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Kuntz v. U.S. Department of Justice

United States District Court, D. North Dakota

July 11, 2018

Riley S. Kuntz, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S Department of Justice, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Charles S. Miller, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

         This is an action brought by plaintiff, Riley S. Kuntz (“Kuntz”), seeking relief against the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) for alleged violations of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). Before the court now is DOJ's Motion to Dismiss and Kuntz's Motion for Summary Judgment. Both DOJ and Kuntz have consented to the undersigned's handling of the case.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Kuntz claims in his complaint that, after reviewing a report prepared by the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) entitled Face Recognition Technology, FBI Should Better Ensure Privacy and Accuracy" (GA0-16-267), he made a FOIA request to the FBI dated August 9, 2016, as follows:

1. Please supply records relating to an agreement between the FBI and the BCI or the NDDOT authorizing or allowing the search of any ND Driver License or non-photo identification database pursuant to a request from any government agency for the purposes of FACE or FIRS or NGI-IPS.
2. Please supply any perceived or actual statutory authority relating to the denial of any of these requests.

(Doc. No. 1). The thrust of Kuntz's remaining allegations as to what happened leading up to the filing of this action are:

(1) the FBI denied Kuntz's FOIA request on the grounds it could find no responsive documents;
(2) Kuntz thereafter exhausted his administrative remedies before the FBI and then the DOJ with his requests being again denied at each stage based on the grounds that no responsive documents were located;
(3) Kuntz then employed FOIA to “obtain additional information regarding the Request” from the GAO;
(4) the GAO located the MOU and forwarded it to the FBI along with a request to release the MOU to Kuntz;
(5) the FBI then treated the GAO request as new FOIA request via a letter dated March 22, 2017;
(6) as of October 17, 2017 (the day Kuntz filed suit) no responsive documents ...

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