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United States District Court for the District of Columbia
March 1, 2012, Decided
Civil Action No. 10-1834 (ABJ)
[*289] MEMORANDUM OPINION
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. brings this action against defendant National Archives and Records Administration ("NARA") under the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C. § 701, et seq. Plaintiff asks the Court to declare audiotapes created by former President William Jefferson Clinton and historian Taylor Branch during the Clinton administration to be "Presidential records" under the Presidential Records Act ("PRA"), 44 U.S.C. § 2203(f), and to order defendant "to assume custody and control" of them and deposit them in the Clinton Presidential Library. Plaintiff [*290] contends that defendant has acted arbitrarily and capriciously under the APA by failing to exercise control over the audiotapes and by not making them available in response to a Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") request. Defendant [**2] has moved to dismiss [Dkt. # 6] under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
The Court will grant the motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) because plaintiff's claim is not redressable. NARA does not have the authority to designate materials as "Presidential records," NARA does not have the tapes in question, and NARA lacks any right, duty, or means to seize control of them. In other words, there has been no showing that a remedy would be available to redress plaintiff's alleged injury even if the Court agreed with plaintiff's characterization of the materials. Since plaintiff is completely unable to identify anything the Court could order the agency to do that the agency has any power, much less, a mandatory duty, to do, the case must be dismissed.
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845 F. Supp. 2d 288 *; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26684 **; 2012 WL 662166
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC., Plaintiff, v. NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.
Subsequent History: Appeal dismissed by Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Nat'l Archives & Records Admin., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 17168 (D.C. Cir., Aug. 1, 2012)
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Administrative Law, Governmental Information, Personal Information, Access to Records, Governments, Federal Government, Executive Offices, Recordkeeping & Reporting, Civil Procedure, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Responses, Motions to Dismiss, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Limited Jurisdiction, Pleadings, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint, Justiciability, Standing, General Overview, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Judicial Review, Remedies, Mandamus, Reviewability, Preclusion, Legislation, Interpretation, Agency Investigations, Agency Adjudication, Freedom of Information, Enforcement