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Case TitleELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2014cv01217
Date Filed2014-07-18
Date Closed2017-03-24
JudgeJudge Reggie B. Walton
PlaintiffELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER
Case DescriptionEPIC submitted a FOIA request to Customs and Border Protection for records concerning the agency's Analytical Framework for Intelligence. EPIC also requested a fee waiver and inclusion in the media fee category. After hearing nothing further from the agency, EPIC filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit

DefendantCUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION
AppealD.C. Circuit 17-5078
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Opinion/Order [28]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Reggie Walton has ruled that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has not yet sufficiently supported its claim that some records pertaining to its Analytical Framework for Intelligence system are protected by Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques). EPIC requested records on the AFI, which is designed to help the agency identity, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who pose a law enforcement or security risk. The agency located 358 pages, disclosed 89 pages in full, 267 pages in part, and withheld 2 pages, one of which was ultimately released. The only remaining dispute was whether Exemption 7(E) applied to some records. EPIC argued that CBP had not shown how disclosure of the records would reveal investigative techniques or procedures. Walton agreed, noting that "the declarant's statements that the withheld materials pertain to the 'use,' 'navigation,' and 'capabilities' of the AFI system, and the 'defendant's processing of internal travelers,' are minimally descriptive, and thus do not provide the Court with sufficient detail regarding the law enforcement techniques or procedures the defendant seeks to protect." He added that "from the limited information provided in the [agency's affidavit], the Court is unable to glean any support for the claim that Exemption 7(E) applies to the withheld information." But Walton pointed out that the agency might be able to support its claims with a supplemental affidavit. He observed that "if the defendant can establish, by a sufficiently detailed Vaughn index, declaration, or affidavit, that the withheld materials are indeed techniques, procedures, or guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, defendant may yet prevail on a renewed motion for summary judgment."
Issues: Exemption 7(E) - Investigative methods or techniques
Opinion/Order [42]
FOIA Project Annotation: After previously finding that Customs and Border Protection had not sufficiently justified its application of Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques) to protect records concerning its Analytical Framework for Intelligence System, Judge Reggie Walton has ruled that the agency has now provided an adequate explanation. EPIC argued that 7(E) did not apply because the records did not pertain to a criminal investigation. But Walton indicated that "nothing in the FOIA's language suggests that Exemption 7(E)'s scope is limited to records compiled in connection with criminal investigations." EPIC also argued that disclosure would not risk circumvention of the law. Walton noted that "the Court agrees that the disclosure of records detailing the function, access, navigation, and capabilities of the AFI system. . .presents a risk that could facilitate circumvention of the law that is logically connected to the content of the withheld documents." The agency had also withheld statements of work. Walton pointed out that "disclosure of details regarding products or services utilized by the defendant to search, organize, or report information in the AFI system presents a risk of circumvention of the law when those records could reasonably be used by potential bad actors to thwart the defendant's law enforcement efforts."
Issues: Exemption 7(E) - Investigative methods or techniques
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2014-07-181COMPLAINT against CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-3783124) filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons Attorney General, # 3 Summons Customs and Border Protection, # 4 Summons US Attorney)(McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 07/18/2014)
2014-07-182LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 07/18/2014)
2014-07-18Case Assigned to Judge Reggie B. Walton. (kb) (Entered: 07/18/2014)
2014-07-18SUMMONS Not Issued as to CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION. (kb) (Entered: 07/18/2014)
2014-07-183REQUEST FOR SUMMONS TO ISSUE by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER re 1 Complaint, filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. Related document: 1 Complaint, filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Summons, # 2 Summons)(McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 07/18/2014)
2014-07-314SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Summons 2nd, # 2 Summons 3rd, # 3 Notice of Consent, # 4 Consent Form) (md, ) (Entered: 07/31/2014)
2014-07-315NOTICE of Appearance by Marc Rotenberg on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 07/31/2014)
2014-07-316NOTICE of Appearance by Khaliah N'Cole Barnes on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Barnes, Khaliah) (Entered: 07/31/2014)
2014-08-127RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 8/5/2014. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 9/4/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit U.S. Attorney General, # 2 Affidavit Attorney General for the District of Columbia, # 3 Affidavit Customs and Border Protection, # 4 Exhibit Receipt for Certified Mail -U.S. Attorney General, # 5 Exhibit Receipt for Certified Mail - Attorney General for the District of Columbia, # 6 Exhibit Receipt for Certified Mail - Customs and Border Protection)(McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 08/12/2014)
2014-09-048NOTICE of Appearance by John G. Interrante on behalf of CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (Interrante, John) (Entered: 09/04/2014)
2014-09-049NOTICE Regarding Deadline for Defendant to Answer or Otherwise Respond to Complaint by CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION re 1 Complaint, 7 Summons Returned Executed in FOIA as to U.S. Attorney,, (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Van Horn)(Interrante, John) (Entered: 09/04/2014)
2014-09-0410First MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint, (until October 6, 2014) by CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Interrante, John) (Entered: 09/04/2014)
2014-09-22MINUTE ORDER granting 10 Defendant's Motion for Enlargement of Time to Answer or Otherwise Respond to the Complaint. For good cause shown, and because the time to file any oppositions to the pending motion has expired, it is hereby ORDERED that the Defendant's Motion for Enlargement of Time to Answer or Otherwise Respond to the Complaint is GRANTED and all filings shall be deemed timely. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 9/22/2014. (lcrbw3, ) (Entered: 09/22/2014)
2014-10-0611ANSWER to Complaint by CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION.(Interrante, John) (Entered: 10/06/2014)
2014-11-1612STATUS REPORT (Joint) by CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION. (Interrante, John) (Entered: 11/16/2014)
2014-11-18MINUTE ORDER. In accordance with the representations made to the Court in the November 16, 2014 Joint Status Report it is hereby ORDERED that the defendant shall disclose all non-exempt records responsive to the plaintiff's FOIA request on or before February 5, 2015. It is further ORDERED that the parties shall file another Joint Status Report with the Court on or before February 27, 2015. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 11/18/2014. (lcrbw3, ) (Entered: 11/18/2014)
2014-11-19Set/Reset Deadlines: Response to FOIA Request due by 2/5/2015; Joint Status Report due by 2/27/2015 (mpt, ) (Entered: 11/19/2014)
2015-02-2713STATUS REPORT (Joint) by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Barnes, Khaliah) (Entered: 02/27/2015)
2015-03-25MINUTE ORDER. In accordance with the Joint Status Report, it is ORDERED that this case shall proceed as follows: (1) the defendant shall file its Vaughn Index on or before April 30, 2015; (2) the defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment on or before May 15, 2015; (2) the plaintiff shall file an opposition to the defendant's motion and a cross-motion for summary judgment on or before June 15, 2015; (3) the defendant shall file a reply in support of its motion and an opposition to the plaintiff's cross-motion on or before July 13, 2015; and (4) the plaintiff shall a reply in support of its cross-motion on or before July 27, 2015. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 3/25/2015. (lcrbw3, ) (Entered: 03/25/2015)
2015-03-26Set/Reset Deadlines: Vaughn Index 4/30/15; Motion for Summary Judgment due by 5/15/15; Opposition and Cross Motion 6/15/15; Reply and Opposition to Cross Motion due by 7/13/15; Reply to Cross Motion due by 7/27/15 (mpt) (Entered: 03/26/2015)
2015-05-1514MOTION for Extension of Time to File Summary Judgment Motion (Partial Consent) by CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Interrante, John) (Entered: 05/15/2015)
2015-05-1615Memorandum in opposition to re 14 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Summary Judgment Motion (Partial Consent) filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 05/16/2015)
2015-05-1916NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. Attorney Ginger P. McCall terminated. (McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 05/19/2015)
2015-05-1917ORDER granting in part and denying in part 14 Defendant's Partial Consent Motion for Enlargement of Time to File Summary Judgment Motion. For the reasons articulated in the attached Order, it is hereby ORDERED that the Defendant's Partial Consent Motion for Enlargement of Time to File Summary Judgment Motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART NUNC PRO TUNC. It is further ORDERED that the defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment on or before May 29, 2015. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 5/19/2015. (lcrbw3, ) (Entered: 05/19/2015)
2015-05-19Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Summary Judgment motion due by 5/29/2015. (tg, ) (Entered: 05/19/2015)
2015-05-2818MOTION for Summary Judgment by CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Sabrina Burroughs, # 2 Exhibit A - FOIA request, # 3 Exhibit B - CBP response, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Interrante, John) (Entered: 05/28/2015)
2015-06-0919Consent MOTION to Modify the Briefing Schedule by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Barnes, Khaliah) (Entered: 06/09/2015)
2015-06-15MINUTE ORDER granting 19 Consent Motion to Modify the Briefing Schedule. For good cause shown and in light of the parties' consent, it is hereby ORDERED that the Consent Motion to Modify the Briefing Schedule is GRANTED and the plaintiff's opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed on or before June 29, 2015; the defendant's reply and opposition shall be filed on or before July 27, 2015; and the plaintiff's reply shall be filed on or before August 10, 2015. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 6/15/2015. (lcrbw3, ) (Entered: 06/15/2015)
2015-06-16Set/Reset Deadlines: Opposition and Cross Motions due by 6/29/2015. Reply and Opposition to Cross Motions due by 7/27/2015. Reply to Cross Motions due by 8/10/2015. (mpt) (Entered: 06/16/2015)
2015-06-2920Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit 1, # 3 Exhibit 2, # 4 Exhibit 3, # 5 Statement of Facts, # 6 Text of Proposed Order)(Barnes, Khaliah) (Entered: 06/29/2015)
2015-06-2921Memorandum in opposition to re 18 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit 1, # 3 Exhibit 2, # 4 Exhibit 3, # 5 Statement of Facts, # 6 Text of Proposed Order)(Barnes, Khaliah) (Entered: 06/29/2015)
2015-07-2722REPLY to opposition to motion re 18 MOTION for Summary Judgment , filed by CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts Response to Pl.'s SOF)(Interrante, John) Modified link on 7/28/2015 (znmw). (Entered: 07/27/2015)
2015-07-2723Memorandum in opposition to re 20 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION. (See Docket Entry 22 to view the document). (znmw) (Entered: 07/28/2015)
2015-08-1024REPLY to opposition to motion re 20 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Barnes, Khaliah) (Entered: 08/10/2015)
2015-09-2125NOTICE of Appearance by Alan Jay Butler on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Butler, Alan) (Entered: 09/21/2015)
2015-12-1826NOTICE of Appearance by Patricia K. McBride on behalf of All Defendants (McBride, Patricia) (Entered: 12/18/2015)
2016-02-1727ORDER denying 18 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting in part and denying in part 20 Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons stated in the Memorandum Opinion to be issued on this same day, it is hereby ORDERED that the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. It is further ORDERED that the Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. It is further ORDERED that the plaintiff's request that the defendant provide a more detailed declaration or affidavit explaining its withholdings under Exemption 7(E) is GRANTED. It is further ORDERED that the plaintiff's alternative request that the defendant immediately produce the withheld information is DENIED. It is further ORDERED that the parties shall file a Joint Status Report on or before March 18, 2016, that addresses how the parties wish to proceed in this case in light of the Court's disposition of the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 2/17/2016. (lcrbw3) (Entered: 02/17/2016)
2016-02-1728MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 2/17/2016. (lcrbw3) (Entered: 02/17/2016)
2016-02-17Set/Reset Deadline: The parties shall file a Joint Status Report on or before 3/18/2016, that addresses how the parties wish to proceed in this case in light of the Court's disposition of the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. (ad) (Entered: 02/17/2016)
2016-02-1829NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION. Attorney John G. Interrante terminated. (Interrante, John) (Entered: 02/18/2016)
2016-03-1830Joint STATUS REPORT by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Barnes, Khaliah) (Entered: 03/18/2016)
2016-03-20MINUTE ORDER. In light of the parties' representations in the 30 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file an updated joint status report on or before April 8, 2016. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 3/20/2016. (lcrbw3) (Entered: 03/20/2016)
2016-03-21Set/Reset Deadline: The parties shall file an updated joint status report on or before 4/8/2015. (ad) (Entered: 03/21/2016)
2016-03-21Set/Reset Deadline: The parties shall file an updated joint status report on or before 4/8/2016. (ad) (Entered: 03/21/2016)
2016-04-0831Joint STATUS REPORT by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Barnes, Khaliah) (Entered: 04/08/2016)
2016-04-11MINUTE ORDER. Upon consideration of the parties' 31 Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that this case shall proceed as follows: (1) the defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment on or before May 6, 2016; (2) the plaintiff shall file its opposition to the defendant's motion for summary judgment and cross-motion for summary judgment on or before June 3, 2016; (3) the defendant shall file its reply in support of its motion for summary judgment and opposition to the plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment on or before July 1, 2016; and (4) the plaintiff shall file its reply in support of its cross-motion for summary judgment on or before July 15, 2016. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 4/11/2016. (lcrbw3) (Entered: 04/11/2016)
2016-04-11Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Summary Judgment motions due by 5/6/2016. Plaintiff's Response to Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross Motion due by 6/3/2016. Defendant's Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition due by 7/1/2016. Plaintiff's reply in support of its Cross Motions due by 7/15/2016. (hs) (Entered: 04/11/2016)
2016-05-0532MOTION for Summary Judgment by CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (Attachments: # 1 Supplement NOTICE OF FILING AND FILING OF VAUGHN INDEX, # 2 Declaration NOTICE OF FILING AND SUPPLEMENTAL BURROUGHS DECLARATION)(McBride, Patricia) (Entered: 05/05/2016)
2016-06-0333NOTICE of Appearance by Thailam John Tran on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Tran, Thailam) (Entered: 06/03/2016)
2016-06-0334Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Tran, Thailam) (Entered: 06/03/2016)
2016-06-0335Memorandum in opposition to re 32 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Tran, Thailam) (Entered: 06/03/2016)
2016-06-1736NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. Attorney Khaliah N'Cole Barnes terminated. (Barnes, Khaliah) (Entered: 06/17/2016)
2016-06-3037REPLY to opposition to motion re 34 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION. (McBride, Patricia) Modified on 7/1/2016 (td). (Entered: 06/30/2016)
2016-06-3038Memorandum in opposition to re 34 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION; (See Docket Entry No. 37 to view document.) (td) (Entered: 07/01/2016)
2016-07-1539REPLY to opposition to motion re 34 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Tran, Thailam) (Entered: 07/15/2016)
2017-01-0640NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. Attorney Thailam John Tran terminated. (Tran, Thailam) (Entered: 01/06/2017)
2017-03-2441ORDER. In accordance with the Memorandum Opinion issued on this same date, it is hereby ORDERED that the Defendant's Consolidated Reply and Opposition to Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, which the Court construes as the defendant's renewed motion for summary judgment, is GRANTED. It is further ORDERED that the Plaintiff's Combined Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED. It is further ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED. It is further ORDERED that this case is CLOSED. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 3/24/2017. (lcrbw3) (Entered: 03/24/2017)
2017-03-2442MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Reggie B. Walton on 3/24/2017. (lcrbw3) (Entered: 03/24/2017)
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by FOIA Project Staff