FAA Releases Shelton Snow Investigation File – Rojas v. FAA 5

The FAA has indicated that it has mailed the Shelton Snow investigation file, pursuant to Court order.

We expect to receive the documents soon, and will then need to determine if any issues remain. Based on the FAA’s response letter, it appears that redactions were made outside of the confines of the Court’s order.

Additionally, pursuant to the Court’s order, the agency provided two additional declarations, which are supposed to both detail the search efforts along with describing why records that were found to be responsive before were no longer responsive.

Olson Declaration 20180309

Declaration Daniel Maggard 2016-9570

FAA ORDERED to Release Shelton Snow Investigation Records, Rojas v. FAA #5 Documents, or risks “enforcement action”

Despite the Judge’s order denying in part the FAA’s Motion for Summary Judgment, the FAA decided to take a new approach and say that the order was only with respect to the “blanket” exemption claims and that it is awaiting approval internally to release documents, or claim new exemptions. At a status hearing today, Judge G. Murray Snow said no to that argument and cautioned FAA that it must comply with the order.

These documents pertain to the Shelton Snow investigation and the inquiry into the alleged cheating, along with the missing emails, and other things.

The Judge ordered FAA to provide the documents by 2/16/2018. We then have until 2/23/2018 to review, and inform the court of any remaining issues. The Judge also left the door open for enforcement action and sanctions against FAA for any failure to comply.

We look forward to receiving all the documents listed in the Vaughn Index of Records from FAA for the various requests.

MINUTE ENTRY for proceedings held before Judge G Murray Snow: Status Conference held on 1/5/2018. The FAA shall provide all documents by 2/16/2018. If the FAA has the agreement of plaintiff, they may redact documents that do not pertain to the information in which plaintiff is interested, but those documents must be provided by 2/16/2018. Plaintiff has until 2/23/2018 to inform the Court whether or not this action can be dismissed, whether or not enforcement action needs to be taken against the FAA, or other relief.

APPEARANCES: Michael Pearson for Plaintiff, who is also present. Paul Bullis for Defendants. (Court Reporter Charlotte Powers.) Hearing held 9:37 AM to 9:53 AM. This is a TEXT ENTRY ONLY. There is no PDF document associated with this entry. (KFZ) (Entered: 01/05/2018)

The parties agree that there are other issues (in addition to the release of records) that still need to be resolved, and will attempt to work on those over the next few weeks.

BREAKING – Judge Snow DENIES FAA Motion for Summary Judgment – Rojas v. FAA 5

Judge G. Murray Snow has denied in part, and granted in part, the FAA’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Rojas v. FAA 5. The FAA attempted to close out that lawsuit arguing that it had performed all it needed to do for the FOIA requests at issue.

The denied parts of the FAAs motion include the 1) EEO case information, 2) requests for searching Shelton Snow’s email, 3)  Shelton Snow investigative file following the Fox expose. 

Judge Snow’s background to the case stated, “The National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees (“NBCFAE”) lobbied for certain aspects of the new hiring policy. As part of this change, the FAA no longer formally preferred students participating in specified college programs under the Qualified Applicant Register. This policy change negatively impacted Mr. Rojas’s application to work as an Air Traffic Controller.”

Judge Snow found FAA did not adequately justify its exemption claims, for example –

Notwithstanding the potential public interest in a government agency’s review of unfair hiring practices, the government did not sufficiently show that it could not disclose any information without violating privacy interests. The government claims that privacy interests compel nondisclosure, but the government did not explain why it withheld all documents, and it did not show that redactions could adequately protect any privacy interests. Therefore, the government did not meet its burden that a FOIA exemption warranted nondisclosure.

The FAA failed to comply with FOIA concerning the second subsection. The government claims that it withheld all responsive documents because Mr. Snow has a cognizable privacy interest that warrants nondisclosure of cheating allegations. However, the public has an interest in knowing information about hiring officials who unfairly support specific job applicants, especially for positions that maintain public safety. Considering these two competing interests in light of the strong presumption in favor of disclosure, Yonemoto, 686 F.3d at 693, the government’s response to Mr. Rojas’s request failed to meet its burden for summary judgment.

In its Motion for Summary Judgment, the FAA cursorily stated that Exemption 6 protects the privacy interests of individuals in the email. The FAA’s perfunctory response is inadequate, and the FAA fails to meet its burden to show that an exemption applies.

The Judge set a status hearing for early January, which we will find out what FAA intends to do. There will likely be a discussion on what the next steps are.

2017 1204 O re MSJ (3)

BREAKING: “Pending OIG Law Enforcement Investigation” Against Snow!

The FAA has attempted to bring forward new arguments in response to the contradictions to their motion to close out the fifth FOIA lawsuit against them.

They assert that the OIG is now conducting a law enforcement investigation against Shelton Snow.

Interesting how things change, especially considering that FAA told Congress that they reviewed all relevant materials and found nothing wrong.

FAA Releases Snow Investigation Records, Rojas v. FAA 5!

The FAA has released responsive records for Rojas v. FAA 5, with regards to the Shelton Snow email investigation. We are currently reviewing the release, and will be reviewing the Government’s future supplemental response to the Court informing of the justification for the withholdings it made. That deadline is currently for May 26, 2017. FAA had stated that “evidently there are additional responsive documents,” although we had thought it was for another request part of the case.

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DOJ Moves for Second Extension of Time – Rojas v. FAA 5

On the Friday before the deadline, the DOJ seeks another extension of time! This is to provide (or withhold, redact, etc., additional records, likely about the I drive, or the EEO cases…)

As of this post, the judge has yet to approve it.

Second MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 17 Response to Motion for Summary Judgment by Federal Aviation Administration, United States Department of Transportation. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Bullis, Paul) (Entered: 05/12/2017)

As justification:

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