Kowack v. United States Forest Serv.

Plaintiff, a teacher in the United States Forest Service’s Job Corps Program, filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain records pertaining to an investigation into misconduct allegations. The Forest Service located responsive pages but withheld almost half of them under the personal privacy exemption. An administrative appeal resulted in the disclosure of 188 pages of heavily-redacted documents. Plaintiff filed suit, challenging the redactions. The district court ordered the Forest Service to create a Vaughn index describing each document and explaining why each document was exempt from disclosure. The Ninth Circuit reversed in part and remanded with instructions to order the government to produce a more detailed Vaughn index with regard to two categories of documents, and if that was not sufficient, to conduct an in camera review. The Court held that the remaining redactions were proper. View "Kowack v. United States Forest Serv." on Justia Law