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Pinnicchia v. United States Department of Veterans Affairs

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 13, 2019

JOHN PINNICCHIA, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, Defendant.

          RULING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         John Pinnicchia sued the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (either the “VA”” or “Defendant”) for declaratory and injunctive relief under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”). Mr. Pinnicchia alleges that the VA has improperly withheld agency records. The VA has moved for summary judgment. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 12.

         For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS the motion for summary judgment, and the VA need not unredact the documents already provided.

         I.FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations

         According to Mr. Pinnicchia, on or about May 25 or 26, 2017, he was falsely accused of job-related impropriety and suspended with pay, pending an investigation. Compl., ECF No. 1, at ¶ 6. According to his FOIA request, Mr. Pinnicchia was informed by Mr. Harry Lovett that he “allegedly threatened” his “immediate supervisor Kevin Tyson.” Martin Decl., Ex. A, ECF No. 13-2. The time and date of the event were not made clear to Mr. Pinnicchia. Id. Mr. Pinnicchia was exonerated by the investigation, but his accuser was never identified. Compl., at ¶ 6.

         On June 2, 2017, Mr. Pinnicchia requested “any and all police reports or police logs relating to this incident.” Martin Decl., Ex. A., ECF No. 13-2; Compl., at ¶ 7.

         On June 14, 2017, Veteran Affairs provided Mr. Pinnicchia with a redacted police report. Id. at ¶ 8. The initial agency decision noted that “all personal, names and identifying information of the other parties have been redacted.” Martin Aff., Ex. C, ECF No. 13-4. The VA's General Counsel later affirmed the decision to redact the personally identifiable information on Mr. Pinnicchia's appeal. Id. at ¶¶ 9-10, Ex. 1.

         B. Procedural History

         On December 21, 2017, Mr. Pinnicchia filed this Complaint against the Department of Veterans Affairs for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, costs, and attorney's fees under FOIA. ECF No. 1. On January 29, 2018, the VA answered the Complaint. ECF No. 11.

         On July 13, 2018, the VA moved for summary judgment. ECF No. 12.

         On July 22, 2018, Mr. Pinnicchia filed a memorandum in opposition to summary judgment. ECF No. 17.

         On August 6, 2018, the VA replied to Mr. Pinnicchia 's response. ECF No. 18.

         On March 6, 2019, the Court held a hearing on the VA's ...


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