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KATZMAN v. FREEH

May 15, 1996

EYAL KATZMAN, Plaintiff, against LOUIS FREEH, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SEYBERT

 SEYBERT, District Judge:

 BACKGROUND

 On December 23, 1992; plaintiff Eyal Katzman filed a complaint against the FBI under the FOIA seeking the release of documents pertaining to Norman David Mayer [the "Mayer Documents"]. *fn1" Thereafter, on March 11, 1993, the FBI furnished the plaintiff with seven hundred and thirteen Mayer Documents. An additional three hundred and nine Mayer Documents were provided to the plaintiff on July 30, 1993, pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in United States Department of Justice v. Landano, 508 U.S. 165, 113 S. Ct. 2014, 124 L. Ed. 2d 84 (1993). *fn2"

 On April 23, 1993, plaintiff filed a motion for an order compelling the FBI to produce a Vaughn index on the Mayer Documents. A Vaughn index is an itemized list of all the documents requested in a FOIA action, which either contains the disclosable document or sets forth a detailed explanation for the exemption claimed by the government as the basis for nondisclosure. See Vaughn v. Rosen, 157 U.S. App. D.C. 340, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S. 977, 94 S. Ct. 1564, 39 L. Ed. 2d 873 (1974). The FBI voluntarily consented, and on or about September 15, 1993, a Vaughn index, including approximately 1,200 Mayer Documents, was filed.

 On June 20, 1994, plaintiff was granted permission by this Court to amend his complaint to add a request for the release of FBI documents pertaining to himself. A Vaughn index on these documents has been filed with this Court and is not the subject of the present motions.

 On March 30, 1994, plaintiff moved for an in camera inspection of the Mayer Documents that were withheld or redacted, to determine the propriety of exemptions cited by the FBI. On the same date, plaintiff also filed a discovery motion requesting a court order to compel the FBI to answer interrogatories posed by the plaintiff.

 On June 20, 1994, this Court referred all pending motions to Chief Magistrate Judge Chrein for his disposition or recommendation. By Memorandum and Order dated February 3, 1995, Magistrate Judge Chrein granted plaintiff's motion for an in camera review of all but seven of the Mayer Documents withheld from plaintiff. Magistrate Chrein excluded the seven documents because he found them to be within the statutory exemption regarding unwarranted invasions of personal privacy, 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(C). With respect to the plaintiff's motion to compel the defendant to answer his interrogatories, the Magistrate Judge determined that plaintiff's discovery motion would not be addressed by the court because plaintiff had not complied with Rule 6(a) of the Standing Orders of the Eastern District of New York. *fn3" Moreover, the Magistrate Judge stated that any motion seeking to compel the FBI to answer interrogatories relating to the contents of the Mayer Documents would be denied, "because such a request asks for precisely what the defendant is maintaining is exempt from disclosure to the plaintiff." Mem. and Order dated Feb. 3, 1995, at 11. Magistrate Judge Chrein preserved plaintiff's right to object to this order until a review of all the documents was completed and a final report was submitted.

 On April 19, 1995, Magistrate Judge Chrein filed a Report and Recommendation in which he concluded that four documents previously withheld from plaintiff could be revealed. The Magistrate Judge also recommended that additional portions of two specific documents, that previously had been partially disclosed, could be made available to plaintiff without redaction. Lastly, the report explicitly provided that the plaintiff could appeal from any order adopting or modifying the Report and Recommendation.

 Pursuant to Magistrate Judge Chrein's Report and Recommendation, the FBI released the specified documents to plaintiff on April 25, 1995. By order dated May 15, 1995, this Court adopted Magistrate Judge Chrein's Report and Recommendation without either party having objected to it.

 On June 16, 1995, plaintiff filed the present motion for "reconsideration" of Magistrate Judge Chrein's February 3, 1995 Memorandum and Order insofar as it denied his motion for an order compelling the FBI to answer his interrogatories concerning the contents of various withheld documents. Defendant FBI has filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment with respect to the Mayer Documents. According to the defendant, partial summary judgment is appropriate because the plaintiff has received all of the Mayer Documents to which he is entitled under the FOIA.

 DISCUSSION

 I. Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of Chief Magistrate Judge Chrein's Memorandum and ...


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