United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
is self-represented Plaintiff Michael Scott's Complaint
seeking judicial review of a determination of his request for
records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C.
§552. Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss the
Complaint as moot or unexhausted pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(1). (ECF No. 16). Scott filed an opposition. (ECF No.
18). The parties' submissions have been reviewed and no
hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.
2018). For the following reasons, the Motion to Dismiss is
who was convicted of second-degree murder and a related
handgun charge following a jury trial in the Circuit Court
for Prince George's County Maryland, began service of an
aggregate term of 25 years' incarceration on December 2,
2002. See State v. Scott, Criminal Case No.
CT01-1594X (Cir. Ct. Prince George's Cty.
2002). He is currently incarcerated at the
Maryland Correctional Training Center in Hagerstown,
March 9, 2018, Scott initiated this action by filing a
Complaint seeking the "whole police and prosecutor case
file" from a criminal case in the Superior Court of the
District of Columbia and damages of $5, 000. (ECF No. 1 at p.
Scott alleges that Stephen D. Gary, "the state's key
witness." testified against him in exchange for a
reduction in the drug distribution charges he was facing in
United States v. Gary, Case F. 7820-01 (D.C. Sup.
Ct). (ECF No. 1 at 2). Scott claims the records he seeks are
Brady  material not disclosed at trial.
motion under Rule 12(b)(1) challenges the Court's
subject-matter jurisdiction to hear a case. This challenge
proceeds "in one of two ways," Kerns v. United
States, 585 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009). "First,
the defendant may contend 'that [the] complaint simply
fails to allege facts upon which subject matter jurisdiction
can be based.'" Id. (quoting Adams v. Bain,
697 F.2d 1213, 1219 (4th Cir. 1982)). Second, "the
defendant can contend...'that the jurisdictional
allegations of the complaint [are] not true.'"
Id. (alteration in original) (quoting
Adams, 697 F.2d at 1219). The plaintiff bears the
burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction by a
preponderance of the evidence. Demetres v. East West
Const., Inc., 776 F.3d 271, 272 (4th Cir. 2015).
facial challenge, a court will dismiss the complaint
"where a claim fails to allege facts upon which the
court may base jurisdiction." Davis, 367
F.Supp.2d at 799. Where the challenge is factual, "the
district court is entitled to decide disputed issues of fact
with respect to subject matter jurisdiction."
Kerns, 585 F.3d at 192. "[T]he court may look
beyond the pleadings and 'the jurisdictional allegations
of the complaint and view whatever evidence has been
submitted on the issue to determine whether in fact subject
matter jurisdiction exists."' Khoury v.
Meserve, 268 F.Supp.2d 600, 606 (D, Md. 2003) (citation
omitted). The court "may regard the pleadings as mere
evidence on the issue and may consider evidence outside the
pleadings without converting the proceeding to one for
summary judgment." Velasco v. Gov't of
Indon., 370 F.3d 392, 398 (4th Cir. 2004).
argues that Scott's claims are unexhausted and must be
dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. (ECF No.
16 n. 2, 3). Further, Defendant asserts that because the
documents responsive to his 2017 FOIA request have been made
available to Scott, this matter is no longer justiciable and
should be dismissed as moot. (Id. at ¶¶
purpose of FOIA is to open government agency action to public
scrutiny. See NLRB v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 421
U.S. 132, 149 (1975). Under the FOIA statute, federal
agencies must make available promptly records upon request
and where the agency receives reasonable description of the
records sought, in accordance with the agency's published
rules. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(3)(A); Pollack
v. Department of Justice A9 F.3d 115, 118 (4th Cir.
1995). FOIA provides that, subject to certain statutory
exemptions, federal agencies shall "upon any request for
records which reasonably describe such records . . . make the
records promptly available to any person." 5 U.S.C.
§ 522(a)(3)(A). "[T]he burden is on the government
to demonstrate that it has thoroughly searched for the
requested documents where they might reasonably be
found." Krikorian v. Department of Stale, 984
F.2d 461, 468 (D.C.Cir.1993); accord Moffat v. U.S.
Dep't of Justice, 716 F.3d 244, 254 (2013). However,
the agency is not obligated to look beyond the four corners
of the request or otherwise speculate about potential leads;
rather, “[t]he adequacy of an agency's
search is measured by a standard of reasonableness."
McGehee v. CIA, 697 F.2d 1095, 1100-01 (D.C.Cir.
1983); see Morley v. CIA., 508 F.3d 1108,
1114 (D.C. Cir. 2007); Kowalczyk v. Dep't of
Justice, 73 F.3d 386, 389 (D.C. Cir. 1996).
lawsuit for release of documents under FOIA, “[o]nce
the records are produced, the substance of the controversy
disappears and becomes moot since the disclosure which the
suit seeks has already been made." Jacobs v. Fed.
Bureau of Prisons, 725 F.Supp.2d 85, 89 (D. D.C. 2010)
(quoting Crooker v. U.S. State Dep't, 628 F.2d
9, 10 (D.C. Cir. 1980)); see also Morales v. Pension Ben.
Guar. Corp.. Civ. Case No. L 10-1167, 2012 WL 253407, at
*4 (D. Md. Jan. 26, 2012) ("A FOIA action becomes moot
when, during the pendency of a lawsuit seeking the disclosure
of document, the requester is provided with all documents
responsive to his request."); Regional Mgmt. Corp.
v. Legal Servs. Corp.. 186 F.3d 457. 465 (4th Cir.