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Case Title NEWMAN v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS et al
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2020cv03761
Date Filed2020-12-21
Date Closed2022-05-13
JudgeJudge Trevor N. McFadden
PlaintiffJOHN NEWMAN
DefendantFEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS
DefendantUNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Complaint attachment 5
Complaint attachment 6
Opinion/Order [28]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Trevor McFadden has ruled that the Bureau of Prisons and the United States Parole Commission properly responded to FOIA requests from John Newman, a professor at James Madison University specializing in the history of the Kennedy administration and Cold War America, concerning records on former Cuban exile, Manuel Antonio Carlos Veciana Balance (Veciana). Veciana was convicted on two felony drug charges and sentenced to seven years' incarceration and three years of parole. He was ultimately released in 1981 and his supervision ended in 1984. Newman submitted FOIA requests to the Bureau and the Parole Commission for records related to Veciana. The Bureau released four partially redacted pages and explained that any remaining records had been destroyed. The Parole Commission found no records and indicated that the reason that it did not find any records could possibly reflect that he did not serve a sentence eligible for parole, he might be serving his term of parole under a state sentence, or he did not serve the minimum term to be eligible for parole. Newman's counsel contacted the Commission and explained none of those reasons applied to Veciana. The Commission conducted another search using Veciana's date of birth but still found no records. Newman's counsel was able to provide the name under which the Bureau kept Veciana's records as well as his BOP file number. However, after conducting multiple searches using variations of Veciana's names, the Commission's search still came up short. McFadden agreed with the agency that it had conducted an adequate search. He pointed out that "there is an obvious explanation for this absence [of records]. Veciana's file 'would have been transferred to the National Archive and Records Administration' ten years after his sentence terminated. Here, relevant files would have gone to NARA's Wahington National Records Center. And the Commission's copies of those files would have been destroyed once it received a Records Transmittal and Receipt (SF-135)." NARA was unable to locate the relevant transfer receipt. McFadden observed that "again, there is a straightforward explanation for the missing receipt " 'USPC only possessed archive transfer receipts and archive disposition receipt from 1999 through the present date.'" McFadden noted that "these searches were more than adequate." He pointed out that "the Commission's searches of its physical records were similarly exhaustive " the Commission searched physical files for every possible alphabetical category under which Veciana's files might have been kept. And when it became clear responsive records would most likely be at WNRC, the Commission took reasonable (but unsuccessful) steps to obtain those records." Like other cases in which he has ruled on similar fishing expeditions, McFadden indicated that "this case is yet another example of the 'mismatched incentives' that FOIA creates. As the court explained in [its decision in a similar case], nonprofit FOIA requesters like Newman pay little to nothing for their FOIA requests. So they do not internalize the costs of a wild goose chase like this one. This case has tasked multiple attorneys at three agencies (includes the U.S. Attorney's Office) and several specialists in the search for decades-old inmate records that by regulation should have been transferred or destroyed years ago. Unsurprisingly, they were. But the cost of this predictably fruitless search is borne by the agencies, and ultimately, American taxpayers."
Issues: Adequacy - Search
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2020-12-291COMPLAINT against JOHN NEWMAN Federal Bureau of Prisons & U.S. Parole Commission ( Filing fee $ 402 receipt number ADCDC-8014082) filed by JOHN NEWMAN. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Complaint Exhibits, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet, # 3 Summons U.S. Attorney, # 4 Summons Bureau of Prisons, # 5 Summons U.S. Parole Commission, # 6 Summons U.S. Attorney General)(Hardway, Dan) (Attachment 2 replaced on 1/5/2021) (znmw). (Entered: 12/29/2020)
2020-12-30NOTICE OF ERROR re 1 Complaint; emailed to dan@hardwaylaw.com, cc'd -1 associated attorneys -- The PDF file you docketed contained errors: 1. No signature. Please file the signed document using the event Errata. All filings must have an original signature or '/s/ Attorney Name' to represent an electronic signature of the filer. (adh, ) (Entered: 12/30/2020)
2020-12-302ERRATA by JOHN NEWMAN. (Attachments: # 1 Errata Properly signed complaint, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet Properly signed complaint)(Hardway, Dan) (Attachment 2 replaced on 1/5/2021) (znmw). (Entered: 12/30/2020)
2020-12-30Case Assigned to Judge Trevor N. McFadden. (adh, ) (Entered: 12/30/2020)
2020-12-303SUMMONS (4) Issued Electronically as to FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachment: # 1 Notice and Consent)(adh, ) (Entered: 12/30/2020)
2020-12-304STANDING ORDER Establishing Procedures for Cases Before Judge Trevor N. McFadden. The parties are hereby ORDERED to read and comply with the directives in the attached standing order. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 12/30/2020. (lctnm1) (Entered: 12/30/2020)
2021-02-025RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. All Defendants (Hardway, Dan) (Entered: 02/02/2021)
2021-02-026RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 1/22/2021. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 2/21/2021. (Hardway, Dan) (Entered: 02/02/2021)
2021-02-027RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 01/22/2021. (Hardway, Dan) (Entered: 02/02/2021)
2021-02-028NOTICE of Appearance by Katherine Boyd Palmer-Ball on behalf of All Defendants (Palmer-Ball, Katherine) (Entered: 02/02/2021)
2021-02-029ENTERED IN ERROR.....RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 1/22/2021., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 1/22/2021. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 2/21/2021.) (View Docket Entry 5 to view document). (eg) Modified on 2/4/2021 (zeg). (Entered: 02/04/2021)
2021-02-04NOTICE OF CORRECTED DOCKET ENTRY: re 9 Summons Returned Executed as to Federal Defendant,,, Summons Returned Executed as to U.S. Attorney General,,, Summons Returned Executed in FOIA as to U.S. Attorney,, was entered in error as duplicate docket entries. (eg) (Entered: 02/04/2021)
2021-02-2210ANSWER to Complaint by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION.(Palmer-Ball, Katherine) (Entered: 02/22/2021)
2021-02-23MINUTE ORDER. Before the Court are a complaint and an answer in this FOIA case. The parties shall meet and confer and file a Joint Status Report proposing a schedule for proceeding in this matter. The schedule should address, among other things, the status of Plaintiff's FOIA request, the anticipated number of documents responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA request, the anticipated date(s) for release of the documents requested by Plaintiff, whether a motion for an Open America stay is likely in this case, whether a Vaughn index will be required in this case, and a briefing schedule for dispositive motions, if required. The parties shall file the schedule on or before March 23, 2021. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 2/23/2021. (lctnm1) (Entered: 02/23/2021)
2021-02-23Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 3/23/2021. (hmc) (Entered: 02/23/2021)
2021-03-2211Joint STATUS REPORT by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION. (Palmer-Ball, Katherine) (Entered: 03/22/2021)
2021-03-22MINUTE ORDER. Upon consideration of the parties' 11 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ordered that on or before May 20, 2021, the parties shall file a further Joint Status Report proposing further proceedings in this matter, including a briefing schedule if required. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 3/22/2021. (lctnm1) (Entered: 03/22/2021)
2021-03-23Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 5/20/2021. (hmc) (Entered: 03/23/2021)
2021-05-2012Joint STATUS REPORT by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION. (Palmer-Ball, Katherine) (Entered: 05/20/2021)
2021-05-20MINUTE ORDER. Upon consideration of the parties' 12 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ordered that on or before June 21, 2021, the parties shall file a further Joint Status Report proposing further proceedings in this matter including briefing schedule, if required. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 5/20/2021. (lctnm1) (Entered: 05/20/2021)
2021-05-20Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 6/21/2021. (hmc) (Entered: 05/20/2021)
2021-06-2113Joint STATUS REPORT by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION. (Palmer-Ball, Katherine) (Entered: 06/21/2021)
2021-06-21MINUTE ORDER. Upon consideration of the parties' 13 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ordered that on or before July 21, 2021, the parties shall file a further Joint Status Report proposing further proceedings in this matter including briefing schedule, if required. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 6/21/2021. (lctnm1) (Entered: 06/21/2021)
2021-06-21Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 7/21/2021. (hmc) (Entered: 06/21/2021)
2021-07-2114Joint STATUS REPORT by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION. (Palmer-Ball, Katherine) (Entered: 07/21/2021)
2021-07-21MINUTE ORDER. Upon consideration of the parties' 14 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ordered that on or before August 19, 2021, the parties shall file a further Joint Status Report proposing further proceedings in this matter including briefing schedule, if required. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 7/21/2021. (lctnm1) (Entered: 07/21/2021)
2021-07-22Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 8/19/2021. (hmc) (Entered: 07/22/2021)
2021-07-3115NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Blake Weiner on behalf of All Defendants Substituting for attorney Palmer-Ball (Weiner, Blake) (Entered: 07/31/2021)
2021-08-1916Joint STATUS REPORT by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION. (Weiner, Blake) (Entered: 08/19/2021)
2021-08-19MINUTE ORDER. Upon consideration of the parties' 16 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ordered that the parties will adhere to the following briefing schedule. Defendants shall file their motion for summary judgment on or before September 20, 2021. Plaintiff shall file his combined opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment on or before October 20, 2021. Defendants shall file their combined opposition and reply on or before November 10, 2021. Plaintiff shall file his reply, if any, on or before December 1, 2021. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 8/19/2021 (lctnm1) (Entered: 08/19/2021)
2021-08-19Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motion due by 9/20/2021; cross-motion and opposition to motion for summary judgment due by 10/20/2021; opposition to cross-motion and reply to opposition to motion for summary judgment due by 11/10/2021; reply to opposition to cross-motion for summary judgment due by 12/1/2021. (ztg) (Entered: 08/19/2021)
2021-09-1717MOTION for Summary Judgment by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Memorandum in Support, # 3 Exhibit 1, # 4 Exhibit 2, # 5 Exhibit A, # 6 Exhibit B, # 7 Exhibit C, # 8 Exhibit D, # 9 Exhibit E)(Weiner, Blake) (Entered: 09/17/2021)
2021-10-1118Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 17 MOTION for Summary Judgment by JOHN NEWMAN. (Hardway, Dan) (Entered: 10/11/2021)
2021-10-1319ERRATA by JOHN NEWMAN re 18 Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 17 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by JOHN NEWMAN. (Hardway, Dan) (Entered: 10/13/2021)
2021-10-13MINUTE ORDER granting Plaintiff's 18 Consent Motion for Extension of Time to File Response to 17 Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff's combined response and cross-motion for summary judgment shall now be filed on or before November 20, 2021. Defendants' combined opposition and reply shall now be filed on or before December 10, 2021. Plaintiff's reply shall now be filed on or before December 30, 2021. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 10/13/21. (lctnm1) (Entered: 10/13/2021)
2021-10-14Set/Reset Deadlines: Plaintiff's combined response and cross-motion for summary judgment due by 11/20/2021. Defendants' combined opposition and reply due by 12/10/2021. Plaintiff's reply due by 12/30/2021. (hmc) (Entered: 10/14/2021)
2021-11-2020RESPONSE re 17 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by JOHN NEWMAN. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Statement of Facts Response to Gov't SUMF, # 3 Memorandum in Support, # 4 Declaration of John Newman, # 5 Declaration of Dan Hardway w/ Exhibits, # 6 Text of Proposed Order, # 7 Text of Proposed Order Alternative)(Hardway, Dan) (Entered: 11/20/2021)
2021-11-2021Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by JOHN NEWMAN. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Statement of Facts Response to Gov't SUMF, # 3 Memorandum in Support, # 4 Declaration of John Newman, # 5 Declaration of Dan Hardway w/ Exhibits, # 6 Text of Proposed Order, # 7 Text of Proposed Order Alternative)(Hardway, Dan) (Entered: 11/20/2021)
2021-11-2322Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to file Reply by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION. (Weiner, Blake) (Entered: 11/23/2021)
2021-11-23MINUTE ORDER granting the Defendant's 22 Consent Motion for Extension of Time. The Defendant shall file its combined opposition and reply on or before January 10, 2022. The Plaintiff shall file its reply, if any, on or before January 31, 2022. Further requests for extensions will be disfavored. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 11/23/2021. (lctnm1) (Entered: 11/23/2021)
2021-11-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's opposition due by 1/10/2022. Plaintiff's Reply due by 1/31/2022. (hmc) (Entered: 11/24/2021)
2021-12-0223Second MOTION for Extension of Time to Reply by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION. (Weiner, Blake) (Entered: 12/02/2021)
2021-12-02MINUTE ORDER denying the Bureau of Prisons' 23 Second Motion for Extension of Time. The Court had previously warned that further extensions would be disfavored. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 12/2/2021. (lctnm1) (Entered: 12/02/2021)
2022-01-1024REPLY to opposition to motion re 17 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts Response to Plaintiff's Statement of Facts, # 2 Exhibit A, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Weiner, Blake) (Entered: 01/10/2022)
2022-01-1025Memorandum in opposition to re 21 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION. (Attachments: # 1 Response to Plaintiff's Statement of Facts, # 2 Exhibit A, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Weiner, Blake) (Entered: 01/10/2022)
2022-01-3126REPLY to opposition to motion re 21 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by JOHN NEWMAN. (Hardway, Dan) (Entered: 01/31/2022)
2022-05-0227NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Marsha Wellknown Yee on behalf of FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION Substituting for attorney Blake A. Weiner (Yee, Marsha) (Entered: 05/02/2022)
2022-05-1328MEMORANDUM OPINION re: Defendants' 17 Motion for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's 21 Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 5/13/2022. (lctnm1) (Entered: 05/13/2022)
2022-05-1329ORDER. For the reasons stated in the 28 Memorandum Opinion, the Defendants' 17 Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED. The Plaintiff's 21 Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED. See attached ORDER for details. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 5/13/2022. (lctnm1) (Entered: 05/13/2022)
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