FOIA Lawsuit 3:11-CV-01458-AC (filed 12/5/11)

On December 5, 2011, Lewis filed a civil complaint at the U.S. District Court in Portland, OR. This became 3:11-CV-01458-AC. He named as Defendants FAA and three higher FAA officials: Victoria Wassmer, Timothy Kubik, and Douglas Taylor. Lewis requested a jury trial and charged FAA non-compliance with the FOIA laws in two areas: first, that disclosable records were being arbitrarily concealed; and, second, that a ‘pay-to-play’ tactic was being used to deny Lewis’ FOIA rights.[1]

The following documents are accessible via the links below:

CASE DOCKET: A listing of all filings as of 9/27/12. The first pages identify the Plaintiff and all Defendants.[2] The middle column on the Case Docket identifies the Case Record Number. The latter documents are annotated by hand. At present, the Case Record includes forty documents (CR-1 through CR-40).

(CR-1) Civil Complaint: Filed 12/5/11, with a $350 filing fee.

(CR-18) MINUTES of Proceedings: Filed 5/3/12. Judge Acosta had ordered both parties to a conference. A schedule was produced.

(CR-19) Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint: Filed 5/8/12. Lewis had received FOIA Appeal records in early February, which provided additional evidence of arbitrary and improper records concealment. At the conference, he had been granted permission to submit this new evidence, along with a filing to clarify his complaint. The new filing included the Amended Complaint (24-pgs), and related Exhibits (31-pgs).

(CR-25) Defendant FAA’s Answer to Amended Complaint: Filed 5/18/12. Cites specific paragraphs in the 5/8/12 Amended Complaint; offers admissions to a few cited paragraphs, but mostly either denies or pleads ignorance.

(CR-28) Defendant FAA’s Motion for Summary Judgment: Filed 5/31/12. Relies on the attached Memorandum in Support (CR-29) and Declaration by Jeb Kreischer (CR-30).

(CR-29) Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment: Filed 5/31/12. Mostly boilerplate, with numerous legal cites. While the overall document looks impressive, a closer inspection shows no persuasive arguments for Summary Judgment.

(CR-30) Declaration of Jeb Kreischer: Filed 5/31/12. Kreischer is the FAA-HQ FOIA Specialist assigned to numerous FOIA Appeals filed by Lewis. This 7-page declaration had more than 100-pages of exhibits. The one valuable exhibit is Exh.8, a Vaughn Index describing the contents being withheld under FOIA.[3]

(CR-36) Plaintiff’s Memo Opposing FAA’s Motion for Summary Judgment: Filed 7/2/12.
Response to CR-28. 10-pages plus 4-pages Exhibits. A more legible copy of the ‘Four Phases’ Diagram is also provided.

(CR-37) Declaration of Jeffrey Lewis:
Filed 7/2/12, 41-pages. See also the Exhibits attached at CR-37-1 (39 exhibits, totaling 69-pages).

(CR-39) Defendant FAA’s Reply in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment:
Filed 7/20/12, 7-pages.

(CR-40) Defendant FAA’s Stipulation Regarding its Motion for Summary Judgment:
Filed 7/27/12, 4-pages.

(CR-41) Scheduling Order (setting 12/11/12 date for oral argument):
Filed 10/3/12, 1-page.

(CR-43) Minutes of Proceedings (for hearing on 12/11/12):
Filed 12/11/12, 1-page.

(CR-45) Plaintiff’s Documents Responsive to Judge Acosta’s RequestFiled 12/14/12, 9-pages. See also the Exhibits attached at CR-45-1 (6 exhibits, totaling 7-pages).

(CR-46) Defendant’s Response to Plaintiff’s Supplemental DocumentsFiled 12/27/12, 5-pages.

(CR-47) OPINION & ORDERFiled 1/7/13, 19-pages. Judge Acosta granted FAA’s motion for summary judgment. In so doing, he was essentially siding with the FAA opinion that there was nothing substantial to be argued before the court.

(CR-48) JUDGMENTFiled 1/7/13, 2-pages.

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[1] In ‘pay-to-play’, FAA officials cited absurdly high fee estimates for locating records. Refusal to agree to pay these exorbitant fees allowed FAA to ‘close’ the FOIA request with no records produced.
[2] Note that the three FAA officials were removed as Defendants, on 5/17/12.
[3] The valuable content revealed is that the 4/5/08 Fossier email redaction did in fact list a disciplinary proposal for Lewis, and declared it was ‘different’ from the removal proposal initiated a month later. Thus, it confirms ATO had intended a suspension or lesser action in early April 2008.