Part of a public library containing court papers related to lawsuits involving Scientology in some way. Collected to help lawyers and critics of Scientology in future lawsuits from or against this cult. Please report back if this has been of help, or send new contributions to the collection. Thanks. Andreas Heldal-Lund (heldal@online.no)

                 Church of Scientology of California, Plaintiff
                        Griffin Bell, et al., Defendants.
                            Civil Action No. 76-1006
                   United States District Court;  D. Colorado.

  ROBINSON, Jr., District Judge.
                          Memorandum Opinion and Order
  *1 Before the Court are Cross Motions for Summary Judgment in an action
 brought by the Church of Scientology against Griffin Bell, et al.  Plaintiff
 seeks information under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U. S. C. s  552 et
 seq., (FOIA).  The issues are threefold, namely:  (1) is Defendants' index
 adequate, (2) was the segregability requirement met, and (3) were the
 exemptions properly exercised.
  As carefully delineated in Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F. 2d 820 (1973), cert.
 denied, 415 U. S. 977 (1974), and later highlighted in Ray v. Turner, 587
 F. 2d 1187 (D. C. Cir. 1978), a District Court should follow a three step
 procedure to ensure meaningful de novo review of agency action on a FIOA
 request.  The Court in Ray v. Turner, supra, at 1194, recently summarized
 the three steps:
   (1) [The Court should require] that the agency submit a "relatively detailed
 analysis [of the material withheld] in manageable segments."  "[C]onclusory and
 generalized allegations of exemptions" would no longer be accepted by reviewing
 courts . . . (2) "[A]n indexing system [that] would subdivide the document
 under consideration into manageable parts cross-referenced to the relevant
 portion of the Government's justification" . . .  This index would allow the
 district court and opposing counsel to locate specific areas of dispute for
 further examination and would be an indispensible aid to the Court of Appeals
 reviewing the District Court's decision.  (3) "[A]dequate adversary testing"
 would be ensured by opposing counsel's access to the information included in
 the agency's detailed and indexed justification and by in camera inspection,
 guided by the detailed affidavit and using special masters appointed by the
 court whenever the burden proved to be especially onerous."
  In the instant case, it is only the second step, the indexing process, that is
 questioned by Plaintiff.  It asserts that the documents are not subdivided into
 manageable parts, and that the subdivisions are not cross-referenced to the
 government's justification for nondisclosure.  Plaintiff is correct in
 asserting that Defendants' index did not outline the materials or the exemption
 justification precisely as mandated by Ray v. Turner, supra.  The Court does
 not find this dispositive, however, because the index is easily understood and
 comports with the underlying purpose of Ray v. Turner.
  For each document, the index states (1) who prepared the document, (2) to whom
 it was sent, (3) when it was sent, (4) what exemptions are applicable, (5)
 whether the materials are segregable, (6) a description of the document, and
 (7) justification for the exemption.  The descriptions are not conclusory;
 they state why the document was written and, in general terms, what was
 stated.  The justification explains the relationship between the document and
 the exemption(s) claimed.  The justification is not overly broad.  Rather, it
 analyzes the specific aspects of each document in light of each exemption
 claimed.  The Court finds that the index in this case satisfies the purposes
 of Ray v. Turner, supra, and does not provide grounds either for judgment in
 favor of Plaintiff or for remand to the agency.
  *2 Plaintiff next alleges that the segregability requirement has not been
 met.  This contention is erroneous.  Only small parts of documents have been
 excerpted;  in almost all cases, the excerpts have consisted of names or
 opinions that clearly may be withheld.  Furthermore, contrary to Plaintiff's
 allegations, defendants have not "lumped" the exemptions together within the
 meaning of Mead Data Central, Inc. v. USAF, 566 F. 2d 242 (D. C. Cir.
 1977).  Rather, they have presented ample descriptions of each excerpted
 segment, and have focused the exemptions claimed to each description.
 Defendants have met the segregability requirements imposed by the Act.
  Finally, Plaintiff alleges that defendants have not properly withheld
 information pursuant to the exemptions.  Exemption 5 permits agencies to
 withhold materials relating to methods by which a decision is reached, the
 matters considered, the contributing influences, and the role played by work of
 participating employees.  This includes work product, so long as it is
 demonstrated that the information withheld is confidential.  Mead Data
 Central, Inc. v. USAF, supra at 253.  In the instant case, the materials were
 confidentially written by employees and stemmed solely from ongoing and
 completed litigation.  This is precisely the type of information protected by
 exemption 5.
  Exemptions 6 and 7(c) permit agencies to withhold material to protect
 individuals' privacy.  The exemption 6 standard is stricter than the 7(c)
 standard, but the purposes are similar.  120 Cong. Rec. 17033 (May 20,
 1974).  In the instant case, the information withheld pursuant to exemption 6
 is the names of individuals who have communicated with defendants in strict
 confidence.  Unless there is a public interest in the disclosure of names, an
 exemption 6 deletion is appropriate.  Dept. of the Air Force v. Rose, 425 U.
 S. 352 (1976);  Getman v. NLRB, 450 F. 2d 670 (D. C. Cir. 1971);  Wine
 Hobby U. S. A., Inc. v. U. S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, 502 F.
 2d 133 (3d Cir. 1974).  Plaintiff has not alleged a public purpose served by
 the disclosure of the names in question.  Furthermore, it is clear that the
 unnamed individuals have a great privacy interest to be protected.  Plaintiff
 has a policy and history of seeking retribution against its perceived enemies,
 and very high Church officials have been convicted of heinous acts.  U. S.
 v. Hubbard, 474 F. Supp. 64, 70-71 (D. D. C. 1979).
  The information withheld pursuant to exemption 7(c) is names of individuals
 who have been investigated by Defendants.  Again, Plaintiff has submitted no
 public purpose supporting disclosure.  Furthermore, disclosure of the
 individuals' names might serve to damage their reputations or lead to personal
 embarrassment and discomfort.  Lesar v. Dept. of Justice, Civil Action No. 77-
 0692 (D. D. C., July 28, 1978) Slip Op. at 6.  Clearly, the balance of
 interests in this case militates against disclosure.  See Nix v. U. S., 572
 F. 2d 998, 1006 (4th Cir. 1978).
  *3 Exemption 7(d) provides for the withholding of information which would
 disclose the identity of a confidential source who provides information toward
 a criminal law enforcement investigation.  Mitsubishi Electric Corp. v. Dept.
 of Justice, Civil Action No. 76-813 (D. D. C. April 1, 1977) Slip Op. at 6.
 Exemption 7(d) exists because it is essential that investigative organizations
 such as the IRS retain the ability to obtain information from confidential
 sources.  The Supplemental Index, filed with the Hayward affidavit, specifies
 in great detail the information segments which have been withheld pursuant to
 exemption 7(d).  Defendants have withheld only the minimum information
 necessary to effectuate the purpose of exemption 7(d).  The information was
 properly withheld.  See Nix v. U. S., supra, at 1003-1004, Mitsubishi
 Electric Corp. v. Dept. of Justice, supra, at 6-7.
  Exemption 2 applies to matters that relate solely to the internal personnel
 rules and practices of an agency.  In the instant case, two items of
 information were withheld pursuant to exemption 2.  One, Document No. 12,
 Section 2, DJ File No. 154-226-61, relates to "matters related solely to the
 internal practices of an agency."  The other, Document No. 20 Section 3, DJ
 File No. 156-226-61, is a paragraph that deals with work performed by revenue
 agents "consisting of matters related solely to the internal personnel rules
 and practices of an agency."  The first item of information does not fall into
 the scope of exemption 2 because it does not deal with personnel rules or
 practices.  The other item, however, falls squarely within the scope of
 exemption 2.  See Linebarger v. FBI, Civil Action No. C-76-1826-WWS (N. D. Cal.
 August 1, 1977) Slip Op. at 3.
  Exemption 7(a) permits agencies to withhold materials if disclosure would
 interfere with enforcement proceedings.  The Supreme Court has held that
 whenever documents are contained in an open investigatory file where an
 enforcement proceeding is pending, no specific showing of interference is a
 necessary prerequisite to the invocation of exemption 7(a).  Robbins Tire
 and Rubber Co. v. NLRB, 437 U. S. 214 (1978).  The present adjudicative posture
 between the parties renders the interference manifest.  Mitsubishi Electric
 Corp. v. U. S., supra.  The one item withheld pursuant to exemption 7(a) is a
 citizens letter transmitted to other federal agencies of alleged criminal
 violations by Plaintiff.  Resultant investigations are ongoing, and release of
 the letter would interfere with those investigations.  The letter was properly
 withheld pursuant to exemption 7(a).
  Exemption 3 permits agencies to withhold documents if nondisclosure is
 authorized by a statute meeting exemption 3 requirements.  The parties agree
 that 26 U. S. C. s  6103 is an applicable statute.  See Fruehauf v. IRS,
 566 F. 2d 574 (5th Cir. 1977).  That statute provides that tax returns and tax
 return information are confidential.  The information withheld was gleened from
 tax returns supplied by third parties.  As such, it was properly withheld.
  *4 It is therefore by the Court this 29th day of January, 1980,
   ORDERED, that Defendants shall disclose the portions of Document 12 Section
 2, DJ File No. 154-226-61 that were withheld pursuant to exemption 2; and it is
   FURTHER ORDERED, that in all other respects, Defendants' Motion for Summary
 Judgment is GRANTED, and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.
  Pursuant to this Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order dated January 28, 1980,
 it is by the Court this 30th day of January, 1980,
   ORDERED, that Defendants shall disclose the portions of Document 12 Section
 2, DJ File No. 154-226-61 that were withheld pursuant to exemption 2; and it is
   FURTHER ORDERED, that in all other respects, Defendants' Motion for Summary
 Judgment is GRANTED, and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.

End of file...