United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
HARRIS TOLIVER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and the district judge's
Standing Order of Reference, Doc. 50, these
consolidated cases were referred to the United States
magistrate judge for pretrial management. Pending before the
Court are Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint, Doc. 39, and
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint
for Injunctive Relief, Doc. 51. For the reasons that
follow, the motions should be GRANTED to the
extent stated herein.
cases result from Plaintiff's Freedom of Information Act
(“FOIA”) requests served on Department of
Transportation (“DOT”) and the Federal Aviation
number 3:16-CV-2911-B-BK (“Rutila I”) stems from
seven FOIA requests. Doc. 35-1 at 4, 8, 12, 18, 21, 24, 26.
The FAA responded to Plaintiff's requests, Plaintiff
administratively appealed those responses, Doc. 35-2 at 80,
108, 123, 134, 147, 160, and his appeals were adjudicated.
Doc. 35-2 at 205-27. By his Third Amended Complaint for
Injunctive Relief, filed July 2017 in Rutila I,
Plaintiff seeks “judicial review of Defendants'
administrative appeal responses.” Doc. 35-1 at 3.
number 3:16-CV-3433-B-BK (“Rutila II”) results
from three additional FOIA requests. Dkt. 24-1 at 3, 8, 10.
The FAA determined that two of the requests were improper
because they were overly broad, sought information that did
not exist in the form of records, and sought new records.
Dkt. 24-1 at 9, 12. The FAA responded to the third request,
and Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal as to all three
FOIA requests. Dkt. 24-1 at 6. By his First Amended
Complaint for Injunctive Relief, filed September 2017 in
Rutila II, Plaintiff seeks “judicial review of
administrative appeal.” Dkt. 24-1 at 13.
now move under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1)&(b)(6) to dismiss the Third Amended
Complaint for Injunctive Relief in part and First
Amended Complaint for Injunctive Relief in its entirety.
Doc. 39, Doc. 51.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure challenges a federal court's subject
matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). When a Rule
12(b)(1) motion is filed in conjunction with other Rule 12
motions, courts should consider the “jurisdictional
attack before addressing any attack on the merits.”
Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th
Cir. 2001). In considering a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss,
“a court may evaluate (1) the complaint alone, (2) the
complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the
record, or (3) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts
plus the Court's resolution of disputed facts.”
Den Norske Stats Oljeselskap As v. HeereMac Vof, 241
F.3d 420, 424 (5th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted).
matter jurisdiction in a FOIA suit “is based upon the
plaintiff's showing that an agency has (1) improperly (2)
withheld (3) agency records.” Goldgar v. Office of
Admin., Exec. Office of the President, 26 F.3d 32, 34
(5th Cir. 1994) (citing Kissinger v. Reporters Comm'n
for Freedom of the Press, 445 U.S. 136, 150 (1980)).
“Plaintiffs who do not allege any improper withholding
of agency records fail to state a claim for which a court has
jurisdiction under the FOIA.” Id.
Rutila I, Plaintiff complains about Defendants' responses
to seven FOIA requests: (1) 9143 - seeking Emails of FAA
Academy Officials, (2) 9145 - seeking Madeline Bostic EEO
Information, (3) 9149 - seeking FAA Academy SOPs, (4) 9150 -
seeking Civil Rights SOPs, (5) 9151 - seeking ADACEL Emails,
(6) 9152 - seeking Evaluation Schedules,  and (7) 9192 -
seeking Evaluation Logs. Doc. 35-1 at 4, 8, 12, 18, 21, 24,
26. Defendants argue that Plaintiff's Third Amended
Complaint for Injunctive Relief should be dismissed in
part because (1) FOIA does not require the FAA to search
offices, databases, or other sources of information where
Rutila believes such records are located, (2) FOIA does not
require the agency to demonstrate the adequacy of the search
in its initial response, (3) Plaintiff has not identified in
his administrative appeal the grounds for challenging the
adequacy of the FAA's initial searches, (4) Plaintiff has
failed to plead sufficient facts to explain why the
agency's modified searches were inadequate, and (5)
Rutila did not agree to pay the fee estimate with respect to
request 9149. Doc. 40 at 13-19.
responds, in relevant part, that (1) he has given Defendants
sufficient notice of his claims by virtue of his
administrative appeals, (2) “Defendants have not
reliably cited any aspect of Plaintiff's Complaint where
this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, ” (3) he
has “alleged a well-pleaded material fact with respect
to FAA's status as a ‘component' rather than as
an ‘agency, '” (4) the “Court has
jurisdiction over fee assessment of Request 9149, ” and
(5) he has ...