Hooker v. Department of Veterans Affairs
ORDERED: Plaintiff's Second Motion for Court Order Demanding Release of Improperly Withheld Records Not Under FOIA Exemption 7(A) 22 is DENIED as moot. Per the email from counsel for the VA, the records have been produced. Signed by Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell on 7/29/2022. (JDE)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CARLTON EUGENE HOOKER, JR.,
Case No: 8:22-cv-956-CEH-MRM
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS
This matter comes before the Court on the Plaintiff’s Second Motion for Court
Order Demanding Release of Improperly Withheld Records Not Under FOIA
Exemption 7(A) (Doc. 22), filed on July 23, 2022. In the motion, Plaintiff requests a
Court order directing the Defendant Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) to turn
over 14 documents totaling 35 pages, four surveillance videos, and eleven audio
recordings which he claims do not fall under Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”)
On July 26, 2022, Plaintiff supplemented his motion with his certification of
conferral with counsel for the VA. Doc. 23. Plaintiff states that the VA does not oppose
his motion. Id. He attaches to his filing an email exchange in which defense counsel
states that the VA is making a production of records which should moot his motion.
The Court, having considered the motion and being fully advised in the premises, will
deny as moot Plaintiff's Second Motion for Court Order Demanding Release of
Improperly Withheld Records Not Under FOIA Exemption 7(A).
Plaintiff, Carlton Eugene Hooker, Jr., who is proceeding pro se, initiated this
action on April 22, 2022, by filing a Freedom of Information Act Complaint. Doc. 1.
In his Complaint, Plaintiff outlines five FOIA requests he made to the VA on
December 17, 19, 20, 23, 2021 and January 4, 2022. Id. Plaintiff’s Complaint seeks a
Court Order instructing the VA to turn over “14 documents totaling 35 pages, 4
surveillance videos and 11 audio recordings.” Id. at 7. He also requests to be
reimbursed for the cost of filing this lawsuit. Id.
On July 1, 2022, the VA filed an Answer and Defenses to the FOIA Complaint.
Doc. 17. On July 9, 2022, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking the release of records not
subject to Exemption 7(A).1 The Court denied Plaintiff’s motion for failing to include
a certification of conferral with opposing counsel in compliance with Middle District
of Florida Local Rule 3.01(g). Doc. 21. On July 23, 2022, Plaintiff filed a second
motion seeking the release of records not subject to FOIA Exemption 7(A). Doc. 22.
Plaintiff supplemented his motion with certification that he conferred with counsel for
Defendant. Doc. 23. In it, he represents that the VA does not oppose his motion. He
attaches a copy of a July 25, 2022 email from the VA’s counsel, who states that a
Freedom of Information Act Exemption 7(A) authorizes the withholding of “records or
information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that production
of such law enforcement records or information . . . could reasonably be expected to interfere
with enforcement proceedings.” See https://www.foia.gov/foia-statute.html
production of records is being made on that date rendering the Plaintiff’s motion moot.
Accordingly, it is hereby
Plaintiff’s Second Motion for Court Order Demanding Release of
Improperly Withheld Records Not Under FOIA Exemption 7(A) (Doc. 22) is
DENIED as moot. Per the email from counsel for the VA, the records have been
DONE AND ORDERED in Tampa, Florida on July 29, 2022.
Carlton Hooker, Jr., pro se
Counsel of Record
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