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Case TitleGray v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
DistrictDistrict of Maryland
CityGreenbelt
Case Number8:2016cv01792
Date Filed2016-05-25
Date Closed2017-02-08
JudgeJudge Deborah K. Chasanow
PlaintiffJim Gray
Case DescriptionJim Gray submitted a FOIA request to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority for records concerning an incident in which he was stopped in Maryland and ticketed by two Metro Transit police officers. The agency responded to his request, but redacted personal information from the records. Gray complained that under Maryland law the names of police officers who issue a citation must be on the ticket. Gray then filed suit.
Complaint issues: Exemption 7(C) - Invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records

DefendantWashington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
AppealFourth Circuit 17-1299
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Opinion/Order [11]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in Maryland has ruled that Jim Gray failed to exhaust his administrative remedies when he did not appeal the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's assessment of a $252 fee for records concerning an incident in which WMATA police allegedly improperly stopped Gray. Gray requested the records under the Maryland Public Information Act and WMATA agreed to process his request under its Public Access to Records Policy, modeled after the federal FOIA. WMATA responded to Gray's request with a fee estimate of $252 and told Gray that if it did not hear from Gray within 30 days it would close his request. Instead, Gray filed suit under FOIA. The court pointed out that "WMATA is not a federal agency, but rather an interstate compact. . ." Nevertheless, the court decided to analyze Gray's request under the PARP. Gray argued that because WMATA had failed to respond within the appropriate time limits he had constructively exhausted the requirement the he appeal. Rejecting that argument, the court noted that "plaintiff did not commence his litigation immediately, however, and this type of 'constructive exhaustion' is only valid 'so long as the agency has not cured its violation by responding before the requester files suit.' Therefore, even if Defendant violated the PARP timing provisions as Plaintiff indicates, Plaintiff was still required to file an administrative appeal once Defendant sent its responsive letter [before Gray filed suit]."
Issues: Litigation - Jurisdiction - Failure to Exhaust, Agency - Independent authority
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2016-05-251COMPLAINT against Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, filed by Jim Gray. (Attachments: # 1 USM 285 Form)(bus, Deputy Clerk) (Entered: 06/02/2016)
2016-06-102ORDER granting Plaintiff 28 days from the date of this Order to file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis or to pay the full filing fee. Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 6/10/2016. (kw2s, Deputy Clerk)(c/m of Order &IFP form 6.10.16) (Entered: 06/10/2016)
2016-06-243MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis by Jim Gray (jf3s, Deputy Clerk) (Entered: 06/24/2016)
2016-06-284ORDER granting 3 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; Granting Plaintiff 21 Days to Complete and Submit a Summons and Marshal Form. Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 6/28/2016. (c/m with Forms 06/28/2016 jf3s, Deputy Clerk) (Entered: 06/28/2016)
2016-07-125Summons Issued 21 days as to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. (jf3s, Deputy Clerk) (Entered: 07/12/2016)
2016-08-156MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Responses due by 9/1/2016 (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Pl PARP Request, # 2 Exhibit WMATA First Response, # 3 Exhibit WMATA Final Response, # 4 Text of Proposed Order Order)(Stief, Gerard) (Entered: 08/15/2016)
2016-08-167Rule 12/56 letter mailed to Jim Gray. (c/m 08/16/2016 jf3s, Deputy Clerk) (Entered: 08/16/2016)
2016-08-238RESPONSE to Motion re 6 MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by Jim Gray. Replies due by 9/9/2016. (Attachments: # 1 Attachments)(jf3s, Deputy Clerk) (Entered: 08/23/2016)
2016-09-099REPLY to Response to Motion re 6 MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. (Stief, Gerard) (Entered: 09/09/2016)
2016-10-1910SURREPLY filed by Jim Gray to 6 MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim . (Attachments: # 1 Attachment) (jf3s, Deputy Clerk) (Entered: 10/21/2016)
2017-02-0811MEMORANDUM OPINION (c/m to Plaintiff 2/8/17 sat). Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 2/8/2017. (sat, Chambers) (Entered: 02/08/2017)
2017-02-0812ORDER GRANTING 6 motion to dismiss, DISMISSING Plaintiff's complaint, and DIRECTING the Clerk CLOSE this case (c/m to Plaintiff 2/8/17 sat). Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 2/8/2017. (sat, Chambers) (Entered: 02/08/2017)
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by FOIA Project Staff