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Gill v. Dept. of Agriculture, No. 13-cv-00356, 2013 WL 3942028 (E.D. Cal. July 30, 2013) (England, Jr., J.)
July 30th, 2013 Posted by

Re: Request for access to records related to defendant’s investigation which resulted in plaintiffs’ permanent ban from participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Disposition: Denying plaintiffs motion to strike portions of defendant’s answer

  • Litigation Considerations, Pleadings:  The court denies plaintiff’s motion to strike portions of defendant’s answer because “[w]hether Plaintiffs had notice or whether Plaintiffs exhausted their administrative remedies is not an appropriate answer to reach on  a Rule 12(f) Motion especially given federal courts’ disfavor of such motions.”  The court notes that “Plaintiffs argue that Defendant’s Answer fails to explain why FOIA Exemptions three and six (5 U.S.C. §§ 522(b)(3), (b)(6)) are relevant.”  The court suggests that, “Plaintiffs could find the answer to its confusion in the exhibits it attached to its Complaint,” because “[i]n Defendant’s letter dated January 30, 2013, Defendant explains that it withheld information under 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(3), (b)(6), and (b)(7)(E) of FOIA.”  Moreover, the court rejects plaintiff’s argument that defendant’s “defense does not rise to the level of a cognizable affirmative defense because Defendant does not explain what is meant by FOIA exemptions 3, 5, 6, 7C, and 7E, nor does Defendant allege any facts explaining why any of these exemptions apply.”  The court notes that, “[w]hether a FOIA Exemption applies is the crux of this case,” and, therefore, “a reference to a FOIA Exemption cannot be redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous, and it would be wildly inappropriate to strike the central issue of this case on a Rule 12(f) Motion.”
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