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Case TitleThe New York Times Company et al v. United States Department of Homeland Security
DistrictSouthern District of New York
CityFoley Square
Case Number1:2012cv08100
Date Filed2012-11-07
Date Closed2013-06-17
JudgeJudge Shira A. Scheindlin
PlaintiffThe New York Times Company
PlaintiffMaria Sacchetti
DefendantUnited States Department of Homeland Security
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Opinion/Order [12]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in New York has ruled that the Department of Homeland Security has not shown that the privacy interests of aliens who were released from detention after having been held for six months with no showing of likely removal in the foreseeable future outweigh the public interest in monitoring the agency's performance in identifying and releasing such aliens, a policy mandated by the Supreme Court's decision in Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678 (2001). Boston Globe reporter Maria Sacchetti contended that the information about crimes committed by the aliens and their deportation status was already publicly available. But, recognizing that the aliens had a privacy interest under Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records) in the disclosure of a comprehensive list, Judge Shira Scheindlin noted that "here, too, there is a difference between the 'practical obscurity' of the existence of public records regarding individuals' prior convictions, and records regarding immigration status, which may be obtained with some effort, and the release of a spreadsheet compiled by [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] containing a variety of information about an individual including criminal convictions, status as an illegal immigrant, some information about that individual's current location, and the fact that he or she has not been deported." She then turned to the public interest in disclosure. She pointed out that "plaintiffs do not assert a direct public interest in knowing the names of individuals being released pursuant to Zadvydas. Rather, they argue that disclosure of the names of the Released Individuals would permit them to obtain information that 'would shed further light on critical aspects of the government's handling of its removal duties.'" Scheindlin indicated that the Second Circuit had considered and rejected a derivative use argument in Associated Press v. Dept of Defense, 554 F.3d 274 (2nd Cir. 2009)â€"information obtained as a result of information contained in government recordsâ€"but did not foreclose the theory altogether. However, in this case, Scheindlin found the way Sacchetti intended to use the information enhanced the public interest in disclosure. She noted that "plaintiffs do not propose to contact the individuals in furtherance of their investigation. . .Rather, plaintiffs argue that disclosure of individual names would permit 'monitoring of whether repeat offenders are on the list' and 'identif[ication] through public court documents [of] those countries with a track record of avoiding or resisting repatriations.'" Ruling that the list should be disclosed, Scheindlin observed that "plaintiffs have established that they would use the individual names in combination with other public information to draw conclusions about the performance of the DHSâ€"information which the government agency, for whatever reason, is disinclined to disclose on its own."
Issues: Exemption 6 - Invasion of privacy
Opinion/Order [16]
FOIA Project Annotation: The court found the government's failure to file its motion to appeal the court's adverse ruling on time because the electronic system did not properly register the filing was a matter that was in the government's control and could not be excused. The court, therefore, denied the government motion.
Issues: Housekeeping
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2012-11-071COMPLAINT against United States Department of Homeland Security. (Filing Fee $ 350.00, Receipt Number 465401052196)Document filed by The New York Times Company, Maria Sacchetti.(msa) (Entered: 11/15/2012)
2012-11-07SUMMONS ISSUED as to United States Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General. (msa) (Entered: 11/15/2012)
2012-11-07Magistrate Judge James L. Cott is so designated. (msa) (Entered: 11/15/2012)
2012-11-07Case Designated ECF. (msa) (Entered: 11/15/2012)
2012-12-202ANSWER to 1 Complaint. Document filed by United States Department of Homeland Security.(Phillips, Cristine) (Entered: 12/20/2012)
2012-12-213ENDORSED LETTER addressed to Judge Shira A. Scheindlin from Cristine Irvin Phillips dated 12/20/2012 re: Counsels jointly submit this letter with Plaintiffs New York Times Co. and Maria Sacchetti ("Plaintiffs") to request a pre-motion conference in anticipation of the parties' submission of cross-motions for summary judgment. ENDORSEMENT: There is no need for a pre motion conference. The defendant will move for Summary Judgment on January 29, 2013. Plaintiff's opposition and cross motion are due February 22, 2013. The defendant's reply and response is due March 19, 2013 and Plaintiff's reply is due March 29. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin on 12/21/2012) (ft) (Entered: 01/03/2013)
2012-12-21Set/Reset Deadlines: Cross Motions due by 2/22/2013. Motions due by 1/29/2013. Responses due by 3/19/2013. Replies due by 3/29/2013. (ft) Modified on 1/7/2013 (ft). (Entered: 01/03/2013)
2012-12-21Set/Reset Deadlines: Replies due by 3/29/2012. (ft) (Entered: 01/07/2013)
2013-01-294MOTION for Summary Judgment. Document filed by United States Department of Homeland Security. Responses due by 2/22/2013(Phillips, Cristine) (Entered: 01/29/2013)
2013-01-295MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: 4 MOTION for Summary Judgment.. Document filed by United States Department of Homeland Security. (Phillips, Cristine) (Entered: 01/29/2013)
2013-01-296DECLARATION of Ryan Law in Support re: 4 MOTION for Summary Judgment.. Document filed by United States Department of Homeland Security. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Exhibit E, # 6 Exhibit F)(Phillips, Cristine) (Entered: 01/29/2013)
2013-02-227CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment. Document filed by Maria Sacchetti, The New York Times Company. Responses due by 3/19/2013(McCraw, David) (Entered: 02/22/2013)
2013-02-228MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: 7 CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment.. Document filed by Maria Sacchetti, The New York Times Company. (McCraw, David) (Entered: 02/22/2013)
2013-02-229DECLARATION of Maria Sacchetti in Support re: 7 CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment.. Document filed by Maria Sacchetti, The New York Times Company. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit B and C, # 2 Exhibit D, E, and F)(McCraw, David) (Entered: 02/22/2013)
2013-03-1910MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Opposition re: 7 CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment. and in Further Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment . Document filed by United States Department of Homeland Security. (Phillips, Cristine) (Entered: 03/19/2013)
2013-03-2911REPLY MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: 7 CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment.. Document filed by Maria Sacchetti, The New York Times Company. (McCraw, David) (Entered: 03/29/2013)
2013-06-1312OPINION AND ORDER re: 4 MOTION for Summary Judgment, filed by United States Department of Homeland Security, 7 CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment, filed by The New York Times Company, Maria Sacchetti. For the foregoing reasons, summary judgment is granted in Plaintiffs' favor and DRS is ordered to disclose the names of the Released Individuals. The Clerk of the Court is directed to close these motions (Docket Nos. 4 and 7) and this case. (Signed by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin on 6/13/2013) (ja) (Entered: 06/14/2013)
2013-06-13Transmission to Judgments and Orders Clerk. Transmitted re: 12 Opinion and Order to the Judgments and Orders Clerk. (ja) (Entered: 06/14/2013)
2013-06-1713CLERK'S JUDGMENT That for the reasons stated in the Court's Opinion and Order dated June 13, 2013, summary judgment is granted in Plaintiffs' favor and DHS is ordered to disclose the names of the Released Individuals; accordingly, the case is closed. (Signed by Clerk of Court Ruby Krajick on 6/17/13) (Attachments: # 1 Notice of Right to Appeal)(ml) (Entered: 06/17/2013)
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by FOIA Project Staff