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FERGUSON v. F.B.I.
January 31, 1990
HERMAN BENJAMIN FERGUSON, PLAINTIFF,
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert P. Patterson, Jr., District Judge.
On October 24, 1989, in Ferguson v. FBI, 722 F. Supp. 1137,
1145 (S.D.N.Y. 1989), the Court ordered that:
(1) the Defendant's motion to extend the time required
to respond to Plaintiff's requests under the
Freedom of Information Act [(FOIA)] is GRANTED IN
PART AND DENIED IN PART;
(2) the Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction
is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART;
(3) the Defendant, within 85 days of the receipt of
this order, is to complete processing all documents
from the 1963-1970 portion of Plaintiff's April
1989 request for documents relating to himself;
first, the Defendant shall process the January
1965-October 1968 portion of these documents; after
Defendant has prepared and served upon Plaintiff
the January 1965-October 1968 portion of the April
1989 request, Defendant is to commence processing
the documents from the periods January 1963-December
1965 and November 1968-December 1970.
(4) the Defendant, within 32 days of the completion
of its response to the 1963-1970 portion of the
April 1989 request, is to prepare and serve upon
Plaintiff a Vaughn index of the 1963-1970 portion
of the documents produced pursuant to the 1980
(5) the Defendant is to work diligently and in good
faith to respond to the 1971-1989 portion of the
April 1989 request for documents and to prepare
a Vaughn index for the 1971-1980 portion of the
documents produced pursuant to the 1980 request
Defendant on January 18, 1990 timely provided plaintiff with
the 1963-1970 portion of the April 1989 request. Plaintiff has
provided the Court with a copy of those records produced. Among
these are documents containing redactions and certain documents
are blacked out in their entirety. On January 25, 1990, plaintiff
presented the Court with an order to show cause, requesting a
hearing on why an order should not be issued:
(1) sanctioning defendant for "its deliberate
disobedience of this Court's Opinion and Order of
October 24, 1989 and for arbitrarily and capriciously
withholding documents responsive to plaintiff's
(2) requiring defendant to reprocess of the 1963-1970
portion of the April 1989 request;
(3) requiring defendant to produce a Vaughn index in
120 days for the 1963-1970 portion of the April 1989
(4) requiring defendant to produce for in camera
inspection all documents responsive to the 1989
request which were compiled from 1963 through
Both parties appeared before the Court for oral argument and
defendant has submitted a memorandum in response to plaintiff's
papers and plaintiff has submitted a reply memorandum.
The intentions of Congress govern the Court's response to
plaintiff's allegations that portions of those documents
processed in the last three months were improperly redacted.
Congress provided for a procedure to challenge "agency records
improperly withheld" under ...
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