Weise v. Federal Bureau of Investigation

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OMAR WEISE, Plaintiff, Civil Action No. 1:20-cv-2572 (JMC) v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, et al., Defendants. MEMORANDUM OPINION Omar Weise, representing himself pro se, alleges that he sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).1 After months passed without receiving a response, Weise filed suit in this Court. Weise named three of these four entities in his Amended Complaint as Defendants: the FBI, DOJ, and USMS. ECF 13. These three Defendants filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss, arguing that any claims Weise meant to bring against ICE should be dismissed because he failed to name them as a Defendant. ECF 15-1. The Court denies Defendants’ Partial Motion to Dismiss. Minor pleading defects by a pro se plaintiff do not warrant dismissal of the underlying claims when the plaintiff attempted to rectify their errors and caused no prejudice to defendants. Instead, the Court construes Weise’s Response to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss as a Motion to Amend and grants Weise leave to amend his 1 Unless otherwise indicated, the formatting of citations has been modified throughout this opinion, for example, by omitting internal quotation marks, emphases, citations, and alterations and by altering capitalization. All pincites to documents filed on the docket in this case are to the automatically generated ECF Page ID number that appears at the top of each page. 1 complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2). Weise’s Second Amended Complaint, due on November 23, 2022, should name all the defendants he is suing, and which documents he hopes to get from each Defendant. I. BACKGROUND Weise alleges that in January 2019 he submitted a request to the FBI seeking records related to his 2013 arrest. ECF 13 at 8–9. The FBI responded, stating that it had identified 23,734 documents possibly relevant to Weise’s request; according to Weise, production of these records would cost $1,186.70. Id. at 9. Weise was concerned that the FBI would redact large portions of these documents, leaving too little information remaining to justify the cost. Id. at 9–10. So on June 10, 2019, he modified his request to ask for only “the equivalent of $5.00 or 100 pages for free.” Id. at 10. When the FBI still did not respond to his modified request, Weise filed suit in this Court on September 8, 2020. ECF 1. The FBI answered Weise’s Complaint on January 14, 2021. ECF 9. About a month later, on February 25, 2021, Weise requested leave to file an amended complaint; he also wanted to litigate factually similar claims against the DOJ, USMS, and ICE. ECF 11 at 3–4. The FBI did not oppose Weise’s motion but offered two notes in response. The FBI told Weise that it planned to produce records responsive to Weise’s request for “the equivalent of $5.00 or 100 pages for free,” and observed that Weise had …

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