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Case TitleCENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2006cv01818
Date Filed2006-10-23
Date Closed2007-08-03
JudgeJudge John D. Bates
PlaintiffCENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY
Case DescriptionThe Center for Public Integrity submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Health and Human Services for records concerning grants, contracts, and agreements made through the agency in relation to President Bush's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The Center also requested inclusion in the news media fee category. The agency told the Center that it did not qualify for the news media fee category. The Center filed an administrative appeal of that denial, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Center for Public Integrity filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Fee Category - Media or Educational, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantU.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Opinion/Order [15]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge John Bates has ruled that the Center for Public Integrity qualifies as a representative of the news media for purposes of receiving preferential fee treatment from the Department of Health and Human Services. CPI requested information concerning the Toxic and Disease Registry in December 2005. In February 2006 it requested information about the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. In response to both requests, the agency declined to either give the organization a fee waiver or recognize it as a representative of the news media. After the agency failed to respond to its administrative appeals within the statutory time limits, CPI filed suit. After examining the criteria for qualifying as a representative of the news media based on both the OMB fee guidelines and the D.C. Circuit's decision in National Security Archive v. Dept. of Defense, 880 F.2d 1381 (D.C. Cir. 1989), Bates indicated that "CPI falls within FOIA's definition of 'representative of the news media.' Each of CPI's requests explained that the information it was seeking would 'serve as the basis for several press releases and articles' similar in nature to previous stories that CPI had written and distributed. . . CPI also indicated that it was comprised of 'investigative journalists' who 'write and post an online newsletter called The Public i, and that the information sought in the FOIA requests would be posted to that newsletter. Furthermore, as part of its administrative appeal, CPI submitted a list of its past publications that had garnered various awards. This information pertaining to CPI's activities, which was part of the record before the agency, is sufficient to qualify CPI as a representative of the news media under the HHS and OMB regulations " CPI has taken, and will continue to take, an active role in disseminating information of current interest to the public." HHS argued that National Security Archive required a "firm intention" to publish or disseminate information and claimed that CPI had not shown such a firm intention. But Bates pointed out that "there is no indication, however, that the court of appeals intended in all circumstances to require a detailed game plan for the publication of information requested through FOIA, particularly for those organizations whose past activities would unambiguously qualify them as members of the news media." HHS tried to analogize CPI's situation to that of Judicial Watch, another public interest organization which had been denied news representative status in the past because its plan to publish information was too vague. Bates noted that "here, in contrast, CPI provided HHS with information detailing is relatively established history of publication activities, as well as its intent to use the information sought in these particular requests 'as the basis for several press releases and articles' similar in nature to its previous reports. The Court does not believe that, in this case, additional detail is necessary with respect to CPI's future publication plans." In an interesting procedural aside, Bates rejected CPI's contention that the entire contents of its website were incorporated by reference into the record. In a footnote, Bates observed that "the mere inclusion of a website address in a FOIA request is not sufficient to render any and all material appearing on that website part of the record before the agency. Only that material provided to or definitively reviewed by the agency can fairly be considered as part of the record. . . Even if the FOIA officer admitted to reviewing portions of a website at some point during agency review, it would be impossible for this Court to know whether the website reconstruction accurately replicates the website as it existed during that review."
Issues: Fee Category - Media or Educational
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2006-10-231COMPLAINT against U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ( Filing fee $ 350 receipt number 139702.)filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(lc, ) (Entered: 10/24/2006)
2006-10-232LCvR 7.1 - CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY (lc, ) (Entered: 10/24/2006)
2006-10-23SUMMONS (3) Issued as to U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (lc, ) (Entered: 10/24/2006)
2006-10-243SUMMONS Returned Executed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the US Attorney on 10/23/2006. (Smith, Peter) Modified on 10/25/2006 (lc, ). (Entered: 10/24/2006)
2006-11-014SUMMONS Returned Executed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES served on 10/27/2006, answer due 11/27/2006., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on Attorney General. Date of Service Upon Attorney General 10/27/2006., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES served on 10/27/2006, answer due 11/27/2006. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit certified mail return receipts)(Smith, Peter) (Entered: 11/01/2006)
2006-11-215FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT against U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY.(nmw, ) (Entered: 11/21/2006)
2006-12-066First MOTION for Extension of Time to Answer or Otherwise Respond to Plaintiff's Complaint by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Johnson, Michelle) (Entered: 12/06/2006)
2006-12-077Memorandum in opposition to re 6 First MOTION for Extension of Time to Answer or Otherwise Respond to Plaintiff's Complaint filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Table of FOIA Cases)(Smith, Peter) (Entered: 12/07/2006)
2006-12-11Upon consideration of 6 defendant's motion for enlargement of time, it is hereby ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED, and it is further ORDERED that defendant shall file a response to plaintiff's complaint by not later than January 10, 2007. No additional extensions of time will be granted, absent consent or extraordinary circumstances. Signed by Judge John D. Bates on 12/11/06. (lcjdb2) (Entered: 12/11/2006)
2006-12-11Set/Reset Deadlines: Answer due by 1/10/2007. (lcjdb2) (Entered: 12/11/2006)
2007-01-108MOTION for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A# 2 Exhibit B# 3 Exhibit C# 4 Exhibit D# 5 Exhibit E# 6 Exhibit F# 7 Exhibit G# 8 Exhibit H)(Johnson, Michelle) (Entered: 01/10/2007)
2007-01-259Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A# 2 Exhibit B# 3 Exhibit C# 4 Exhibit D# 5 Exhibit E# 6 Exhibit F# 7 Exhibit G# 8 Exhibit H)(Smith, Peter) Modified on 1/29/2007 (lc, ). (Entered: 01/26/2007)
2007-01-2610Memorandum in opposition to re 8 MOTION for Summary Judgment Notice only - see Docket No. 9 for text filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Smith, Peter) (Entered: 01/26/2007)
2007-02-0911REPLY to opposition to motion re 8 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, Declaration of Darlene Christian# 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Johnson, Michelle) (Entered: 02/09/2007)
2007-02-0912Memorandum in opposition to re 9 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment (Notice Only -- See Docket # 11 for text) filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Johnson, Michelle) (Entered: 02/09/2007)
2007-02-2213REPLY to opposition to motion re 9 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Sae-Tung Declaration# 2 Exhibit A - Feb 2006 Web pages# 3 Exhibit B - Oct 2006 Web pages)(Smith, Peter) (Entered: 02/22/2007)
2007-08-0314ORDER denying 8 defendant's motion for summary judgment and granting 9 plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. Signed by Judge John D. Bates on 8/3/2007. (lcjdb2) (Entered: 08/03/2007)
2007-08-0315MEMORANDUM OPINION explaining 14 Order denying defendant's motion for summary judgment and granting plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. Signed by Judge John D. Bates on 8/3/2007. (lcjdb2) (Entered: 08/03/2007)
2007-08-1716BILL OF COSTS by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY. (Smith, Peter) (Entered: 08/17/2007)
2007-08-1717Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to Claim Attorneys' Fees by CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Smith, Peter) (Entered: 08/17/2007)
2007-08-20MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 17 plaintiff's unopposed motion for extension of time, it is hereby ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED, and it is further ORDERED that plaintiff shall file a motion for attorneys' fees by not later than October 16, 2007. Signed by Judge John D. Bates on 8/20/2007. (lcjdb2) (Entered: 08/20/2007)
2007-08-20Set/Reset Deadlines: Attorneys' fees motion due by 10/16/2007. (lcjdb2) (Entered: 08/20/2007)
2007-10-0218NOTICE OF APPEAL as to 15 Memorandum & Opinion, 14 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment, by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. Fee Status: No Fee Paid. Parties have been notified. (Johnson, Michelle) (Entered: 10/02/2007)
2007-10-03Transmission of Notice of Appeal and Docket Sheet to US Court of Appeals re 18 Notice of Appeal (lc, ) (Entered: 10/03/2007)
2007-10-17USCA Case Number 07-5332 for 18 Notice of Appeal filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (lc, ) (Entered: 10/17/2007)
2007-11-0519ORDER of USCA (certified copy) as to 18 Notice of Appeal filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES that upon consideration of appellant's motion to dismiss appeal, it is ORDERED that the motion be granted, and this case is hereby dismissed. (kb) (Entered: 11/08/2007)
2010-05-0720BILL OF COSTS AS TAXED by the Clerk in favor of plaintiff CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY in the amount of $350.00 against U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (jwb) (Entered: 05/07/2010)
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by FOIA Project Staff