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Case TitleSHAPIRO v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2013cv00729
Date Filed2013-05-20
Date Closed2017-04-20
JudgeJudge Paul L. Friedman
PlaintiffRYAN NOAH SHAPIRO
DefendantDEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
AppealD.C. Circuit 17-5122
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Opinion/Order [18]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Paul Friedman has ruled that the FBI properly withheld personal information from records pertaining to investigations of Aaron Swartz under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy) and Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), but that it has not adequately explained why it limited its search to records concerning the government's investigation of Swartz. Ryan Shapiro requested all the agency's records on Swartz, and after conducting an index search, the agency located 23 pages that had been released as the result of a previous FOIA request. The agency disclosed four pages entirely, redacted 17 pages, and withheld four pages because they were duplicates. Friedman agreed with the agency that its redactions of names and contact information for FBI employees, third parties, and a non-FBI federal employee were appropriate under the privacy exemptions. The agency contended that it had properly interpreted Shapiro's request as confined to criminal investigations of Swartz. Friedman disagreed and ordered the agency "to consider whether responsive records would reasonably reside outside the Central Records System and either perform any additional appropriate searches in databases or records systems outside the CRS or explain why additional searches would not be appropriate." The agency defended its decision to conduct an index search rather than a full-text search by stating that a full-text search was not warranted. But Friedman pointed out that "although the Court recognizes that a full-text search may not be warranted in every case, it finds the FBI's explanation as to why it was unwarranted here to be lacking." Friedman also questioned the agency's decision concerning the cut-off date for the search, which did not pick up other FOIA requests for Swartz's records submitted after Shapiro's request was received. Friedman observed that "in the present case, the FBI has not informed the plaintiff or the Court what the cut-off date was or whether the third-party requests were received after the processing of plaintiff's request. The Court therefore is unable to determine whether the FBI's decision to withhold the third-party requests is a reasonable one."
Issues: Adequacy - Search, Exemption 6 - Invasion of privacy, Exemption 7(C) - Invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records
Opinion/Order [38]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Paul Friedman has ruled that the FBI has now conducted an adequate search for records concerning FOIA requests the agency received pertaining to Aaron Swartz, but that it has not sufficiently explained claims under Exemption 3 (other statutes) and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques) the agency made in regard to 32 of 68 pages newly processed as a result of Friedman's previous order. In a suit brought by researcher Ryan Shapiro, Friedman had previously told the agency to consider whether responsive records might exist outside its Central Records System and to disclose third-party FOIA requests processed after the original search cut-off date. In conducting the second search, the FBI found another third-party FOIA request it had processed containing the 68 previously unprocessed records. The agency processed those records and claimed the privacy exemptions as well as Exemption 3 and Exemption 7(E). Shapiro challenged the agency's search. Friedman noted, however, that "Plaintiff's argument that the indexing system of the FBI's CRS is flawed may be true, but ultimately is irrelevant because the government need only conduct a 'good faith effort to produce the information requested.' The government need not conduct an exhaustive search, nor must it use only the best technology available to it. . ." Shapiro had not challenged the application of the privacy exemptions, but argued the agency's Exemption 3 and Exemption 7(E) claims were conclusory. Friedman agreed. As to Exemption 7(E), he noted that "the government's only explanation [for withholding records compiled from non-public databases] is that those 'non-public databases serve as repositories for counterterrorism and investigative data' and that they are 'one-stop shops' for law enforcement to 'query information and develop investigative leads.' These threadbare statements fall far short of meeting the government's burden to 'demonstrate logically how the release of [the requested] information might create a risk of circumvention of the law,' as required by Exemption 7(E)."
Issues: Exemption 7(E) - Investigative methods or techniques, Exemption 3 - Limited agency discretion, Adequacy - Search
Opinion/Order [44]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Paul Friedman has ruled that the FBI properly withheld seven pages of a report from a database pertaining to the investigation of Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist who committed suicide as the result of a federal investigation into his online activities, under Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). Wrapping up the case, Friedman noted that, although the FBI had redacted the name of the database, because its name had been disclosed elsewhere he considered the issue moot. But as to the seven pages of reports, he pointed out that "although it is true that the government relies on the secrecy of the database in its justification, this does not diminish its interest in withholding specific reports generated by that database." He added that "even though 'the identity of the investigative technique' is more publicly known, disclosure of 'the manner and circumstances of the technique' may still 'frustrate enforcement of the law.'"
Issues: Exemption 7(E) - Unknown to public
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2013-05-201COMPLAINT against DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-3331541) filed by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons United States Attorney's Office, # 3 Summons United States Department of Justice)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 05/20/2013)
2013-05-20Case Assigned to Judge Richard W. Roberts. (ls, ) (Entered: 05/21/2013)
2013-05-212ELECTRONIC SUMMONS (2)Issued as to U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Summons, # 2 Consent Notice)(ls, ) (Entered: 05/21/2013)
2013-05-223RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 5/22/2013. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 6/21/2013.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 05/22/2013. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit of service on USDOJ)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 05/22/2013)
2013-06-204Joint MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply and Proposed Briefing Schedule by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Stratton, Mary) (Entered: 06/20/2013)
2013-06-24MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that the parties' joint motion 4 for an extension of time and briefing schedule be, and hereby is, GRANTED. The defendant shall file its response to the plaintiff's complaint by July 22, 2013. If the defendant files a dispositve motion, the plaintiff shall respond to the motion by August 21, 2013 and the defendant shall reply to the plaintiff's opposition by September 10, 2013. Signed by Judge Richard W. Roberts on 6/24/13. (lcrwr2) (Entered: 06/24/2013)
2013-06-25Set/Reset Deadlines: Answer to the complaint due by 7/22/2013, Response to Dispositive Motions due by 8/21/2013, Reply to Dispositive Motions due by 9/10/2013. (hs) (Entered: 06/25/2013)
2013-07-225MOTION for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Declaration of David M. Hardy, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Stratton, Mary) (Entered: 07/22/2013)
2013-08-216Memorandum in opposition to re 5 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Response to Defendant's Statement of Facts, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 08/22/2013)
2013-08-227Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit 1-10, # 3 Exhibit 11-20, # 4 Exhibit 21-30, # 5 Exhibit 31-40, # 6 Exhibit 41-46, # 7 Statement of Facts, # 8 Text of Proposed Order)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 08/22/2013)
2013-08-298Case reassigned by consent to Judge Paul L. Friedman. Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts no longer assigned to the case. (gt, ) (Entered: 08/29/2013)
2013-09-109Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 7 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment , 5 MOTION for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Stratton, Mary) (Entered: 09/10/2013)
2013-09-11MINUTE ORDER granting 9 defendant's consent Motion for Extension of Time up to and including September 13, 2013 to file its reply/opposition to plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on September 11, 2013. (MA) (Entered: 09/11/2013)
2013-09-12Set/Reset Deadlines: Reply/opposition to plaintiff's motion for summary judgment due by 9/13/2013. (zmm, ) (Entered: 09/12/2013)
2013-09-1310REPLY to opposition to motion re 5 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Dennis J. Argall, # 2 Statement of Facts)(Stratton, Mary) (Entered: 09/13/2013)
2013-09-1311Memorandum in opposition to re 7 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Dennis J. Argall, # 2 Statement of Facts)(Stratton, Mary) (Entered: 09/13/2013)
2013-09-2312REPLY to opposition to motion re 7 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 47 - Hardy declaration)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 09/23/2013)
2013-11-0113ORDER that on or before December 15, 2013, defendant is directed to deliver to the court for in camera review unredacted copies of certain pages of information. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on November 1, 2013. (MA) (Entered: 11/01/2013)
2013-11-01Set/Reset Deadlines: In-Camera Submission due by 12/15/2013. (tth) (Entered: 11/01/2013)
2013-11-1214NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Wenqiong Fu on behalf of All Defendants Substituting for attorney Mary Elizabeth Stratton (Fu, Wenqiong) (Entered: 11/12/2013)
2013-12-1315NOTICE of In Camera Submission by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Fu, Wenqiong) (Entered: 12/13/2013)
2013-12-16NOTICE OF ERROR re 15 Notice (Other); emailed to wenqiong.fu@usdoj.gov, cc'd 3 associated attorneys -- The PDF file you docketed contained errors: 1. FYI: When filing documents, please have the correct initials for the Judge in the case. (td, ) (Entered: 12/16/2013)
2014-03-2816NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Dionne S. Shy on behalf of DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Substituting for attorney Wenqiong Fu (Shy, Dionne) (Entered: 03/28/2014)
2014-03-3117ORDER granting in part and holding in abeyance in part 5 defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment; denying in part and holding in abeyance in part 7 plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendant shall file a supplemental brief accompanied by a declaration or declarations on or before June 2, 2014; and plaintiff shall file a brief responding to the defendant's supplemental brief and declaration(s) on or before June 23, 2014. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on March 31, 2014. (MA) (Entered: 03/31/2014)
2014-03-3118OPINION granting defendant's motion for summary judgment in part and denying plaintiff's motion for summary judgment in part, and holding the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment in abeyance. An appropriate order accompanies this opinion. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on March 31, 2014.(MA) (Entered: 03/31/2014)
2014-04-01Set/Reset Deadlines: Supplemental Brief due by 6/2/2014. Response due by 6/23/2014. (zmm, ) (Entered: 04/01/2014)
2014-06-0219Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Supplemental Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Shy, Dionne) (Entered: 06/02/2014)
2014-06-03MINUTE ORDER granting 19 defendant's unopposed Motion for Extension of Time up to and including June 16, 2014 to file supplemental brief in support of motion for summary judgment. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on June 3, 2014.(MA) (Entered: 06/03/2014)
2014-06-04Set/Reset Deadlines: Supplemental Brief due by 6/16/2014. (zmm, ) (Entered: 06/04/2014)
2014-06-1220Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File a Supplemental Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Shy, Dionne) (Entered: 06/12/2014)
2014-06-13MINUTE ORDER granting 20 defendant's unopposed motion for an extension of time to file its supplemental brief in support of its motion for summary judgment. Defendant's supplemental brief is due July 16, 2014. Plaintiff's opposition is due August 18, 2014. Defendant's reply is due September 3, 2014. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on June 13, 2014. (lcplf1) (Entered: 06/13/2014)
2014-06-20Set/Reset Deadlines: Supplemental Brief due by 7/16/2014. Response due by 8/18/2014. Reply due by 9/3/2014. (zmm, ) (Entered: 06/20/2014)
2014-06-2521ENTERED IN ERROR.....MOTION for Extension of Time to File Supplemental Brief by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Shy, Dionne) Modified on 6/26/2014 (rdj). (Entered: 06/25/2014)
2014-06-26NOTICE OF CORRECTED DOCKET ENTRY: re 21 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Supplemental Brief was entered in error at the request of counsel. (rdj) (Entered: 06/26/2014)
2014-07-1622Supplemental re 5 MOTION for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Second Declaration of David M. Hardy, dated July 10, 2014, with Attachments)(Shy, Dionne) Modified on 7/17/2014 (jf, ). (Entered: 07/16/2014)
2014-08-1823Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply to Defendant's Supplemental Memorandum by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 08/19/2014)
2014-08-19MINUTE ORDER granting 23 plaintiff's consent motion for extension of time up to and including September 17, 2014 to file response to defendant's supplemental memorandum. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on August 19, 2014.(MA) (Entered: 08/19/2014)
2014-08-19Set/Reset Deadlines: plaintiff's response to supplemental memorandum due by 9/17/2014 (tth) (Entered: 08/19/2014)
2014-08-2924NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. Attorney Dionne S. Shy terminated. (Shy, Dionne) (Entered: 08/29/2014)
2014-09-1725Second MOTION for Extension of Time to File response to Defendant's supplemental brief by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 09/17/2014)
2014-09-18VACATED PER MINUTE ORDER FILED 9/22/2014.....MINUTE ORDER granting in part and denying in part 25 plaintiff's second motion for an extension of time to respond to defendant's supplemental memorandum. It is unacceptable to file a motion for an extension of time after the close of business on the date the response is due. Plaintiff's response therefore is due on or before September 22, 2014, unless defendant's counsel agrees to a later date. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on September 18, 2014. (lcplf3) Modified on 9/24/2014 (zmm, ). (Entered: 09/18/2014)
2014-09-1926NOTICE of Defendant's Consent to Plaintiff's Motion for Extension of Time by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO re Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File, (Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 09/19/2014)
2014-09-1927NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Jodi T. George on behalf of DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Substituting for attorney Dionne Shy (George, Jodi) (Entered: 09/19/2014)
2014-09-19Set/Reset Deadlines: Response to defendant's supplemental memorandum due by 9/22/2014. (zmm, ) (Entered: 09/19/2014)
2014-09-22MINUTE ORDER vacating September 18, 2014 minute order and granting 25 plaintiff's second motion for extension of time to respond to defendant's supplemental brief. Plaintiff's response is due on or before September 26, 2014. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on September 22, 2014. (lcplf3) (Entered: 09/22/2014)
2014-09-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Response to supplemental brief due by 9/26/2014. (zmm, ) (Entered: 09/24/2014)
2014-09-2628RESPONSE re 22 Supplemental MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5, # 6 Exhibit 6, # 7 Exhibit 7, # 8 Exhibit 8, # 9 Exhibit 9, # 10 Exhibit 10, # 11 Exhibit 11, # 12 Exhibit 12, # 13 Exhibit 13, # 14 Exhibit 14, # 15 Exhibit 15)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 09/27/2014)
2014-11-2029MOTION for Extension of Time to File Supplemental Reply in Support of Defendants Motion For Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (George, Jodi) (Entered: 11/20/2014)
2014-11-2030Memorandum in opposition to re 29 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Supplemental Reply in Support of Defendants Motion For Summary Judgment filed by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 11/20/2014)
2014-11-2131ORDER granting 29 defendant's nunc pro tunc motion for leave to file a supplemental reply in support of defendant's motion for summary judgment. Defendant shall file its supplemental reply on or before December 8, 2014. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on November 21, 2014. (MA) (Entered: 11/21/2014)
2014-11-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Supplemental Reply in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment due by 12/8/2014. (zmm, ) (Entered: 11/24/2014)
2014-12-0832ERRATA by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO 28 Response to Document, filed by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 16 - FBI Records Management manual)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 12/08/2014)
2014-12-0833SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM to 5 , 22 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Hardy, # 2 Exhibit Hardy Declaration)(George, Jodi) Modified on 12/9/2014 (td, ). (Attachment 1 replaced on 1/15/2015) (td, ). (Attachment 2 replaced on 1/15/2015) (td, ). (Entered: 12/08/2014)
2015-01-2134Unopposed MOTION for Leave to File RESPONSE TO DEFENDANTS SUPPLEMENTAL REPLY IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order, # 2 Exhibit Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Supplemental Reply, # 3 Declaration 1 - Hardy Declaration (EFF case), # 4 Exhibit 2 - Sentinel Privacy Impact Assessment, # 5 Exhibit 3 - Hardy Declaration (Henry case), # 6 Exhibit 4 - FBI Press Release (DIVS), # 7 Exhibit 5- ECF-Sentinel Training, # 8 Exhibit 6 - Asset Summary (DIVS), # 9 Exhibit 7 Hardy Declaration (Rosenberg case), # 10 Exhibit 8 - Hardy Declaration (2012 Shapiro case), # 11 Exhibit 9 - LexisNexis Accurint for Law Enforcement Web Page)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 01/21/2015)
2015-01-22MINUTE ORDER granting 34 plaintiff's unopposed motion for leave to file a response to "defendant's supplemental reply in support of defendant's motion for summary judgment." Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on January 22, 2015. (MA) (Entered: 01/22/2015)
2015-01-2235SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM in Support of 7 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5, # 6 Exhibit 6, # 7 Exhibit 7, # 8 Exhibit 8, # 9 Exhibit 9)(znmw, ) (Entered: 01/22/2015)
2015-12-2936NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Britney Berry on behalf of DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Substituting for attorney JODI GEORGE (Berry, Britney) (Entered: 12/29/2015)
2016-05-1337NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Michael Benjamin Posner on behalf of DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Substituting for attorney Britney Berry (Posner, Michael) (Entered: 05/13/2016)
2016-09-0738MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting in part and holding in abeyance in part 5 defendant's motion for summary judgment; denying in part and holding in abeyance in part 7 plaintiff's motion for summary judgment; and requesting that defendant file a supplemental brief on or before October 14, 2016. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on September 7, 2016. (MA) (Entered: 09/07/2016)
2016-10-1439SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM re 5 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of David M. Hardy (Fourth))(Posner, Michael) Modified event title on 10/17/2016 (znmw). (Entered: 10/14/2016)
2016-10-2740Unopposed MOTION for Leave to File RESPONSE TO THE SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order, # 2 Exhibit Plaintiff's response, # 3 Exhibit 1 - Comparison of Swartz-91, # 4 Exhibit 2 - Accurint user guide)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 10/27/2016)
2016-10-2841NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Christopher Charles Hair on behalf of All Defendants Substituting for attorney Michael B. Posner (Hair, Christopher) (Entered: 10/28/2016)
2016-10-31MINUTE ORDER granting 40 plaintiff's unopposed motion for leave to file a response to the supplemental brief in support of defendant's motion for summary judgment. The clerk shall file plaintiff's response and the attached exhibits on the docket. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on October 31, 2016.(MA) (Entered: 10/31/2016)
2016-10-3142RESPONSE to the re 39 Supplemental Brief in support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, filed by RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (td) (Entered: 11/01/2016)
2017-04-2043ORDER granting 5 defendant's motion for summary judgment; and denying 7 plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment. Judgment shall be entered for defendant. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on April 20, 2017. (MA) (Entered: 04/20/2017)
2017-04-2044MEMORANDUM OPINION entering final judgment in favor of the defendant. An Order consistent with this Memorandum Opinion and with prior opinions of this Court will be issued this same day. Signed by Judge Paul L. Friedman on April 20, 2017. (MA) (Entered: 04/20/2017)
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