Archive: February 10, 2011

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“[M]etadata Maintained by the Agency as a Part of an Electronic Record is Presumptively Producible under FOIA, Unless the Agency Demonstrates that such Metadata is Not ‘Readily Reproducible.'”

“[M]etadata Maintained by the Agency as a Part of an Electronic Record is Presumptively Producible under FOIA, Unless the Agency Demonstrates that such Metadata is Not ‘Readily Reproducible.'”

Nat’l Day Laborer Org. Network v. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, 2011 WL 381625 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 7, 2011)

In this Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) action, a dispute arose regarding the proper format of production and, in particular, whether metadata was subject to production pursuant to plaintiffs’ FOIA requests.  Following substantial analysis of the issue, the court held that “certain metadata is an integral or intrinsic part of an electronic record” and, as such, is “‘readily reproducible’ in the FOIA context.”  (FOIA provides that “[i]n making any record available to a person under this paragraph, an agency shall provide the record in any form or format requested by the person if the record is readily reproducible by the agency in that form or format.”  (Emphasis added.))  Addressing the question of which types of metadata are an intrinsic part of an electronic record, the court acknowledged that the answer “depends, in part, on the type of electronic record at issue . . . and on how the agency maintains its records” and determined that “the best way I can answer the question is that metadata maintained by an agency as part of an electronic record is presumptively producible under FOIA, unless the agency demonstrates that such metadata is not ‘readily reproducible.’”

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