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Case TitleCITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON v. U. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2007cv01620
Date Filed2007-09-13
Date Closed2008-03-10
JudgeJudge Rosemary M. Collyer
PlaintiffCITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON
Case DescriptionCitizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning contacts with certain individuals or entities pertaining to a congressional inquiry into the firing of U.S. Attorneys. CREW also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency denied CREW's request for expedited processing. CREW filed an administrative appeal of the agency's denial of its request for expedited processing. However, after hearing nothing further from the agency, CREW filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Expedited processing, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantU. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Opinion/Order [10]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Rosemary Collyer has ruled that the Justice Department conducted an adequate search for records concerning any email contacts Department staff had with political consultant Mark McKinnon pertaining to his offer to devise a media strategy concerning the firings of U.S. Attorneys. Responding to a FOIA request from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the Office of Information and Privacy conducted a search of both current and former employees' email records. The search produced no records. CREW questioned the adequacy of the search, arguing that it could not tell what specific files were searched, how many files were searched, or what specific former employee's files were searched. Collyer disagreed, noting instead that "DOJ in fact identified the files searched " the email files of all current employees in the Office of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, and Associate Attorney General and the email files of former employees most likely to have records responsive to the request. CREW asked for email; obviously, the files searched were email files. There is no need for further specificity." CREW also argued that the agency had failed to identify the actual terms used by agency employees in conducting the search. Again, Collyer rejected the claim, pointing out that "CREW's FOIA request sought email messages between Mark McKinnon, Maverick Media, Inc., and Public Strategies, Inc. and any current or former DOJ employee concerning any aspect of the Congressional inquiry into the firings of U.S. Attorneys. [The agency's] declaration must be accorded 'a presumption of good faith, which cannot be rebutted by purely speculative claims about the existence and discoverability of other documents.' CREW has not presented any claim that would rebut this presumption of good faith."
Issues: Adequacy - Search
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2007-09-131COMPLAINT against U. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ( Filing fee $ 350, receipt number 4616006797) filed by CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON. (Attachments: # 1 Attachments# 2 Civil Cover Sheet)(tg, ) (Entered: 09/14/2007)
2007-09-132LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON (tg, ) (Entered: 09/14/2007)
2007-09-13Summons (3) Issued as to U. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE., SUMMONS Issued as to U. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (tg, ) (Entered: 09/14/2007)
2007-10-093Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File a Response to the Complaint by U. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(McBarnette, Andrea) (Entered: 10/09/2007)
2007-10-11MINUTE ENTRY ORDER granting 3 Defendant's Motion for Extension of Time to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint. Defendant shall file an answer or other response no later than November 14, 2007. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 10/11/07. (KD) (Entered: 10/11/2007)
2007-10-11Set Deadlines/Hearings: Answer to complaint due by 11/14/2007. (cdw) (Entered: 10/16/2007)
2007-11-144NOTICE of Subtitution of Counsel by Michael P. Abate on behalf of U. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Substituting for attorney Andrea McBarnette (Abate, Michael) (Entered: 11/14/2007)
2007-11-145MOTION to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment by U. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts # 2 Declaration of Melanie Pustay# 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Abate, Michael) (Entered: 11/14/2007)
2007-11-146MOTION for Summary Judgment by U. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (tg, ) (See Docket Entry 5 to view document). (Entered: 11/15/2007)
2007-11-207Joint MOTION for Extension of Time to file Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, for Summary Judgment and Defendant's Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition by CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Perkins, Kimberly) (Entered: 11/20/2007)
2007-11-26MINUTE ENTRY ORDER granting 7 the parties' joint Motion for Extension of Time to file briefs. Plaintiff's response to 5 Defendant's motion to dismiss and 6 Defendant's motion for summary judgment shall be filed no later than December 5, 2007 and Defendant may file a reply no later than January 4, 2008. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 11/26/07. (KD) (Entered: 11/26/2007)
2007-11-26Set Deadlines/Hearings: Plaintiff's response to 5 , 6 due by 12/5/2007. Defendant's reply 5 , 6 by 1/4/2008. (cdw) (Entered: 11/27/2007)
2007-12-048Memorandum in opposition to re 6 MOTION for Summary Judgment, 5 MOTION to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment filed by CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Perkins, Kimberly) (Entered: 12/04/2007)
2008-01-049REPLY to opposition to motion re 5 MOTION to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for 6 Summary Judgment filed by U. S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Abate, Michael) Modified to correct linkage on 1/7/2008 (tg, ). (Entered: 01/04/2008)
2008-03-1010MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 3/10/08. (KD) (Entered: 03/10/2008)
2008-03-1011ORDER granting 5 Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment. This case is dismissed and closed. Signed by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer on 3/10/08. (KD) (Entered: 03/10/2008)
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by FOIA Project Staff
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