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Case TitleAmerican Civil Liberties Union of Northern California et al v. United States Department of Defense et al
DistrictNorthern District of California
CitySan Francisco
Case Number3:2006cv01698
Date Filed2006-03-07
Date Closed2006-05-25
JudgeHon. William Alsup
PlaintiffAmerican Civil Liberties Union of Northern California
PlaintiffSan Francisco Bay Guardian
PlaintiffUniversity of California Santa Cruz Students Against War
PlaintiffBerkeley Stop the War Coalition
Case DescriptionThe ACLU of Northern California and the San Francisco Guardian submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Defense for records concerning the TALON surveillance program and surveillance of several anti-war groups at the University of California. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and indicated that the request had been referred to various components for processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the ACLU of Northern California and the San Francisco Guardian filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Expedited processing, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantUnited States Department of Defense and its components
DefendantDepartment of the Army
DefendantDepartment of the Navy
DefendantDepartment of the Air Force
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Opinion/Order [3]
Opinion/Order [14]
Opinion/Order [23]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in California has told the Defense Department that it must grant expedited processing to a request filed by the ACLU of Northern California, the Bay Guardian, and several anti-war groups for information about the agency's TALON program involving surveillance of legal protests, a story that was the subject of a number of news articles. The agency denied the groups' request for expedited processing, noting that "the information that you have requested is not the subject of a breaking news story because, as you have demonstrated, the subject of your request has already been addressed in several news articles from around the country." Judge William Alsup disagreed with this interpretation, pointing out that "at the time of the request, operation of the TALON system, particularly its collection of information on political protests, was a breaking news story. A breaking news story is one that conveys information the public wants quickly. If the story would lose value if it were delayed, it is a breaking news story. Plaintiffs therefore had an 'urgency to inform the public.'" Alsup also indicated that expedited processing "might be valuable to would-be protesters and opposition groups. It might help them decide how to express their political viewpoints. . .Defendants do not dispute that some people might have used the requested information to decide whether to engage in protests." He then explained in greater detail why the agency's claim that the story was no longer breaking news because it had already been covered was fallacious. He observed that "this fact would eliminate urgency only if all major news on the TALON program had been reported, i.e., if there were nothing more to say. In fact, valuable, time-sensitive information apparently remained unknown at the time of plaintiffs' request. . .If anything, extensive media interest usually is a fact supporting not negating urgency in the processing of FOIA requests." He also rejected the agency's argument that the story was no longer of urgency because it had taken steps to rectify the problems caused by the surveillance program. He noted that "Plaintiffs nevertheless had an urgent need to report the extent to which reports were improperly gathered and the identities of any agencies with whom the reports were shared. The need to gather information might have been more urgent if the Pentagon had not taken the steps it did. But those steps by themselves could not eliminate the urgency."
Issues: Expedited processing - Compelling Need
Opinion/Order [27]
Opinion/Order [28]
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2006-03-071COMPLAINT FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF against United States Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force ( Filing fee $ 250, receipt number 3382680.). Filed byUniversity of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/7/2006) Additional attachment(s) added on 3/10/2006 (sis, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 03/10/2006)
2006-03-07Summons Issued as to United States Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force. (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/7/2006) (Entered: 03/10/2006)
2006-03-072ADR SCHEDULING ORDER: Case Management Statement due by 5/25/2006. Case Management Conference set for 6/8/2006 11:00 AM. (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/7/2006) (Entered: 03/10/2006)
2006-03-073SUPPLEMENTAL ORDER TO ORDER SETTING INITIAL CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE re 2 ADR Scheduling Order (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/7/2006) (Entered: 03/10/2006)
2006-03-07CASE DESIGNATED for Electronic Filing. (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/7/2006) (Entered: 03/10/2006)
2006-03-134CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian re 1 Complaint,, Summons (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 3/13/2006) (Entered: 03/13/2006)
2006-04-075NOTICE of Appearance by Samuel C. Kaplan (Kaplan, Samuel) (Filed on 4/7/2006) (Entered: 04/07/2006)
2006-04-076ANSWER to Complaint byUnited States Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force. (Kaplan, Samuel) (Filed on 4/7/2006) (Entered: 04/07/2006)
2006-04-137MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. Motion Hearing set for 5/18/2006 08:00 AM in Courtroom 9, 19th Floor, San Francisco. (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 4/13/2006) (Entered: 04/13/2006)
2006-04-138Declaration in Support of 7 MOTION for Summary Judgment of Mark Schlosberg filed byUniversity of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Exhibit 1# 2 Exhibit Exhibit 3# 3 Exhibit Exhibit 4# 4 Exhibit Exhibit 5# 5 Exhibit Exhibit 6# 6 Exhibit Exhibit 7# 7 Exhibit Exhibit 8)(Related document(s) 7 ) (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 4/13/2006) (Entered: 04/13/2006)
2006-04-139NOTICE OF MANUAL FILING re: Exhibit 2 to Schlosberg Declaration filed by University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 4/13/2006) Modified on 4/14/2006 (sis, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 04/13/2006)
2006-04-1310Proposed Order re 7 MOTION for Summary Judgment, 8 Declaration in Support,,, 9 Exhibits, by University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 4/13/2006) (Entered: 04/13/2006)
2006-04-1311EXHIBIT 2 re 8 Declaration in Support, filed byUniversity of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Related document(s) 8 ) (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/13/2006) (Entered: 04/14/2006)
2006-04-1312CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian re 11 Exhibits, (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/13/2006) (Entered: 04/14/2006)
2006-04-2813STIPULATION and Request to Extend Time to File Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment By One Week and To Extend Disclosure and Initial Case Management Deadlines by University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, United States Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Kaplan, Samuel) (Filed on 4/28/2006) (Entered: 04/28/2006)
2006-05-0114ORDER GRANTING IN PART STIPULATION TO CONTINUE HEARING AND CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE AND EXTENDING INITIAL DEADLINES re 13 Stipulation filed by United States Department of Defense, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian, University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition]. Signed by Judge William Alsup on 5/1/2006. (whasec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/1/2006) (Entered: 05/01/2006)
2006-05-01Set/Reset Deadlines as to 7 MOTION for Summary Judgment. Motion Hearing set for 5/25/2006 08:00 AM in Courtroom 9, 19th Floor, San Francisco. (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/1/2006) (Entered: 05/11/2006)
2006-05-01Set Deadlines/Hearings: Case Management Statement due by 6/22/2006. Case Management Conference set for 6/29/2006 11:00 AM. (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/1/2006) (Entered: 05/11/2006)
2006-05-0515Memorandum in Opposition re 7 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed byUnited States Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Lieutenant Commander Nieva Brock, JAGC, USN# 2 Declaration of William T. Kammer# 3 Declaration of Anne C. Costa)(Kaplan, Samuel) (Filed on 5/5/2006) (Entered: 05/05/2006)
2006-05-0516Proposed Order re 15 Memorandum in Opposition, by United States Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force. (Kaplan, Samuel) (Filed on 5/5/2006) (Entered: 05/05/2006)
2006-05-1117Reply Memorandum re 7 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed byUniversity of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 5/11/2006) (Entered: 05/11/2006)
2006-05-1118Declaration in Support of 17 Reply Memorandum, Supplemental Declaration of Mark Schlosberg filed byUniversity of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A# 2 Exhibit B# 3 Exhibit C# 4 Exhibit D)(Related document(s) 17 ) (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 5/11/2006) (Entered: 05/11/2006)
2006-05-1119OBJECTIONS to re 17 Reply Memorandum, Objection to Declaration of William T. Kammer by University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 5/11/2006) (Entered: 05/11/2006)
2006-05-1820ADR Certification (ADR L.R. 3-5b) of discussion of ADR options (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 5/18/2006) (Entered: 05/18/2006)
2006-05-1921ADR Certification (ADR L.R. 3-5b) of discussion of ADR options (Kaplan, Samuel) (Filed on 5/19/2006) (Entered: 05/19/2006)
2006-05-2322NOTICE of Appearance by Samuel C. Kaplan of Daniel J. Davis (Kaplan, Samuel) (Filed on 5/23/2006) (Entered: 05/23/2006)
2006-05-2523ORDER by Judge Alsup granting 7 Motion for Summary Judgment (whalc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/25/2006) (Entered: 05/25/2006)
2006-05-2524JUDGMENT in favor of American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian, University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War and Berkeley Stop the War Coalition against Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force. Signed by Judge Alsup on 5/25/06. (whalc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/25/2006) (Entered: 05/25/2006)
2006-05-2525Minute Entry: Motion Hearing held on 5/25/2006 before William Alsup (Date Filed: 5/25/2006) re 7 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian, University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition. (Court Reporter Kathy Wyatt.) (dt, COURT STAFF) (Date Filed: 5/25/2006) (Entered: 05/25/2006)
2006-05-3126STIPULATION and [Proposed] Order Extending Time to File Post-Judgment Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Expenses by University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 5/31/2006) (Entered: 05/31/2006)
2006-06-0127STIPULATION AND ORDER EXTENDING TIME TO FILE POST-JUDGMENT MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AND EXPENSES. Signed by Judge Alsup on 6/1/06. (whalc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/1/2006) (Entered: 06/01/2006)
2006-06-0528ORDER RE ATTORNEY'S FEES. Signed by Judge Alsup on 6/5/06. (whalc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/5/2006) (Entered: 06/05/2006)
2006-06-2929MOTION for Attorney Fees Re: Plaintiffs' Entitlement to Attorney's Fees and Expenses filed by University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. Motion Hearing set for 8/17/2006 08:00 AM in Courtroom 9, 19th Floor, San Francisco. (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 6/29/2006) (Entered: 06/29/2006)
2006-06-2930Declaration of Mark Schlosberg in Support of 29 MOTION for Attorney Fees Re: Plaintiffs' Entitlement to Attorney's Fees and Expenses filed byUniversity of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 to Schlosberg Fees Declaration# 2 Exhibit 2 to Schlosberg Fees Declaration)(Related document(s) 29 ) (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 6/29/2006) (Entered: 06/29/2006)
2006-06-2931Proposed Order re 29 MOTION for Attorney Fees Re: Plaintiffs' Entitlement to Attorney's Fees and Expenses by University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 6/29/2006) (Entered: 06/29/2006)
2006-07-1232STIPULATION re 29 MOTION for Attorney Fees Re: Plaintiffs' Entitlement to Attorney's Fees and Expenses by United States Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit of Samuel C. Kaplan)(Kaplan, Samuel) (Filed on 7/12/2006) (Entered: 07/12/2006)
2006-07-2433NOTICE OF APPEAL as to 23 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment, 24 Judgment, by United States Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force. (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/24/2006) (Entered: 07/25/2006)
2006-07-25Copy of Notice of Appeal and Docket sheet mailed to all counsel (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/25/2006) (Entered: 07/25/2006)
2006-07-25Transmission of Notice of Appeal and Docket Sheet to US Court of Appeals re 33 Notice of Appeal (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/25/2006) (Entered: 07/25/2006)
2006-08-0934Memorandum in Opposition re 29 MOTION for Attorney Fees Re: Plaintiffs' Entitlement to Attorney's Fees and Expenses filed byUnited States Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, Department of the Air Force. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - Second Declaration of William T. Kammer# 2 Exhibit 1 (Attachment A)# 3 Exhibit 1 (Attachment B - Part I)# 4 Exhibit 1 (Attachment B - Part II)# 5 Exhibit 1 (Attachment C)# 6 Exhibit 1 (Attachment D)# 7 Exhibit 2 - Second Declaration of Lieutenant Commander Nieva M.S. Brock# 8 Exhibit 3 - Second Declaration of Anne C. Costa)(Kaplan, Samuel) (Filed on 8/9/2006) (Entered: 08/09/2006)
2006-08-3035STIPULATION re 29 MOTION for Attorney Fees Re: Plaintiffs' Entitlement to Attorney's Fees and Expenses Stipulation Settling Claim for Attorney's Fees and Expenses; Order by University of California Santa Cruz Students Against War, Berkeley Stop the War Coalition, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, San Francisco Bay Guardian. (Sitkin, Lisa) (Filed on 8/30/2006) (Entered: 08/30/2006)
2006-09-0536ORDER AND STIPULATION SETTLING CLAIM FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AND EXPENSES by Judge Alsup settling 29 Motion for Attorney Fees (whalc2, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/5/2006) (Entered: 09/05/2006)
2006-09-0837MANDATE of USCA - Motion for Voluntary Dismissal is Granted as to 33 Notice of Appeal filed by United States Department of Defense,, Department of the Air Force,, Department of the Army,, Department of the Navy, (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/8/2006) (Entered: 09/11/2006)
2006-09-1138CLERKS Letter Spreading Mandate to Counsel (sis, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/11/2006) (Entered: 09/11/2006)
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by FOIA Project Staff