16 MOTION for Summary Judgment : Motion Hearing is RESET to Wednesday, 8/3/2016 at 02:00 PM in Courtroom 3 before Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 07/13/2016)
2016-07-2019RESPONSE in Support re 16 MOTION for Summary Judgment Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Further Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment filed by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. (Wong, Bethany) (Entered: 07/20/2016)
2016-08-03Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge John J. McConnell, Jr.: Motion Hearing held on 8/3/2016 re 15 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Philip Eil, 16 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Jessica Schachter Jewell for Plaintiff. Bethany Wong for Defendant. Plaintiff and Defendant present arguments to the Court. Court to take under advisement. Court adjourned. (Court Reporter Karen Wischnowsky in Courtroom 3 at 2:00 pm.) (McGuire, Vickie) (Entered: 08/03/2016)
2016-08-1120TRANSCRIPT ORDER for proceedings held on 8/3/2016 before Judge J. McConnell.. (Jewell, Jessica) (Entered: 08/11/2016)
2016-09-1521TRANSCRIPT of Hearing on Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment held on August 3, 2016, before Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. Court Reporter Karen Wischnowsky, Telephone number (401) 529-7406. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the Court Reporter before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through the Court Reporter or PACER. NOTICE TO COUNSEL: Redaction Requests must be filed for personal identifiers only. All other redactions must be requested by motion. For local policy and sample redaction request visit our website at www.rid.uscourts.gov and select Transcripts under the Case Information menu option . Redaction Request due 10/6/2016. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 10/17/2016. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 12/14/2016. (Wischnowsky, Karen) (Entered: 09/15/2016)
2016-09-1622MEMORANDUM AND ORDER granting 15 Motion for Summary Judgment; denying 16 Motion for Summary Judgment- So Ordered by Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. on 9/16/2016. (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 09/16/2016)
2016-09-1623JUDGMENT in favor of Philip Eil against U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration(Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 09/16/2016)
2016-09-1624AMENDED JUDGMENT in favor of Philip Eil against U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. This Judgment is amended to note that the decision was a bench decision and not a jury verdict- So Ordered by Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. on 9/16/2016. (Barletta, Barbara) (Entered: 09/16/2016)
Hide Docket Events
by FOIA Project Staff