Hertz Schram PC et al v. Federal Bureau of Investigation
ORDER Granting Leave for Defendant Federal Bureau of Investigation to File a Second Summary Judgment Motion and Adjourning Scheduling Dates Pending Further Order of the Court, (Response due by 4/23/2014). Signed by District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith. (Goltz, D)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
HERTZ SCHRAM PC,
Civil Action No.
HON. MARK A. GOLDSMITH
FEDERAL BUREAU OF
INVESTIGATION, a component of
the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF
ORDER (1) GRANTING LEAVE FOR DEFENDANT FEDERAL BUREAU OF
INVESTIGATION TO FILE A SECOND SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION and (2)
ADJOURNING SCHEDULING DATES PENDING FURTHER ORDER OF THE COURT
On February 25, 2014, the Court issued an Opinion and Order granting in part and denying
in part the summary judgment motion filed by Defendant Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”)
(Dkt. 33). The Court also ordered the parties to file supplemental briefs discussing “how the case
should proceed at this juncture.” Id. at 26. Each party filed a supplemental brief (Dkts. 34, 36).
In Plaintiff’s supplemental brief, Plaintiff argues (i) that the FBI should be required to
amend the Hardy declaration submitted in support of the FBI’s motion to more fully describe the
search for records conducted by the National Gang Intelligence Center (“NGIC”), (ii) that if the
search described is still inadequate, the FBI should be required to expand its search, (iii) that the
FBI should be required to produce documents regarding the investigation of the Juggalos as a gang
in connection with the 2011 NGIC report, whether or not the NGIC actually relied on the
documents, (iv) that the FBI should be required to produce responsive documents whether dated
before or after the 2011 report, and (v) that Plaintiff will seek attorney’s fees and costs. Pl. Br. at
In its supplemental brief, the FBI states that it wishes to proceed by renewing its motion for
summary judgment on the issue of the adequacy of its search. Def. Br. at 2. The FBI attaches to
its brief a declaration of Diedre D. Butler, Unit Chief of the NGIC. Dec. ¶ 1 (Dkt. 36-1). In the
declaration, Butler describes the NGIC’s search for records responsive to Plaintiff’s Freedom of
Information Act (“FOIA”) request. In its brief, the FBI cites and relies on Butler’s declaration.
The FBI argues that the purpose of the NGIC reports is solely to report trends in intelligence and
information, not to affirm or negate that information. Br. at 3. The FBI further argues that in
response to Plaintiff’s FOIA request, the NGIC released for processing all of the information on
the Juggalos it considered in preparing the report. Id. at 4.
The FBI argues that the Butler declaration shows that the search for records responsive to
Plaintiff's FOIA request was adequate. Id. at 5. The FBI asserts that no FBI investigation of the
Juggalos for suspected gang activity took place in preparation for the 2011 report. Id. The FBI
further argues that it reasonably concluded it had located all records responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA
request after receiving the file of records from the NGIC analyst. Id. at 5-6. The FBI argues that
no records are maintained of comments or criticism of the NGIC reports. Id. at 7.
Having reviewed the parties’ arguments, the Court concludes that the FBI has
demonstrated good reasons to file a second motion for summary judgment. District courts have
the discretion to permit a successive motion for summary judgment. Kovacevich v. Kent State
Univ., 224 F.3d 806, 835 (6th Cir. 2000). A party should present “good reasons” in seeking to file
a successive motion for summary judgment. Whitford v. Boglino, 63 F.3d 527, 530 (7th Cir.
1995). An example of a “good reason” is “when the moving party has expanded the factual record
on which summary judgment is sought.” Kovacevich, 224 F.3d at 835. In this FOIA case, the
FBI has expanded the factual record by submitting an additional declaration describing the search
for records. See Rugiero v. United States Dep’t of Justice, 257 F.3d 534, 547 (6th Cir. 2001)
(noting that to demonstrate the adequacy of a search for records responsive to a FOIA request, “the
agency may rely on affidavits or declaration that provide reasonable detail of the scope of the
search.” (citations omitted)).
Furthermore, there is precedent for allowing an agency to supplement deficient affidavits
with further affidavits or declarations. See, e.g., Taylor v. Babbitt, 673 F. Supp. 2d 20, 22
(D.D.C. 2009) (“Even if an agency’s affidavits regarding its search are deficient, courts generally
do not grant discovery but instead direct the agency to supplement its affidavits.” (citation
omitted)). The Court also notes that Plaintiff has not filed a response or indicated opposition to
the FBI’s request for leave to submit a second summary judgment motion.
For these reasons, the Court grants the FBI leave to file a second summary judgment
motion. See, e.g., Powers v. United States Dep’t of Justice, No. 03-C-893, 2006 WL 2546809, at
*1 (E.D. Wisc. Sept. 1, 2006) (noting that the district court initially denied the agency’s summary
judgment motion on the ground that the search for records was not reasonable, but subsequently
allowed the agency to file a second summary judgment motion).
The FBI shall file its second summary judgment motion on or before April 23, 2014. A
response, and, if filed, a reply, shall be submitted in accordance with the briefing schedule set forth
in Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(e). Finally, the Court adjourns the scheduling
dates in this matter pending further order of this Court.
Dated: April 9, 2014
s/Mark A. Goldsmith
MARK A. GOLDSMITH
United States District Judge
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record
and any unrepresented parties via the Court's ECF System to their respective email or First Class
U.S. mail addresses disclosed on the Notice of Electronic Filing on April 9, 2014.
s/Deborah J. Goltz
DEBORAH J. GOLTZ
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