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Case TitleRODRIGUEZ v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2014cv00101
Date Filed2014-01-25
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Ketanji Brown Jackson
PlaintiffROBERT W. RODRIGUEZ
Case DescriptionRobert Rodriquez made two FOIA requests to the Defense Department pertaining to the veracity of comments made by P.M. Tamburrino in relation to Rodriquez's action to correct his military records and Tamburrino's authority to act on behalf of the agency. Rodriquez requested expedited processing. The agency responded by denying his request for expedited processing and asserted that because of unusual circumstances the agency would be unable to respond within the statutory time limit. After hearing nothing further, Rodriquez filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantUNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Complaint attachment 5
Complaint attachment 6
Complaint attachment 7
Complaint attachment 8
Complaint attachment 9
Complaint attachment 10
Opinion/Order [27]
Opinion/Order [28]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has ruled that the Department of Defense improperly narrowed its search to a single office in response to two FOIA requests from Robert Rodriguez, a former Army officer who had unsuccessfully petitioned the Army Board for Correction of Military Records for relief under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. Rodriguez appealed the denial to Pasquale Tamburrino, the Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel, and Readiness, who affirmed the agency's denial. Rodriguez then appealed to the D.C. Circuit. He also submitted two FOIA requests to DODâ€"one for records concerning his appeal, and the other for records Rodriguez had submitted as part of his appeal and records relating to Tamburrino's review of his appeal. Because DOD had already provided records to the D.C. Circuit in relation to Rodriguez's appeal, the agency provided those records to Rodriguez in response to his first appeal. However, he indicated he thought there were more records and the agency agreed to continue its search. The search was conducted by Lt. Col. Ryan Oakley, an official in the Office of Legal Policy of Personnel and Readiness who had prepared the documents for Tamburrino's review. Rodriquez argued that the agency's search was inadequate because it was limited to the Office of Legal Policy at Personnel and Readiness. While Oakley described in detail the searches he conducted, Jackson noted that "what the agency has not done, however, is explain clearly why its search was limited to the Office of Legal Policy, when the FOIA requests at issue plainly encompassed records that could have been located in other subdivisions of DOD." Jackson observed that Rodriguez's requests encompassed records from the Office of the Chief of Staff where Tamburrino was located. She pointed out that "the fact that the Office of Legal Policy recommended that decision does not necessarily mean that it alone possessed documents regarding how that determination was made. . ." She added that "it was manifestly unreasonable for DOD to decide to respond to Rodriguez's two FOIA requests by looking no further than files maintained by the Office of Legal Policy, and even more significant, failing to search Tamburrino's own office (including his email database), which Plaintiff specifically noted was the likely place where all of the records regarding Tamburrino's review would be located." Jackson indicated that "this Court simply cannot fathom any legitimate reason for the location limitation that DOD imposed with respect to Rodriguez's two FOIA requests, and thus, it is difficult, if not impossible, to conceive of the agency's search for records as a reasonable one." DOD asserted that Rodriguez had narrowed his request in an email exchange concerning the agency's progress in responding. But Jackson observed that "but to view this communication as necessarily disclaiming an interest in documents relating to Tamburrino's reviewâ€"and thereby foregoing any search of Tamburrino's own recordsâ€"when the email plainly confirms Rodriguez's interest in that very subset of records 'is manifestly inconsistent with the text and spirit of Plaintiff's inquiry.'" Addressing Oakley's affidavit, Jackson pointed out that "FOIA clearly contemplates that an agency will undertake a focused search for records in response to a particular request for documents, but the affidavit here indicates that Lt. Col. Oakley primarily cobbled together the results of various document reviews that he had previously undertaken (by request) in a different context. Therefore, far from demonstrating adequacy, Oakley's sworn statement strongly suggests that DOD failed to undertake any diligent or targeted search for records at all." She faulted the search terms Oakley used, noting that "the fact that three out of four key search terms that Lt. Col. Oakley purportedly used appear nowhere on the face of Plaintiff's request is also evidence that the search terms he employed were not reasonably calculated to uncover all responsive documents." Explaining the next steps, Jackson indicated that "as a practical matter, DOD's records search will have to be redone."
Issues: Adequacy - Search
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2014-01-261COMPLAINT against UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-3601702), CIVIL COVER SHEET by ROBERT W RODRIGUEZ filed by ROBERT W RODRIGUEZ. (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 Civil Cover Sheet Civil Cover Sheet, # 10 Summons Summons)(Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 01/26/2014)
2014-01-262NOTICE OF RELATED CASE by ROBERT W RODRIGUEZ. Case related to Case No. 13-1192 (D.C. Circuit). (Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 01/26/2014)
2014-01-26Case Assigned to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. (sth, ) (Entered: 01/27/2014)
2014-01-273ELECTRONIC SUMMONS (3) Issued as to UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Summons)(sth, ) (Entered: 01/27/2014)
2014-02-124RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 01-31-2014. (Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 02/12/2014)
2014-02-225RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 2/4/2014. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 3/6/2014. (Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 02/22/2014)
2014-02-246RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE served on 1/30/2014 (Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 02/24/2014)
2014-02-267NOTICE of Appearance by John J. Gowel on behalf of UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Gowel, John) (Entered: 02/26/2014)
2014-03-078Consent MOTION to Stay re 1 Complaint, Cover Sheet,, Defendant's Obligation to Answer or Otherwise Respond by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Gowel, John) (Entered: 03/07/2014)
2014-03-10MINUTE ORDER. The Court construes 8 Motion to Stay Defendant's Obligation to Answer or Otherwise Respond as a Motion for Extension of Time to Answer, and as construed, the request is GRANTED. Defendant shall answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint by April 21, 2014, and the parties shall file a joint status report by April 21, 2014, that advises the Court on the status of the response to plaintiff's FOIA request and includes a proposed schedule for proceedings, if litigation is necessary. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 3/10/2014. (lckbj1) (Entered: 03/10/2014)
2014-04-169Joint MOTION to Stay Proceedings by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Gowel, John) (Entered: 04/16/2014)
2014-04-22MINUTE ORDER granting, for good cause shown, 9 Motion to Stay. This matter is stayed until July 21, 2014, at which time the parties shall file a joint report advising the Court on the status of this matter, and which shall include a briefing schedule if litigation is going to be necessary. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 4/22/2014. (lckbj1) (Entered: 04/22/2014)
2014-07-0110NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Wayne Holden Williams on behalf of All Defendants Substituting for attorney John Gowel (Williams, Wayne) (Entered: 07/01/2014)
2014-07-2111STATUS REPORT (Joint) by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Williams, Wayne) (Entered: 07/21/2014)
2014-07-24MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the representations in 11 the parties' joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the stay in this matter is extended unto 9/19/2014, nunc pro tunc to 7/21/2014, at which time the parties shall file a joint report advising the Court on the status of this matter, and which shall include a briefing schedule if litigation is going to be necessary. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 07/24/2014. (lckbj1) (Entered: 07/24/2014)
2014-07-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 9/19/2014 (hs) (Entered: 07/24/2014)
2014-09-1912STATUS REPORT Joint by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Williams, Wayne) (Entered: 09/19/2014)
2014-09-22MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the representations in 12 the parties' joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the stay in this matter is extended unto 10/20/2014, nunc pro tunc to 9/19/2014, at which time the parties shall file a joint report advising the Court on the status of this matter, and which shall include a briefing schedule if litigation is going to be necessary. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 09/22/2014. (lckbj1) (Entered: 09/22/2014)
2014-10-2013STATUS REPORT Joint by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Williams, Wayne) (Entered: 10/20/2014)
2014-10-22MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the representations in 13 the parties' joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the stay in this matter is extended unto 11/21/2014, nunc pro tunc to 10/20/2014, at which time the parties shall file a joint report advising the Court on the status of this matter, and which shall include a briefing schedule if litigation is going to be necessary. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 10/22/2014. (lckbj1) (Entered: 10/22/2014)
2014-11-2014STATUS REPORT JOINT by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Williams, Wayne) (Entered: 11/20/2014)
2014-11-21MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the representations in 14 the parties' joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the stay in this matter is extended unto 12/19/2014, at which time the parties shall file a joint report advising the Court on the status of this matter, and which shall include a briefing schedule if litigation is going to be necessary. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 11/21/2014. (lckbj1) (Entered: 11/21/2014)
2014-12-1915STATUS REPORT JOINT by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Williams, Wayne) (Entered: 12/19/2014)
2014-12-23MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the representations in 15 the parties' joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the stay in this matter is extended until 1/19/2015, at which time the parties shall file a joint report advising the Court on the status of this matter, which shall include a briefing schedule if litigation is going to be necessary.(lckbj1) (Entered: 12/23/2014)
2015-01-2016STATUS REPORT Joint by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Williams, Wayne) (Entered: 01/20/2015)
2015-02-09MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the representations made in 16 the parties' joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the stay in this matter is extended until further Order of this Court. It is FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall file, by 3/9/2015, a joint status report advising the Court on the status of this matter, which shall include a briefing schedule if litigation is going to be necessary. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 2/9/2015. (lckbj1) (Entered: 02/09/2015)
2015-03-0917STATUS REPORT Joint by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Williams, Wayne) (Entered: 03/09/2015)
2015-03-11MINUTE ORDER. Based on the representations made in the parties 17 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the following deadlines shall govern this matter: Defendant's Vaughn index and motion for summary judgment are due by by 5/8/2015; Plaintiff's consolidated opposition to Defendant's motion and cross-motion for summary judgment is due by 6/8/2015; Defendant's consolidated reply and opposition to Plaintiff's cross-motion is due by 6/22/2015; Plaintiff's reply is due by 7/6/2015. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 03/11/2015. (lckbj1) (Entered: 03/11/2015)
2015-05-0818MOTION for Summary Judgment by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Exhibit Exhibit 1, # 4 Exhibit Exhibit 2, # 5 Exhibit Exhibit 3, # 6 Exhibit Exhibit 4, # 7 Exhibit Exhibit 5, # 8 Exhibit Exhibit 6)(Grace, Derrick) (Attachment 7 replaced on 11/20/2015 as out of memory.) (ztnr). (Entered: 05/08/2015)
2015-06-0919RESPONSE re 18 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ROBERT W. RODRIGUEZ. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Text of Proposed Order, # 3 Certificate of Service)(Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 06/09/2015)
2015-06-0920Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by ROBERT W. RODRIGUEZ (Attachments: # 1 Declaration, # 2 Exhibit Exhibit 1 to Declaration, # 3 Exhibit Exhibit 2 to Declaration, # 4 Exhibit Exhibit 3 to Declaration, # 5 Exhibit Exhibit 4 to Declaration, # 6 Exhibit Exhibit 5 to Declaration, # 7 Exhibit Exhibit 6 to Declaration, # 8 Exhibit Exhibit 7 to Declaration, # 9 Certificate of Service)(Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 06/09/2015)
2015-06-2221Memorandum in opposition to re 20 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment and Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment filed by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3)(Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 06/22/2015)
2015-07-0622REPLY to opposition to motion re 20 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ROBERT W. RODRIGUEZ. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Exhibit E, # 6 Exhibit F, # 7 Exhibit G, # 8 Certificate of Service)(Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 07/06/2015)
2016-02-0723NOTICE of Lodging of DOJ Letter in Related Matter by ROBERT W. RODRIGUEZ re 22 Reply to opposition to Motion, (Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 02/07/2016)
2016-02-1024RESPONSE re 23 Notice (Other) of Lodging of Department of Justice Letter filed by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C)(Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 02/10/2016)
2016-04-04MINUTE ORDER lifting the stay in this matter and setting Motion Hearing regarding Defendant's 18 Motion for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's 20 Cross Motion for Summary Judgment for 5/19/2016 at 02:30 PM in Courtroom 17 before Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 4/4/2016. (lckbj2) (Entered: 04/04/2016)
2016-05-19Minute Entry for Motion Hearing held on 5/19/16 before Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Oral argument heard on 18 MOTION for Summary Judgment and 20 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment and taken under advisement. (Court Reporter Crystal Pilgrim) (gdf) (Entered: 05/19/2016)
2016-07-1925NOTICE OF SUPPLEMENTAL AUTHORITY by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 07/19/2016)
2016-10-1726TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS before Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson held on 05/19/16; Page Numbers: 1-90. Date of Issuance:10/17/16. Court Reporter/Transcriber Crystal M. Pilgrim, Telephone number 202.354.3127, Transcripts may be ordered by submitting the Transcript Order Form For the first 90 days after this filing date, the transcript may be viewed at the courthouse at a public terminal or purchased from the court reporter reference d above. After 90 days, the transcript may be accessed via PACER. Other transcript formats, (multi-page, condensed, CD or ASCII) may be purchased from the court reporter. NOTICE RE REDACTION OF TRANSCRIPTS: The parties have twenty-one days to file with the court and the court reporter any request to redact personal identifiers from this transcript. If no such requests are filed, the transcript will be made available to the public via PACER without redaction after 90 days. The policy, which includes the five personal identifiers specifically covered, is located on our website at www.dcd.uscourts.gov. Redaction Request due 11/7/2016. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 11/17/2016. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 1/15/2017.(Pilgrim, Crystal) (Entered: 10/17/2016)
2017-02-1527MEMORANDUM OPINION granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff's 20 Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, and denying Defendant's 18 Motion for Summary Judgment. See attached document for details. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on February 15, 2017. (lckbj2) (Entered: 02/15/2017)
2017-02-1528ORDER granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff's 20 Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, and denying Defendant's 18 Motion for Summary Judgment. See attached document for details. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on February 15, 2017. (lckbj2) (Entered: 02/15/2017)
2017-03-1729MOTION for Order Granting Prevailing Party Fees and Expenses by ROBERT W. RODRIGUEZ (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support of Motion for Prevailing Party Fees and Expenses, # 2 Text of Proposed Order Granting Motion for Prevailing Party Fees and Expenses, # 3 Declaration of Joseph E. Schmitz, # 4 Declaration of Paul Kamenar)(Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 03/17/2017)
2017-03-2930ENTERED IN ERROR. . . . .Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to Resposne to Plaintiff's Motion for Prevailing Party Fees and Expenses by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Grace, Derrick) Modified on 3/30/2017 (td). (Entered: 03/29/2017)
2017-03-3031NOTICE of Filing Correct Motion to Enlarge by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Motion to Enlarge)(Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 03/30/2017)
2017-03-30NOTICE OF ERROR re 30 Motion for Extension of Time to; emailed to derrick.grace@usdoj.gov, cc'd 2 associated attorneys -- The PDF file you docketed contained errors: 1. Incorrect header/caption/case number, 2. Please file document in the correct case number. (ztd, ) (Entered: 03/30/2017)
2017-03-3032Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to Plaintiff's Motion for Prevailing Party Fees and Expenses by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 03/30/2017)
2017-04-03MINUTE ORDER granting 32 Motion for Extension of Time, nunc pro tunc. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its response to Plaintiff's 29 Motion for Attorneys' fees on or before 4/7/2017. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 4/3/2017. (lckbj3) (Entered: 04/03/2017)
2017-04-04GENERAL ORDER AND GUIDELINES FOR CIVIL CASES BEFORE JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON. The Court will hold the parties and counsel responsible for following these directives, and parties and counsel should pay particular attention to the Courts instructions for briefing motions and filing exhibits. Failure to adhere to this Order may, when appropriate, result the imposition of sanctions and/or sua sponte denial of non-conforming motions. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 4/4/2017. (lckbj1) (Entered: 04/04/2017)
2017-04-0733Memorandum in opposition to re 29 MOTION for Order Granting Prevailing Party Fees and Expenses filed by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 04/07/2017)
2017-04-1434REPLY to opposition to motion re 29 MOTION for Order Granting Prevailing Party Fees and Expenses filed by ROBERT W. RODRIGUEZ. (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, # 9 Exhibit I)(Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 04/14/2017)
2017-05-0435MOTION for Extension of Time to complete search by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 05/04/2017)
2017-05-0536RESPONSE re 35 MOTION for Extension of Time to complete search Conditional Consent to Motion filed by ROBERT W. RODRIGUEZ. (Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 05/05/2017)
2017-05-0837REPLY to opposition to motion re 35 MOTION for Extension of Time to complete search filed by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. (Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 05/08/2017)
2017-05-09MINUTE ORDER granting, for good cause shown, 35 Motion for Enlargement of Time. It is hereby ORDERED that the deadline for DOD to conduct a new search for responsive documents that is adequate in scope, manner, and location, and to produce any additional responsive records to Plaintiff is extended to 5/23/2017. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 05/09/2017. (lckbj1) (Entered: 05/09/2017)
2017-05-3038NOTICE OF SUPPLEMENTAL AUTHORITY by ROBERT W. RODRIGUEZ (Attachments: # 1 Cover letter for Court-ordered document production)(Schmitz, Joseph) (Entered: 05/30/2017)
2017-06-0739NOTICE of Response to ECF No 38 by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE re 38 NOTICE OF SUPPLEMENTAL AUTHORITY (Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 06/07/2017)
2017-06-08MINUTE ORDER. It is hereby ORDERED that, on or before June 23, 2017, the parties shall file a joint status report that advises the Court on the status of DOD's response to Plaintiff's FOIA request and includes a proposed schedule for proceedings, if litigation is necessary. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 6/8/2017. (lckbj3) (Entered: 06/08/2017)
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