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Case TitleALLEN v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2016cv00708
Date Filed2016-04-14
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
PlaintiffISAAC KELVIN ALLEN
Case DescriptionIsaac Allen, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Prisons for a copy of a written explanation of why Allen was denied access to the prison's messaging system for a year. The agency indicated that it needed to consult with another agency concerning the request. Allen then filed suit.
Complaint issues: Search - Referral, Litigation - Recovery of Costs

DefendantFEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Opinion/Order [36]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has ruled that the Bureau of Prisons conducted an adequate search for records explaining why Isaac Allen's email privileges had been suspended. Allen, who was convicted of identity theft, was not permitted to use the inmate email server at the Beaumont federal correctional facility where he was incarcerated. He asked the warden to provide an explanation, which resulted in Allen making a FOIA request for the records. Although the agency told Allen it would need to take more time, it actually responded to Allen's request within the statutory time limits by hand-delivering a copy of the pertinent portions of his file. The agency withheld some records. Kollar-Kotelly noted that Allen's dissatisfaction seemed to be more because the records were not labeled as a written explanation. But she pointed out that "the BOP's obligation under the FOIA is to conduct a reasonable search for responsive records. . .Plaintiff's mere 'speculation as to the existence of additional records. . .does not render the search inadequate.'" She found that the agency had not justified its redactions under Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques), and Exemption 7(F) (harm to safety of any person). She pointed out that "the BOP's supporting declarations presume that FOIA Exemption 7 applies, yet neither declaration actually states that the two reports were compiled for law enforcement purposes. Nor do the declarations explain that disclosure of certain redacted information would cause an enumerated harm."
Issues: Exemption 7 - Threshold, Adequacy - Search
Opinion/Order [56]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has ruled that the Bureau of Prisons properly responded to a request submitted by Isaac Allen, a federal prisoner who had been convicted of identity theft and tax fraud, for records pertaining to why he lost his privileges to use the Trusted Fund Limited Inmate Computer System. BOP located two special investigative services reports, totaling 11 pages. The agency disclosed two pages in full, seven pages in part, and withheld two pages in full. The last page of the first report indicated the report had four attachments, none of which were in the file. The agency decided to search another SIS file at FCC Coleman, where the incident had taken place. The agency conducted a search at FCC Coleman and located all four attachments, consisting of 131 additional pages. The agency disclosed a three-page threat assessment checklist in full and the remainder of the records with redactions made under Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques), and Exemption 7(F) (harm to a person). Allen challenged the adequacy of the search, arguing that the agency had failed to originally locate the four attachments. However, Kollar-Kotelly noted that "based on the declarant's explanation that records pertaining to an inmate routinely are maintained in his central file, it is reasonable for BOP staff to have searched the central file for records responsive to plaintiff's FOIA request. The fact that the attachments to the SIS Report were not found in plaintiff's central file does not undermine the reasonableness of the decision to search the central file initially." She pointed out that "defendant accomplished what plaintiff himself demanded " that BOP locate and release the attachments to the SIS Report. If anything, the belated release of the SIS Report's attachments suggests a good faith effort to locate and release records responsive to plaintiff's FOIA request." Allen argued that the SIS Report was not a law enforcement record but instead just monitored his computer activity. Kollar-Kotelly disagreed, noting that "plaintiff is not simply a private individual whose activities are being monitored by a law enforcement agency. Rather, plaintiff is a federal prisoner whose offense of conviction included identity theft. Even if denying plaintiff [computer] access required extra monitoring of his activities, it is apparent that BOP engages in a law enforcement function when it takes steps to detect or prevent criminal conduct by an inmate, particularly an inmate whose incarceration did not deter him from filing fraudulent tax returns and instructing his fellow inmates to do so." The agency withheld some identifying information under Exemption 7(F), including Central Inmate Monitoring information. Kollar-Kotelly noted that "BOP properly withholds under Exemption 7(F) identifying information about individuals who involved themselves in plaintiff's schemes and who cooperated with or were subjects of the SIS investigation." But she indicated that "with respect to CIM information, however, BOP does not demonstrate adequately that its release poses a risk to any individual's life or physical safety."
Issues: Search - Reasonableness of search, Exemption 7(F) - Harm to safety of any person
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2016-04-141COMPLAINT against FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS filed by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(td) (Entered: 04/15/2016)
2016-04-142MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN (td) (Entered: 04/15/2016)
2016-04-143PRISONER STATEMENT by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN (td) (Entered: 04/15/2016)
2016-04-144ORDER directing an initial partial filing fee in the amount of $28.47 from Prison Account of ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN and granting MOTION for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (see order for full details). Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 4/12/16. (td) (Entered: 04/15/2016)
2016-04-155ORDER Establishing Procedures for Cases Assigned to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on April 15, 2016. (NS) (Entered: 04/15/2016)
2016-04-196SUMMONS (3) Issued as to FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (md) (Entered: 04/19/2016)
2016-05-057RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 4/29/16. (td) (Entered: 05/06/2016)
2016-05-198RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 5/12/2016. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 6/11/2016.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS served on 5/12/2016 (td) (Entered: 05/19/2016)
2016-06-079NOTICE of Appearance by Daniel Patrick Schaefer on behalf of All Defendants (Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 06/07/2016)
2016-06-0710MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 06/07/2016)
2016-06-08MINUTE ORDER: Defendant's 10 Motion for Extension of Time is granted, and the FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS shall file its answer or other response to the complaint by 7/13/2016. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 6/8/16. (ms) (Entered: 06/08/2016)
2016-06-08Set/Reset Deadlines: Answer or other response to the complaint due by 7/13/2016. (dot) (Entered: 06/08/2016)
2016-07-1311WITHDRAWN PURSUANT TO NOTICE FILED 8/15/2016..... MOTION to Dismiss or Alternatively for Summary Judgment by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit 1, # 3 Exhibit 2, # 4 Statement of Facts, # 5 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel). Added MOTION for Summary Judgment on 7/14/2016 (znmw). Modified on 8/16/2016 (znmw). (Entered: 07/13/2016)
2016-07-2112Order advising plaintiff to respond by 8/15/2016 to defendant's 11 MOTION to Dismiss or Alternatively for Summary Judgment, or the Court may treat the motion as conceded. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 7/21/16. (ms) (Entered: 07/21/2016)
2016-07-21Set/Reset Deadlines: Plaintiff to Response to 11 by 8/15/2016. (dot) (Entered: 07/21/2016)
2016-08-0413MOTION to Deny Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and/or Summary Judgment by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN (td) (Entered: 08/05/2016)
2016-08-0414Memorandum in opposition to defendant's statement of material facts re 11 MOTION to Dismiss or Alternatively for Summary Judgment MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (td) (Entered: 08/05/2016)
2016-08-0415MOTION to Take Judicial Notice Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201 by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN (td) (Entered: 08/05/2016)
2016-08-1116ERRATA by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN 14 Memorandum in Opposition filed by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (td) (Entered: 08/15/2016)
2016-08-1117ERRATA by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN 15 MOTION for Order filed by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (td) (Entered: 08/15/2016)
2016-08-1118ERRATA by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN 13 MOTION for Order filed by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (td) (Entered: 08/15/2016)
2016-08-1519NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF MOTION by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS re 11 MOTION to Dismiss or Alternatively for Summary Judgment MOTION for Summary Judgment , Motion to Stay, and Response re 15 Plaintiff's Request to Take Judicial Notice (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 08/15/2016)
2016-08-1520MOTION to Stay by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS. (See Docket Entry 19 to view document). (znmw) (Entered: 08/16/2016)
2016-08-1521RESPONSE re 15 MOTION for Order filed by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS. (See Docket Entry 19 to view document). (znmw) (Entered: 08/16/2016)
2016-08-1622ORDER denying 13 plaintiff's Request to Deny Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and/or Summary Judgment as moot; denying 15 plaintiff's Request to Take Judicial Notice Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201; and denying 20 defendant's Motion to Stay. See order for further instruction. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 8/16/16. (ms) (Entered: 08/16/2016)
2016-08-16Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant shall file a notice by 9/30/2016; If plaintiff challenges the BOPs response to FOIA Request Number 2016-01713, plaintiff shall file a notice with the Court by 10/11/2016; The parties, either jointly or separately, shall file a proposed schedule for resolution of any remaining issues by 10/31/2016; If plaintiff does not challenge the BOPs response, plaintiff shall file a notice of voluntary dismissal by 10/31/2016. (kt) (Entered: 08/16/2016)
2016-09-1623NOTICE by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS re 22 Order on Motion for Order,, Order on Motion to Stay,,, (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 09/16/2016)
2016-10-1824NOTICE by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN (td) (Entered: 10/20/2016)
2016-10-3125NOTICE of Proposed Briefing Schedule by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS re 22 Order on Motion for Order,,,, Order on Motion to Stay, (Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 10/31/2016)
2016-11-04MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that defendant shall file its renewed motion for summary judgment by December 7, 2016; plaintiff shall file his opposition and cross-motion, if any, by January 9, 2017; defendant shall file its reply and opposition to plaintiff's cross-motion, if any, by February 7, 2017; and plaintiff shall file his reply, if any, by March 7, 2017. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 11/4/16. (ms) (Entered: 11/04/2016)
2016-11-04Set/Reset Deadlines: Plaintiff's Cross Motions due by 1/9/2017. Response to Cross Motions due by 2/7/2017. Reply to Cross Motions due by 3/7/2017. Defendant's Summary Judgment motion due by 12/7/2016. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 1/9/2017. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 2/7/2017. (dot) (Entered: 11/07/2016)
2016-12-0726MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 12/07/2016)
2016-12-0827MOTION for Summary Judgment by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit 1: Mack Decl., # 3 Exhibit 2: Suppl. Mack Decl., # 4 Exhibit 3: BOP Ltr., # 5 Statement of Facts, # 6 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 12/08/2016)
2016-12-09MINUTE ORDER: Defendant's 26 motion for a one-day extension of time is GRANTED. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 12/9/16. (ms) (Entered: 12/09/2016)
2016-12-0928Order advising plaintiff to respond by 1/9/2017 to the 27 renewed MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by the FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, or the Court may treat the motion as conceded. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 12/9/16. (ms) (Entered: 12/09/2016)
2017-01-1729Memorandum in opposition to re 27 Renewed MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (td) (Additional attachment(s) added on 1/23/2017: # 1 Response to Statement of Facts) (td). (Entered: 01/23/2017)
2017-01-3030REPLY to opposition to motion re 27 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS. (Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 01/30/2017)
2017-03-1031MOTION for 14 Day Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 27 MOTION for Summary Judgment by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN (td) (Entered: 03/13/2017)
2017-03-1032MOTION to Take Judicial Notice Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201 by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN (td) (Entered: 03/13/2017)
2017-03-1033SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM (Declaration of Isaac Kelvin Allen) in Direct Opposition of Supplemental Declaration of Violet Mack re 29 Memorandum in Opposition, 27 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (td) (Entered: 03/13/2017)
2017-03-2734ORDER granting 31 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response to Defendant's Reply in Support of Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment, and the Clerk shall docket it as plaintiff's Surreply. Denying 32 Motion to Take Judicial Notice Pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 201. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 3/27/16. (dot) (Entered: 03/27/2017)
2017-03-2735SURREPLY to re 27 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. "Leave to file GRANTED" by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly (td) (Entered: 03/29/2017)
2017-07-1136MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting in part and denying in part 27 Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendant shall file its second renewed motion for summary judgment by August 14, 2017. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 7/11/17. (ms) Modified event title on 7/12/2017 (znmw). (Entered: 07/11/2017)
2017-08-1437MOTION for Extension of Time to File Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 08/14/2017)
2017-08-1438MOTION for Reconsideration re 36 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment, by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN (td) (Entered: 08/16/2017)
2017-08-30MINUTE ORDER: Defendant's 37 Motion for Extension of Time is granted, and its renewed motion for summary judgment is due by October 6, 2017. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 8/30/17. (ms) (Entered: 08/30/2017)
2017-08-30Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's renewed motion for Summary Judgment due by 10/6/2017. (dot) (Entered: 08/30/2017)
2017-10-0639MOTION for Summary Judgment (Second Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment) by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Supplemental Mack Declaration, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 10/06/2017)
2017-10-1040Order advising plaintiff to respond by 11/24/2017 to 39 Defendant's Second Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 10/10/17. (ms) (Entered: 10/10/2017)
2017-10-10Set/Reset Deadlines: Plaintiff's Response to 39 due by 11/24/2017. (dot) (Entered: 10/13/2017)
2017-11-2741MOTION for Extension of Time for Allowance of Time for Mailing by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN (td) (Entered: 11/29/2017)
2017-12-04MINUTE ORDER: Plaintiff's 41 Motion for Extension of Time is granted, and his opposition or other response to Defendant's motion is due by December 8, 2017. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 12/4/17. (ms) (Entered: 12/04/2017)
2017-12-0442RESPONSE re 39 MOTION for Summary Judgment (Second Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment) filed by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (td) (Entered: 12/11/2017)
2017-12-1843REPLY to opposition to motion re 39 MOTION for Summary Judgment (Second Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment) filed by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 12/18/2017)
2018-02-1245NOTICE of Transfer by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN (td) (Entered: 02/15/2018)
2018-02-1544MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER denying 38 plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration; denying 39 Defendant's Second Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment; and ordering defendant to file third renewed motion for summary judgment by March 30, 2018. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 2/15/18. (ms) Modified text on 2/16/2018 (td). (Entered: 02/15/2018)
2018-02-15Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant to file third renewed Motion for Summary Judgment motion by 3/30/2018. (dot) (Entered: 02/15/2018)
2018-03-0846NOTICE of Change of Address by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN (td) (Entered: 03/12/2018)
2018-03-3047MOTION for Extension of Time to File Third Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 03/30/2018)
2018-04-04MINUTE ORDER: Defendant's 47 Motion for Extension of Time is granted, and its third renewed motion for summary judgment is due by April 13, 2018. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 4/4/18. (ms) (Entered: 04/04/2018)
2018-04-04Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Third Renewed Summary Judgment Motion due by 4/13/2018. (dot) (Entered: 04/05/2018)
2018-04-0948Memorandum in opposition to re 47 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Third Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment filed by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (td) (Entered: 04/12/2018)
2018-04-1349MOTION for Summary Judgment (Third Renewed) by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 04/13/2018)
2018-04-1650Order advising plaintiff to respond by 5/25/2018 to 49 Defendant's Third Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 4/16/18. (ms) (Entered: 04/16/2018)
2018-04-16Set/Reset Deadlines: Plaintiff's Response to 49 due by 5/25/2018. (dot) (Entered: 04/16/2018)
2018-05-1851RESPONSE re 49 MOTION for Summary Judgment (Third Renewed) filed by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (tth) (Entered: 05/23/2018)
2018-05-1852NOTICE of Plaintiff's Proffered Settlement by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (tth) (Entered: 05/23/2018)
2018-05-1853MOTION (Conditional) of Immediate Dismissal by ISAAC KELVIN ALLEN. (See Docket Entry 52 to view document) (tth) (Entered: 05/23/2018)
2018-05-3054REPLY to opposition to motion re 49 MOTION for Summary Judgment (Third Renewed) filed by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS. (Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 05/30/2018)
2018-05-3055RESPONSE re 52 Notice of Settlement, 53 MOTION to Dismiss filed by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS. (Schaefer, Daniel) Modified text and linkage on 5/31/2018 (ztd). (Entered: 05/30/2018)
2019-02-0856MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER granting in part and denying in part Defendant's Third Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 49, and directing defendant to file its renewed motion for summary judgment by March 7, 2019. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 2/8/19. (ms) (Entered: 02/08/2019)
2019-02-08Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Renewed Summary Judgment Motion due by 3/7/2019. (dot) (Entered: 02/08/2019)
2019-03-0757MOTION for Summary Judgment (Fourth Renewed Motion) by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 03/07/2019)
2019-03-1258Order advising plaintiff to respond by 4/12/2019 to 57 Defendant's Fourth Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 3/12/19. (ms) (Entered: 03/12/2019)
2019-03-12Set/Reset Deadlines: Plaintiff's Response to 57 Motion for Summary Judgment due by 4/12/2019. (dot) (Entered: 03/12/2019)
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