FAA Files (Eleventh-Hour) Motion for Summary Judgment! Rojas v. FAA 5!

FAA filed its Motion for Summary Judgment at 8:44PM the day it was due for Rojas v. FAA. Talk about a long day for DOJ attorneys.

Some interesting quotes below. We will reserve our commentary for the Response.

  • Declarant Stacie Graves was unable to sign her declaration (Exh. 2) by the filing deadline. Her signature page will be substituted as soon as possible.

  • Mr. Rojas submitted appeals of each of the responses to the FAA, which have not yet been decided.

    Summary judgment in favor of Defendants is proper because Defendants conducted an adequate search for records, and properly withheld and/or redacted records pursuant to FOIA Exemptions 6 and 7 and the Glomar exception.

  • Statement of Fact (“SOF”) ¶ X. Forgot the place holder didn’t you?

  • In this matter, disclosing email addresses of those copied on the emails does nothing to shed light on FAA’s performance of its duties

  • The other redacted information also affects privacy interests to the extent that it identifies or allows one to identify individuals. Such redactons are therefore proper under Exemption 6.

  • Mr. Snow has a privacy interest in the files as well as in his personal honor and reputation for potentially being the subject of “cheating” and “misconduct” allegations.

  • The requester “has the burden of demonstrating by producing evidence that would warrant a belief by a reasonable person that the alleged Government impropriety might have occurred.”

    However, “the balancing test does not even come ‘into play’ when the requester has produced no evidence of impropriety.”

  • The central issue underlying Mr. Rojas’ FOIA requests is FAA’s “change in the hiring process of Air Traffic Control Specialists (‘ATCS’) and other allegations of wrongdoing within the Agency.”

  • The change in FAA’s hiring process is not “wrongdoing,” it is a change in the hiring process. Whether the change has an impact on those who have applied, or who are intending to apply, for ATCS positions does not make the change “wrongdoing.” The Complaint and the documents attached thereto and referenced therein contain allegations that the change in hiring practices is ill-advised and unsupported, and has a disproportionate effect on interested parties, but those allegations even if true do not make the change “wrongdoing.”

  • Furthermore, the Complaint contains only allegations: web articles, news clips, and the like, including several unsworn, hearsay statements contained in those articles. In other words, Mr. Rojas has not presented evidence, merely allegations of “wrongdoing.”

  • The same applies to Mr. Snow. Mr. Rojas presents allegations regarding Mr. Snow that are contained in web articles, which are unsworn hearsay statements, not admissible evidence. The balancing of interests therefor does not come “into play.”

  • The letter addresses an investigation by FAA of allegations that an FAA employee provided answers to the FAA’s Biographical Assessment to applicants for air traffic controller positions before they took the test. Doc. 1-3, pp. 19-20. Defendants withheld responsive documents pursuant to Exemption 6. The rationale for withholding responsive documents for this item is the same for withholding documents regarding allegations against Mr. Snow.

  • SOF X….

  • To state whether EEO complaints were filed against Mr. Teixeira would affect his privacy interests, even if the documents themselves were withheld pursuant to Exemptions 6 and 7(C). Defendants’ Glomar response to this FOIA request was proper.

 

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