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Case TitleRocky Mountain Wild, Inc. v. United States Bureau of Land Management et al
DistrictDistrict of Colorado
Case Number1:2017cv00636
Date Filed2017-03-10
Date Closed2017-04-17
JudgeJudge Philip A. Brimmer
PlaintiffRocky Mountain Wild, Inc. a Colorado non-profit corporation
Case DescriptionRocky Mountain Wild submitted a FOIA request to the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning compliance with federal law for specified parcels being put up for sale. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Rocky Mountain Wild filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantUnited States Bureau of Land Management a federal agency
DefendantBureau of Land Management
DefendantUnited States Department of the Interior a federal agency
DefendantDepartment of the Interior, The
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Opinion/Order [47]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in Colorado has ruled that Rocky Mountain Wild is not entitled to discovery in its litigation against the Bureau of Land Management for records concerning a number of parcels made available for leasing. In response to Rocky Mountain Wild's request, BLM located 3,239 responsive records and withheld 173 pages in full and 336 pages in part. In challenging the agency's decision, Rocky Mountain Wild asked for discovery, claiming the agency's affidavits submitted by Brian Klein and Diane Fisher were not based on personal knowledge as required under Rule 56(f). District Court Judge Philip Brimmer rejected the discovery request, explaining that "plaintiff has not made an effort to describe, with any specificity, the facts plaintiff seeks to discover, plaintiff's previous efforts to obtain those facts, and how the facts are essential to rebutting defendants' summary judgment motion." Rocky Mountain Wild argued that Klein was too far removed from the actual searches " which were conducted by six employees in two field offices. But Brimmer approved his affidavit, noting that "while Mr. Klein's declarations lack certain details regarding the search process. . .the Court finds the information provided sufficiently detailed to 'afford a FOIA requester an opportunity to challenge the adequacy of the search and to allow the [Court] to determine if the search was adequate in order to grant summary judgment.'" Rocky Mountain Wild also faulted the agency's failure to search more broadly for records pertaining to the NEPA approval process. Brimmer, however, pointed out that "had plaintiff intended to make a broader request for all NEPA analysis concerning the parcels at issue, it could have done so. Here, however, the BLM was not required to look beyond the plain language of plaintiff's FOIA request for records related to the [Resource Management Plan]." While Brimmer upheld the agency's decision to limit the search to a list of specialists, he noted that BLM had failed to show why it did not conduct a search of its Washington offices. Brimmer also upheld the agency's Exemption 5 (privileges) claims, noting that a series of emails were protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Issues: Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Discovery
User-contributed Documents
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2017-03-101COMPLAINT against Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior, The (Filing fee $ 400,Receipt Number 1082-5418531)Attorney Matthew David Sandler added to party Rocky Mountain Wild(pty:pla), filed by Rocky Mountain Wild. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit October 20 FOIA Request, # 2 Exhibit November 22 Letter, # 3 Exhibit January 9 Letter, # 4 Civil Cover Sheet, # 5 Summons, # 6 Summons, # 7 Summons, # 8 Summons)(Sandler, Matthew) (Entered: 03/10/2017)
2017-03-102Case assigned to Magistrate Judge Nina Y. Wang. Text Only Entry (dbera, ) (Entered: 03/13/2017)
2017-03-133SUMMONS issued by Clerk. (Attachments: # 1 Summons, # 2 Summons, # 3 Summons, # 4 Magistrate Judge Consent Form) (dbera, ) (Entered: 03/13/2017)
2017-03-244ORDER SETTING STATUS CONFERENCE AND SETTING DEADLINE FOR FILING OF CONSENT/NONCONSENT FORM by Magistrate Judge Nina Y. Wang on 3/24/17. A Status Conference is set for 5/9/2017 02:30 PM in Courtroom C204 before Magistrate Judge Nina Y. Wang. The parties shall complete and file the Consent/Nonconsent Form by 4/25/2017. (bwilk, ) (Entered: 03/27/2017)
2017-04-055CONSENT to Jurisdiction of Magistrate Judge by Plaintiff Rocky Mountain Wild, Inc. All parties do not consent.. (Sandler, Matthew) (Entered: 04/05/2017)
2017-04-056CASE REASSIGNED pursuant to 5 Consent to Jurisdiction of Magistrate Judge. All parties do not consent. This case is randomly reassigned to Judge Philip A. Brimmer. All future pleadings should be designated as 17-cv-00636-PAB. (Text Only Entry) (nmarb, ) (Entered: 04/05/2017)
2017-04-137NOTICE of Entry of Appearance by Lauren Marie Dickey on behalf of All Defendants Attorney Lauren Marie Dickey added to party United States Bureau of Land Management(pty:dft), Attorney Lauren Marie Dickey added to party United States Department of the Interior(pty:dft) (Dickey, Lauren) (Entered: 04/13/2017)
2017-04-138STIPULATION for Administrative Closure by Plaintiff Rocky Mountain Wild, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order (PDF Only))(Sandler, Matthew) Modified on 4/14/2017 to change into Motion pursuant to PAB Chambers instruction (jhawk, ). (Entered: 04/13/2017)
2017-04-179ORDER. ORDERED that this case is administratively closed pursuant to D.C.COLO.LCivR41.2, subject to being reopened for good cause shown. ORDERED that the parties shall file a status report on or before October 17, 2017. ORDERED that if no party files a stipulation to dismiss the case or a motion to reopen the case on or before April 17, 2018, this case will be dismissed with prejudice without further notice to the parties and without further action by the Court. Signed by Judge Philip A. Brimmer on 04/17/17. (jhawk, ) (Entered: 04/17/2017)
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