Saturday, October 29, 2011

Latest Ruling in the Litigation over Privatized Immigrant Detention Centers

Raher v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, Slip Copy, 2011 WL 4832574, No. 03:09–cv–00526–ST (D.Or. Oct. 12, 2011), is a case regarding the contracts for privatized immigrant detention centers.  This ruling was confined to a motion for Rule 11 sanctions against the defendants; the court denied the motions, but previously ruled in favor of the plaintiff on a motion for summary judgment.  Here is the court's introductory overview:

In November 2008, Raher submitted a FOIA request to BOP for five categories of records pertaining to the solicitation, evaluation, and award of contracts by BOP to provide, maintain, and operate private detention facilities for foreign nationals serving criminal sentences imposed by the federal courts. Some of those records were submitted to BOP by Reeves County, Texas.
In July 2009, BOP provided Raher with 17 documents comprising 1,764 pages of contracts awarded by BOP under various solicitations referred to as Criminal Alien Requirement (“CAR”) Phases 1, 2, 5 and 6. BOP redacted information from these documents and provided Raher with an initial Vaughn Index stating various FOIA exemptions for withheld information. In November 2009, after conducting another search, BOP provided Raher with 2,056 additional pages, many of which were redacted, and withheld approximately 6,000 pages. That production was accompanied by a Supplemental Vaughn Index (“First SVI”) stating the basis for withholding 65 documents relating to CAR Phases 5 and 6.
On March 28, 2010, BOP and Raher filed motions for summary judgment. This court denied BOP's motion, deferred Raher's motion, and ordered BOP to submit additional evidence and explanations for withholding responsive documents by November 5, 2010 (docket # 48). On November 3, 2010, this court allowed The GEO Group, Inc. (“GEO”) to intervene (docket # 60).
On November 5, 2010, BOP produced heavily redacted documents and an accompanying Second Supplemental Vaughn Index (“Second SVI”) (docket # 65–1) and Third Supplemental Vaughn Index (“Third SVI”) (docket # 65–2). All parties filed supplemental memoranda and declarations addressing the adequacy of the Second SVI and Third SVI. Among other arguments, BOP and GEO asserted that several documents were exempt under 5 USC § 552(b)(4) (“Exemption 4”) because they contained confidential information, including pricing information.  
On May 24, 2011, the court granted in part Raher's partial motion for summary judgment. Opinion and Order (“May 2011 O & O”) (docket # 130).

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