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Taylor v. National Security Agency

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division

September 30, 2014

MICHAEL TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, Defendant.

ORDER

DUDLEY H. BOWEN, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment and Plaintiff's motion to amend judgment. For the reasons stated herein, Defendant's motion is GRANTED, and Plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Michael Taylor, proceeding pro se, brought this action pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 ("FOIA"), and the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, to obtain documents and information alleged to be in the possession of the National Security Agency ("Defendant" or "N.S.A.").

On March 18, 2013, Plaintiff submitted a FOIA and Privacy Act request to Defendant, seeking "a copy of any and all records about [Plaintiff] maintained by the National Security Agency" and, among other things, each application for the "order authorizing and/or approving the reading of [Plaintiff's] mind, to listen to [Plaintiff's] thoughts, and to eavesdrop on the [Plaintiff's] thoughts." (Sherman Decl., Ex. 1.)

Two weeks later, Defendant responded to Plaintiff explaining that his FOIA request was denied for national security reasons under Exemptions 1 and 3 of FOIA.[1] Plaintiff exhausted Defendant's appeals process then sought relief in this Court on July 5, 2013.

On August 1, 2013, Defendant moved for summary judgment, which the Court granted in part and denied in part. On Plaintiff's FOIA claim, the Court found that FOIA's Exemption 3 applied to Plaintiff's request. Because Exemption 3 was applicable, the Court did not reach the question whether Exemption 1 also applied. The Court denied Defendant's motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff's Privacy Act claim, explaining that

[u]ntil Defendant can provide sufficient evidence affirmatively showing that it is entitled to an exemption under the Privacy Act and that it conducted a reasonable search for records responsive to Plaintiff's Privacy Act request,

summary judgment on this ground is unwarranted. (Order of Aug. 1, 2013, at 31.). The Court ordered that the period for filing civil motions was reopened for a period of thirty days. During that new filing period, Defendant filed a second motion for summary judgment addressing the deficiencies in its first motion for summary judgment and Plaintiff filed a motion to amend judgment as to his FOTA claim.

II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

The Court should grant summary judgment only if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Facts are material if they could affect the outcome of the suit under the governing substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The Court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986), and must draw all justifiable inferences in its favor. United States v. Four Parcels of Real Prop. in Greene & Tuscaloosa Cntys. , 941 F.2d 1428, 1437 (11th Cir. 1991)(en banc) (internal punctuation and citations omitted).

The Clerk has given the non-moving party notice of the motion for summary judgment and the summary judgment rules, of the right to file affidavits or other materials in opposition, and of the consequences of default. (Doc. no. 12.) Therefore, the notice requirements of Griffith v. Wainwright , 772 F.2d 822, 825 (11th Cir. 1985) (per curiam), are satisfied. The time for filing materials in opposition has expired, and the motions are ripe for consideration.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of ...


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