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Case TitleWessler v. United States Department of Justice et al
DistrictSouthern District of New York
CityFoley Square
Case Number1:2014cv05627
Date Filed2014-07-23
Date Closed2017-02-16
JudgeJudge Paul A. Engelmayer
PlaintiffSeth Wessler
Case DescriptionSeth Wessler, a journalist currently serving as a visiting scholar at New York University, submitted several FOIA requests to the Bureau of Prisons for records concerning the number of criminal aliens held at privately-managed secure prison facilities. He also requested expedited processing, a fee waiver, and inclusion in the media fee category. The agency denied his requests for expedited processing and a fee waiver, telling Wessler he had failed to show a compelling need for the information or that the information would significantly contribute to public understanding of the incarceration of criminal aliens. Wessler appealed the denial to the Office of Information Policy, which told Wessler that his fee waiver request had been remanded to BOP and he would hear directly from BOP. After hearing nothing further, Wessler filed suit.
Complaint issues: Public Interest Fee Waiver

DefendantUnited States Department of Justice
DefendantFederal Bureau of Prisons
Documents
Docket
Complaint
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2014-07-231COMPLAINT against Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice. (Filing Fee $ 350.00, Receipt Number 465401100796)Document filed by Seth Wessler.(moh) (moh). (Entered: 07/25/2014)
2014-07-23SUMMONS ISSUED as to Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice. (moh) (Entered: 07/25/2014)
2014-07-23Magistrate Judge Henry B. Pitman is so designated. (moh) (Entered: 07/25/2014)
2014-07-23Case Designated ECF. (moh) (Entered: 07/25/2014)
2014-07-232CIVIL COVER SHEET filed. (moh) (moh). (Entered: 07/25/2014)
2014-07-23***NOTE TO ATTORNEY TO E-MAIL PDF. Note to Attorney Lawrence S. Lustberg for noncompliance with Section 14.2 of the S.D.N.Y. Electronic Case Filing Rules & Instructions. E-MAIL the PDF for Document 1 Complaint to: caseopenings@nysd.uscourts.gov. (moh) (Entered: 07/25/2014)
2014-07-23***NOTICE TO ATTORNEY TO SUBMIT PDF OF CIVIL COVER SHEET. Notice to Attorney Lawrence S. Lustberg, to submit PDF of the Civil Cover Sheet. Email a copy of Civil Cover Sheet to: caseopenings@nysd.uscourts.gov . (moh) (Entered: 07/25/2014)
2014-08-133CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE. All Defendants. Service was made by MAIL. Document filed by Seth Wessler. (Lustberg, Lawrence) (Entered: 08/13/2014)
2014-09-184FIRST LETTER MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer addressed to Judge Paul A. Engelmayer from Shane Cargo dated 11/18/2014. Document filed by Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Cargo, Shane) (Entered: 09/18/2014)
2014-09-195STIPULATION AND ORDER granting 4 Letter Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. IT IS HEREBY STIPULATED AND AGREED, by and between the undersigned counsel for the parties, that the defendants' time to answer, move, or otherwise respond to the complaint is extended to October 1, 2014. The Clerk is directed to terminate the motion pending at Dkt. 4. SO ORDERED. Federal Bureau of Prisons answer due 10/1/2014; United States Department of Justice answer due 10/1/2014. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 9/19/2014) (ama) (Entered: 09/19/2014)
2014-10-016ANSWER to 1 Complaint. Document filed by Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice.(Cargo, Shane) (Entered: 10/01/2014)
2014-10-067NOTICE OF INITIAL PRETRIAL CONFERENCE: Initial Conference set for 11/14/2014 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 1305 at the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse, 40 Centre Street, New York, NY 10007 before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 10/2/2014) (mro) (Entered: 10/06/2014)
2014-11-14Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer: Initial Pretrial Conference held on 11/14/2014. Civil case management plan and scheduling order submitted for the Court's approval. The Court will issue an order scheduling the next conference date. (Hummel, June) (Entered: 11/14/2014)
2014-11-178ORDER: At today's initial conference, the Court directed the parties to confer in advance of the next conference in this case (December 12, 2014, at 3:00p.m.), and agree, if possible, as to a schedule on which the materials requested pursuant to plaintiff's Freedom of Information Act request are to be produced. If an agreement is reached, the parties are directed to notify theCourt of it promptly. In the event no agreement is reached, the Court understands that plaintiff plans to move for injunctive relief directing prompt production. The Court's intention would be to act swiftly on any such motion. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 11/14/2014) (djc) (Entered: 11/17/2014)
2014-11-17Set/Reset Hearings: Status Conference set for 12/12/2014 at 03:00 PM before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. (djc) (Entered: 11/17/2014)
2014-12-089ORDER: Due to a scheduling conflict that has arisen, the Court must adjourn by several hours the status conference previously scheduled for December 12, 2014, at 3 p.m. The conference is now scheduled for the same day, at 10 a.m. (Status Conference set for 12/12/2014 at 10:00 AM before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.) (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 12/8/2014) (djc) (Entered: 12/09/2014)
2014-12-12Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer: Status Conference held on 12/12/2014. Counsel are to submit a joint letter as to the status of document production by January 16, 2015. Next status conference scheduled for January 30, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. (Court Reporter Thomas Murray) (Hummel, June) (Entered: 12/12/2014)
2014-12-1210ORDER: For the reasons stated on the record at today's conference, the parties are directed to submit a joint letter as to the status of document production by January 16, 2015. The next status conference in this case is scheduled for January 30, 2015, at 1 p.m. Status Conference set for 1/30/2015 at 01:00 PM before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 12/12/2014) (kgo) (Entered: 12/12/2014)
2015-01-1511JOINT LETTER addressed to Judge Paul A. Engelmayer from the Parties dated 1/15/2015 re: status of document production. Document filed by Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice, Seth Wessler.(Cargo, Shane) (Entered: 01/15/2015)
2015-01-30Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer: Status Conference held on 1/30/2015. Defendant to produce 1 file to plaintiff's counsel by Feb. 5, 2015. Next control date for status conference schedule for March 2, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. The Court will issue an order. (Court Reporter Sabrina D'Emidio) (Hummel, June) (Entered: 01/30/2015)
2015-01-3012ORDER: For the reasons stated on the record at today's conference, defendants are directed to submit to plaintiff, by February 5, 2015, at 5 p.m., one complete medical file, including the mortality review, for one inmate, whose name plaintiff's counsel will provide to defense counsel today. The parties are directed to meet and confer by February 10, 2015, and agree, if possible, as to a schedule on which the remaining outstanding medical files requested pursuant to plaintiff's Freedom of Information Act request are to be produced. The next status conference in this case is scheduled for March 2, 2015, at 4:30 p.m. Status Conference set for 3/2/2015 at 04:30 PM before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 1/30/2015) (kgo) (Entered: 01/30/2015)
2015-03-02Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer: Status Conference held on 3/2/2015. Defense counsel did not appear. Next Status conference scheduled for Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 9:15 a.m. (Court Reporter Khristine Sellin) (Hummel, June) (Entered: 03/03/2015)
2015-03-04Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer: Status Conference held on 3/4/2015. Next Status conference scheduled for March 12, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. (Court Reporter Sabrina D'Emidio) (Hummel, June) (Entered: 03/06/2015)
2015-03-1113TRANSCRIPT of Proceedings re: CONFERENCE held on 1/30/2015 before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer. Court Reporter/Transcriber: Sabrina D'Emidio, (212) 805-0300. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the Court Reporter/Transcriber before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through PACER. Redaction Request due 4/6/2015. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 4/16/2015. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 6/12/2015.(McGuirk, Kelly) (Entered: 03/11/2015)
2015-03-1114NOTICE OF FILING OF OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT Notice is hereby given that an official transcript of a CONFERENCE proceeding held on 1/30/2015 has been filed by the court reporter/transcriber in the above-captioned matter. The parties have seven (7) calendar days to file with the court a Notice of Intent to Request Redaction of this transcript. If no such Notice is filed, the transcript may be made remotely electronically available to the public without redaction after 90 calendar days...(McGuirk, Kelly) (Entered: 03/11/2015)
2015-03-12Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer: Status Conference held on 3/12/2015. Next status conference scheduled for May 18, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. (Court Reporter Vincent Bologna) (Hummel, June) (Entered: 03/12/2015)
2015-05-1815LETTER MOTION to Adjourn Conference to June 19, 2015 addressed to Judge Paul A. Engelmayer from Shane Cargo dated 5/18/2015. Document filed by Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice.(Cargo, Shane) (Entered: 05/18/2015)
2015-05-1816ORDER granting 15 Letter Motion to Adjourn Conference. Granted. The previously scheduled status conference for today at 5 p.m. is rescheduled for June 19, 2015, at 9 a.m. The Clerk is directed to terminate the motion pending at Dkt. 15. (Status Conference set for 6/19/2015 at 09:00 AM before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.) (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 5/18/2015) (kl) (Entered: 05/18/2015)
2015-06-19Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer: Status Conference held on 6/19/2015. Next status conference scheduled for July 23, 2015 at 4:30 p.m. (Court Reporter Thomas Murray) (Hummel, June) (Entered: 06/19/2015)
2015-06-2217ORDER: For the reasons stated on the record at today's conference, the Government is directed to communicate to plaintiff's counsel by Friday, June 26, 2015, the determination of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") as to the application of the deliberative process privilege for the requested medical records. Plaintiff's counsel is directed to notify the Government by Monday, June 29, 2015, if plaintiff requests a Vaughn Index. The Government is directed to produce to plaintiff by July 6, 2015, the newly redacted documents, if any, and a comprehensive Vaughn Index, if requested. The next status conference in this case is scheduled for July 23, 2015, at 4:30 p.m. (Status Conference set for 7/23/2015 at 04:30 PM before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.) (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 6/19/2015) (kl) (Entered: 06/22/2015)
2015-07-23Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer: Status Conference held on 7/23/2015. Defense counsel to produce the Vaughn Index by August 3, 2015. Next status conference scheduled for September 10, 2015 at 2:15 p.m. (Court Reporter Michael McDaniels) (Hummel, June) (Entered: 07/23/2015)
2015-07-2318ORDER: For the reasons stated on the record at today's conference, the Government is directed to produce to plaintiff by August 3, 2015, a Vaughn Index regarding the redactions of the after-action reports. (Status Conference set for 9/10/2015 at 02:15 PM before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.) (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 7/23/2015) (kl) (Entered: 07/23/2015)
2015-09-0219NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by Ana Isabel Munoz on behalf of Seth Wessler. (Munoz, Ana) (Entered: 09/02/2015)
2015-09-0320LETTER addressed to Judge Paul A. Engelmayer from Ana Munoz dated 9/3/15 re: Adjournment. Document filed by Seth Wessler.(Munoz, Ana) (Entered: 09/03/2015)
2015-09-0821MEMO ENDORSEMENT on re: 20 Letter filed by Seth Wessler. ENDORSEMENT: Granted. The conference previously scheduled for September 10, 2015, at 2:15 p.m. is hereby rescheduled for October 1, 2015, at 2:15 p.m. The Court also congratulates Ms. Munoz on her upcoming wedding. ( Status Conference set for 10/1/2015 at 02:15 PM before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.) (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 9/8/2015) (mro) (Entered: 09/08/2015)
2015-10-01Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer: Status Conference held on 10/1/2015. First FOIA request has been concluded. The Court will issue Order giving the parties 2 weeks to file stip of discontinuance or amended complaint. (Court Reporter Karen Gorlaski) (ml) (Entered: 10/01/2015)
2015-10-0122ORDER: At today's conference, the parties stated on the record that they agreed that all outstanding issues related to the FOIA request that is the subject of this lawsuit have been resolved. However, plaintiff's counsel stated that the parties may need to litigate disputes related to a later FOIA request that grows out of the one in this case, and that plaintiff is contemplating filing an amended complaint as to the later request. Therefore, the Court directs plaintiff to file by October 15, 2015, a stipulation of discontinuance, or a motion for leave to file an amended complaint, attaching the proposed amended complaint. (Motions due by 10/15/2015.) (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 10/1/2015) (kl) (Entered: 10/02/2015)
2015-10-1523FILING ERROR - DEFICIENT DOCKET ENTRY - FIRST MOTION to Amend/Correct the Complaint . Document filed by Seth Wessler. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Proposed Amended Complaint, # 2 Exhibit Brief in Support of Amendment, # 3 Exhibit Certificate of Service)(Munoz, Ana) Modified on 10/19/2015 (db). (Entered: 10/15/2015)
2015-10-1624ORDER granting 23 Motion to Amend/Correct. The Court therefore grants Wessler's request for leave to file a First Amended Complaint. Accordingly, Wessler shall file the First Amended Complaint no later than October 19, 2015, and shall serve the First Amended Complaint on all defendants no later than November 2, 2015. Defendants shall answer or otherwise respond to the First Amended Complaint no later than November 16, 2015. The Clerk is directed to terminate the motion pending at Dkt. 23. (As further set forth in this Order) (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 10/16/2015) (kl) (Entered: 10/16/2015)
2015-10-16Set/Reset Deadlines: Amended Pleadings due by 10/19/2015. (kl) (Entered: 10/16/2015)
2015-10-1625FILING ERROR - DEFICIENT PLEADING - FILED AGAINST PARTY ERROR - FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT amending 1 Complaint against All Defendants.Document filed by Seth Wessler. Related document: 1 Complaint filed by Seth Wessler. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit)(Munoz, Ana) Modified on 10/19/2015 (moh). (Entered: 10/16/2015)
2015-10-19***NOTICE TO ATTORNEY REGARDING DEFICIENT PLEADING. Notice to Attorney Ana Munoz to RE-FILE Document No. 25 Amended Complaint. The filing is deficient for the following reason(s): the All Defendant radio button was selected. Re-file the pleading using the event type Amended Complaint found under the event list Complaints and Other Initiating Documents - attach the correct signed PDF - select the individually named filer/filers - select the individually named party/parties the pleading is against. (moh) (Entered: 10/19/2015)
2015-10-1926FILING ERROR - DEFICIENT PLEADING - FILER ERROR - - FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT amending 1 Complaint against Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice.Document filed by Seth Wessler. Related document: 1 Complaint filed by Seth Wessler. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit)(Munoz, Ana) Modified on 10/20/2015 (moh). (Entered: 10/19/2015)
2015-10-20***NOTICE TO ATTORNEY REGARDING DEFICIENT PLEADING. Notice to Attorney Ana Munoz to RE-FILE Document No. 26 Amended Complaint,. The filing is deficient for the following reason(s): the wrong filer/filers were selected for the pleading; the Plaintiff's name on the docket needs to reflect the caption of the complaint. Re-file the pleading using the event type Amended Complaint found under the event list Complaints and Other Initiating Documents - attach the correct signed PDF - select the individually named filer/filers - select the individually named party/parties the pleading is against. (moh) (Entered: 10/20/2015)
2015-10-2027FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT amending 1 Complaint against Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice.Document filed by Seth Wessler. Related document: 1 Complaint filed by Seth Wessler. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit)(Munoz, Ana) Modified on 10/22/2015 (jom). Modified on 10/22/2015 (laq). (Entered: 10/20/2015)
2015-11-1628ANSWER to 27 Amended Complaint,. Document filed by Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice.(Cargo, Shane) (Entered: 11/16/2015)
2015-11-1729ORDER: In light of the recently filed First Amended Complaint and Answer, the Court directs the parties to confer with one another and to submit, by Wednesday, November 25,2015, a joint letter proposing next steps and the anticipated timetable on which this litigation is to proceed. Upon receiving this letter, the Court, guided by counsels' views, will schedule a next conference. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 11/17/2015) (lmb) (Entered: 11/17/2015)
2015-11-1830FIRST LETTER MOTION for Extension of Time to File addressed to Judge Paul A. Engelmayer from Shane Cargo dated 11/18/2015. Document filed by Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice.(Cargo, Shane) (Entered: 11/18/2015)
2015-11-1931ORDER granting 30 Letter Motion for Extension of Time to File. Granted. The Court appreciates the parties' cooperative efforts. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 11/19/2015) (kl) (Entered: 11/19/2015)
2015-12-0432SECOND LETTER MOTION for Extension of Time to file joint status letter re: Court's Order of 11/17/2015 addressed to Judge Paul A. Engelmayer from Shane Cargo dated 12/4/2015. Document filed by Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice.(Cargo, Shane) (Entered: 12/04/2015)
2015-12-0433ORDER granting 32 Letter Motion for Extension of Time. Granted. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 12/4/2015) (lmb) Modified on 12/7/2015 (lmb). (Entered: 12/07/2015)
2015-12-1134STATUS REPORT. regarding proposed production schedule Document filed by Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice.(Cargo, Shane) (Entered: 12/11/2015)
2015-12-1435MEMO ENDORSEMENT on re: 34 STATUS REPORT re: proposed production schedule. ENDORSEMENT: The Court appreciates the parties' submission and approves the proposed production schedule. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 12/14/2015) (adc) (Entered: 12/14/2015)
2016-06-1436LETTER addressed to Judge Paul A. Engelmayer from Ana Munoz dated 6/14/16 re: Status of Settlement Negotiations. Document filed by Seth Wessler.(Munoz, Ana) (Entered: 06/14/2016)
2016-06-1437MEMO ENDORSEMENT on re: 36 Letter filed by Seth Wessler. ENDORSEMENT: Granted. The parties are directed to submit a joint letter and status update to the Court within 60 days. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 6/14/2016) (kl) (Entered: 06/14/2016)
2016-06-2338LETTER addressed to Judge Paul A. Engelmayer from Ana Munoz dated 6/23/16 re: Request to Withdraw. Document filed by Seth Wessler.(Munoz, Ana) (Entered: 06/23/2016)
2016-06-2439MEMO ENDORSEMENT on re: 38 Letter filed by Seth Wessler. ENDORSEMENT: Granted. Attorney Ana Isabel Munoz terminated. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 6/24/2016) (cf) (Entered: 06/24/2016)
2016-08-1140STATUS REPORT. Document filed by Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice.(Cargo, Shane) (Entered: 08/11/2016)
2016-08-1141MEMO ENDORSEMENT on re: 40 STATUS REPORT. Document filed by Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice. ENDORSEMENT: Granted. The parties are directed to submit a joint letter and status update to the Court within 60 days. So ordered. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 8/11/2016) (rjm) (Entered: 08/12/2016)
2016-10-2842STATUS REPORT. Document filed by Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Department of Justice.(Cargo, Shane) (Entered: 10/28/2016)
2016-10-2843MEMO ENDORSEMENT on re: 42 Status Report filed by United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons. ENDORSEMENT: Granted. The parties must submit a joint letter and status update by November 18, 2016. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 10/28/2016) (kl) (Entered: 10/28/2016)
2016-11-1844LETTER addressed to Judge Paul A. Engelmayer from Lawrence Lustberg dated 11/18/2016 re: Status Update. Document filed by Seth Wessler.(Lustberg, Lawrence) (Entered: 11/18/2016)
2016-11-2145MEMO ENDORSEMENT on re: 44 Letter filed by Seth Wessler. ENDORSEMENT: Granted. The parties must submit a joint letter and status update by January 17, 2017. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 11/18/2016) (tro) (Entered: 11/21/2016)
2017-01-1746LETTER addressed to Judge Paul A. Engelmayer from LAWRENCE LUSTBERG dated January 17, 2017 re: Status Update. Document filed by Seth Wessler.(Lustberg, Lawrence) (Entered: 01/17/2017)
2017-01-2347MEMO ENDORSEMENT on re: 46 Letter filed by Seth Wessler. ENDORSEMENT: Granted. The parties must submit a joint letter and status update by March 17, 2017. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 1/23/2017) (mro) (Entered: 01/23/2017)
2017-02-1648STIPULATION OF SETTLEMENT AND DISMISSAL: It is hereby stipulated and agreed, by and between the parties that 1. This action is dismissed with prejudice under Rule 41(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 2. Defendants shall pay to plaintiff the sum of $80,000 in attorneys' fees and litigation costs, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(E), which sum Plaintiff agrees to accept as full payment of any attorneys' fees and costs it has incurred in this action. All other provisions as further set forth in this order. (Signed by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer on 2/16/2017) (js) (Entered: 02/17/2017)
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