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Case TitleThe Inclusive Communities Project Inc v. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
DistrictNorthern District of Texas
CityDallas
Case Number3:2014cv03333
Date Filed2014-09-15
Date Closed2017-02-06
JudgeJudge Jane J. Boyle
PlaintiffThe Inclusive Communities Project Inc
Case DescriptionThe Inclusive Communities Project, a fair housing organization in Dallas, submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for records concerning the Housing Choice Voucher in counties near Dallas. The organization asked for records in electronic format and indicated that the organization was willing to pay up to $1,000 in costs. HUD acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, ICP filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation - Attorney's fees, Choice of format

DefendantThe United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Opinion/Order [56]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in Texas has ruled that the Department of Housing and Urban Development failed to show that Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy) applies to data pertaining to families in the Housing Choice Voucher Program in the Dallas area where there are less than 11 families in a zip code. The data was requested by the Inclusive Communities Project. HUD was willing to disclose much of the data, but insisted on redacting data that might be used to identify individuals in zip codes with less than 11 families. The ICP and HUD were unable to agree to the extent of redactions and ICP filed suit. HUD argued that individuals familiar with the zip code areas could use the redacted data to identify individuals, while ICP claimed that possibility was remote at best. In assessing the applicability of Exemption 6, the court indicated that it would consider the derivative use of the data, noting that "under the derivative-use theory, an invasion of privacy occurs upon the release of non-private information that might nevertheless be used to uncover private information." The court rejected HUD's potential chain of events, noting that "HUD has explained how disclosure could lead to discovery of individual names and addresses, but it has not demonstrated that it would." Having concluded the agency had not proven its case, the court nevertheless decided to balance the privacy interests against the public interest in disclosure. The court acknowledged that under Reporters Committee the public interest in disclosure was limited to showing what the government was up to. The court found the disputed information pertained to government operations. The court pointed out that "HUD-50058 contains information that directly relates to questions about HUD's administration of the HCVP. Therefore, the Court concludes that release of this information, including the Withheld Information, would shed light on HUD's performance of its statutory duties." The court further noted that ICP could not analyze the data without access to the zip code information that HUD wanted to withhold. Balancing the interests, the court observed that "the Court recognizes HUD's serious and legitimate privacy concerns over the release of the Withheld Information that might allow requesters to discover HCV holders' names and addresses; however, HUD has not shown a sufficient casual nexus between such release and discovery. Even if it had, the public's interest in more easily monitoring HUD's administration of the HCVP�"especially its distribution and management of more than $200 million in subsidies�"along with FOIA's strong presumption in favor of disclosure, leads to the conclusion that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the HCV holders' privacy interest."
Issues: Exemption 6 - Invasion of privacy
Opinion/Order [62]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in Texas has ruled that the Inclusive Communities Project is entitled to $90,280 for prevailing in its lawsuit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development for records concerning HUD Housing Choice Vouchers in the Dallas area. After HUD failed to respond to its request within the statutory time limits, ICP filed suit. HUD provided a first batch of records, but withheld some records for privacy concerns. The agency provided a second batch of records that did not respond fully to ICP's request. The court ruled in favor of ICP and the organization then filed its motion for attorney's fees. HUD did not challenge whether ICP was eligible or entitled to fees. It only challenged 18.3 hours claimed by ICP for reviewing the records produced and the agency's Vaughn index. Noting that HUD disclosed documents in three batches before the court decided the case " none of which were fully responsive to ICP's original request, the court observed that "all but 3.5 of the 18.3 disputed hours are for document reviews conducted before ICP filed its motion for summary judgment"on which it eventually prevailed"supports this contention. Thus, in the present case, continued litigation following review of the records produced to ICP ultimately resulted in more records being turned over to ICP." The court added that "ICP requested documents, received some but not all of the requested documents"which it could have discovered only after reviewing the documents"and then successfully litigated to obtain the withheld documents. Therefore, the Court finds that the disputed 18.3 hours for time spent reviewing the records and the Vaughn index is recoverable."
Issues: Litigation - Attorney's fees - Entitlement - Calculation of award
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2014-09-151COMPLAINT against The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc. (Filing fee $400; Receipt number 0539-6295886) Clerk to issue summons(es). In each Notice of Electronic Filing, the judge assignment is indicated, and a link to the Judges Copy Requirements is provided. The court reminds the filer that any required copy of this and future documents must be delivered to the judge, in the manner prescribed, within three business days of filing. Unless exempted, attorneys who are not admitted to practice in the Northern District of Texas must seek admission promptly. Forms, instructions, and exemption information may be found at www.txnd.uscourts.gov, or by clicking here: Attorney Information - Bar Membership . If admission requirements are not satisfied within 21 days, the clerk will notify the presiding judge. (Attachments: # 1 Cover Sheet) (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 09/15/2014)
2014-09-152CERTIFICATE OF INTERESTED PERSONS/DISCLOSURE STATEMENT by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc. (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 09/15/2014)
2014-09-153New Case Notes: A filing fee has been paid. File to Judge Boyle. Pursuant to Misc. Order 6, Plaintiff is provided the Notice of Right to Consent to Proceed Before A U.S. Magistrate Judge (Judge Toliver). Clerk to provide copy to plaintiff if not received electronically. (tln) (Entered: 09/15/2014)
2014-09-154Summons issued as to The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Attorney, and U.S. Attorney General. (tln) (Entered: 09/15/2014)
2014-10-165NOTICE of Attorney Appearance by Lisa Robin Hasday-DOJ on behalf of The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Filer confirms contact info in ECF is current.) (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 10/16/2014)
2014-10-166Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 10/16/2014)
2014-10-207ELECTRONIC ORDER granting 6 Defendant's Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's answer is due 12/16/2014. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 10/20/2014) (chmb) (Entered: 10/20/2014)
2014-12-168ANSWER to 1 Complaint filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Unless exempted, attorneys who are not admitted to practice in the Northern District of Texas must seek admission promptly. Forms and Instructions found at www.txnd.uscourts.gov, or by clicking here: Attorney Information - Bar Membership . If admission requirements are not satisfied within 21 days, the clerk will notify the presiding judge. (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 12/16/2014)
2014-12-169CERTIFICATE OF INTERESTED PERSONS/DISCLOSURE STATEMENT by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 12/16/2014)
2015-01-0610STATUS REPORT ORDER: Joint Status Report due by 1/28/2015. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 1/6/2015) (aaa) (Entered: 01/07/2015)
2015-01-0711Unopposed MOTION to Extend Time To File Joint Status Report filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order) (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 01/07/2015)
2015-01-0812ELECTRONIC ORDER granting 11 Unopposed Motion to Extend Time to File Joint Status Report. Status Report due by 2/27/2015. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 1/8/2015) (chmb) (Entered: 01/08/2015)
2015-02-2713STATUS REPORT filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc, The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 02/27/2015)
2015-03-0314SCHEDULING ORDER: Joinder of Parties due by 4/1/2015. Amended Pleadings due by 4/1/2015. Motions due by 8/1/2015. Discovery due by 6/1/2015. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 3/3/2015) (bdb) (Entered: 03/03/2015)
2015-04-0115Unopposed MOTION for Leave to File First Amended Complaint filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit(s) First Amended Complaint, # 2 Proposed Order) (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 04/01/2015)
2015-04-0116Brief/Memorandum in Support filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re 15 Unopposed MOTION for Leave to File First Amended Complaint (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 04/01/2015)
2015-04-0217ELECTRONIC ORDER granting 15 Unopposed Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint. (Unless the document has already been filed, clerk to enter the document as of the date of this order.) (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 4/2/2015) (chmb) (Entered: 04/02/2015)
2015-04-0218FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT against The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc. Unless exempted, attorneys who are not admitted to practice in the Northern District of Texas must seek admission promptly. Forms, instructions, and exemption information may be found at www.txnd.uscourts.gov, or by clicking here: Attorney Information - Bar Membership . If admission requirements are not satisfied within 21 days, the clerk will notify the presiding judge. (ctf) (Entered: 04/02/2015)
2015-04-1619ANSWER to 18 Amended Complaint, filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Unless exempted, attorneys who are not admitted to practice in the Northern District of Texas must seek admission promptly. Forms, instructions, and exemption information may be found at www.txnd.uscourts.gov, or by clicking here: Attorney Information - Bar Membership . If admission requirements are not satisfied within 21 days, the clerk will notify the presiding judge. (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 04/16/2015)
2015-05-1820MOTION for Discovery Motion For Order Compelling Discovery filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 05/18/2015)
2015-05-1821Appendix in Support filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re 20 MOTION for Discovery Motion For Order Compelling Discovery (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 05/18/2015)
2015-05-1822Brief/Memorandum in Support filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re 20 MOTION for Discovery Motion For Order Compelling Discovery (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 05/18/2015)
2015-05-1923ELECTRONIC Order Referring 20 Plaintiff Inclusive Communities Project. Inc.'s Motion For Order Compelling Discovery. Motion(s) referred to Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 5/19/2015) (chmb) (Entered: 05/19/2015)
2015-06-0824RESPONSE filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development re: 20 MOTION for Discovery Motion For Order Compelling Discovery (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 06/08/2015)
2015-06-0925MOTION for Protective Order filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development with Brief/Memorandum in Support. (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 06/09/2015)
2015-06-0926REPLY filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re: 20 MOTION for Discovery Motion For Order Compelling Discovery (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 06/09/2015)
2015-06-1027ELECTRONIC Order Referring 25 Motion for Protective Order. Motion referred to Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 6/10/2015) (chmb) (Entered: 06/10/2015)
2015-06-2428RESPONSE AND OBJECTION filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re: 25 MOTION for Protective Order (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 06/24/2015)
2015-07-2329Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Dispositive Motions filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 07/23/2015)
2015-07-2430ELECTRONIC ORDER granting 29 Defendant U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Unopposed Motion for an Extension of Time to File Dispositive Motions. Dispositive motions are due September 4, 2015. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 7/24/2015) (chmb) (Entered: 07/24/2015)
2015-09-0331Unopposed MOTION to Extend Time to File Dispositive Motions filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 09/03/2015)
2015-09-0432ELECTRONIC ORDER granting 31 Motion to Extend Time. The Court hereby GRANTS Defendant U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Second Unopposed Motion for an Extension of Time to File Dispositive Motions. The Court ORDERS that any such motions be filed on or before October 5, 2015. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 9/4/2015) (chmb) (Entered: 09/04/2015)
2015-09-0433MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order) (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 09/04/2015)
2015-09-0434Brief/Memorandum in Support filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re 33 MOTION for Summary Judgment The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 09/04/2015)
2015-09-0435Appendix in Support filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re 33 MOTION for Summary Judgment The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment The Inclusive Communities Project Inc.'s Appendix in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment (Attachments: # 1 Additional Page(s) Appendix Pages 97-211) (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 09/04/2015)
2015-09-2436Unopposed MOTION to Extend Time to File Response filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 09/24/2015)
2015-09-2537ELECTRONIC ORDER granting 36 Motion to Extend Time. The Court hereby GRANTS Defendant U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Motion for an Extension of Time to File Response. The Court ORDERS Defendant to file such response on or before October 5, 2015. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 9/25/2015) (chmb) (Entered: 09/25/2015)
2015-10-0538RESPONSE filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development re: 33 MOTION for Summary Judgment The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 10/05/2015)
2015-10-0539Brief/Memorandum in Support filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development re 38 Response/Objection (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 10/05/2015)
2015-10-0540Appendix in Support filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development re 39 Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion (Attachments: # 1 Additional Page(s)) (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 10/05/2015)
2015-10-0541MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 10/05/2015)
2015-10-0542Brief/Memorandum in Support filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development re 41 MOTION for Summary Judgment (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 10/05/2015)
2015-10-0543Appendix in Support filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development re 42 Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion (Attachments: # 1 Additional Page(s)) (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 10/05/2015)
2015-10-0744ORDER Plaintiff's Motion 20 for Order Compelling Discovery is DENIED, and Defendant's Motion 25 for Protective Order is GRANTED. (Ordered by Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver on 10/7/2015) (mcrd) (Entered: 10/07/2015)
2015-10-2245REPLY filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re: 33 MOTION for Summary Judgment. (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 10/22/2015)
2015-10-2246Appendix in Support filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re 45 Reply (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 10/22/2015)
2015-10-2947RESPONSE AND OBJECTION filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re: 41 MOTION for Summary Judgment (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 10/29/2015)
2015-10-2948Brief/Memorandum in Support filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re 47 Response/Objection (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 10/29/2015)
2015-10-2949Appendix in Support filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re 48 Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 10/29/2015)
2015-11-1250Unopposed MOTION to Extend Time to File Reply Brief filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 11/12/2015)
2015-11-1351ELECTRONIC ORDER granting 50 Motion to Extend Time. The Court hereby GRANTS Defendant U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Unopposed Motion for an Extension of Time to File Its Reply Brief. The Court ORDERS Defendant to file such reply brief on or before November 16, 2015. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 11/13/2015) (chmb) (Entered: 11/13/2015)
2015-11-1652REPLY filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development re: 41 MOTION for Summary Judgment (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 11/16/2015)
2015-11-1753Unopposed MOTION to Extend Time time filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order) (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 11/17/2015)
2015-11-1754Brief/Memorandum in Support filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re 53 Unopposed MOTION to Extend Time time (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 11/17/2015)
2015-11-1855ELECTRONIC ORDER granting 53 Motion to Extend Time. The Court hereby GRANTS Plaintiff Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.'s Unopposed Motion to Extend Time for Filing Documents 47, 48, 49 to 10/29/2015. The Court will treat those documents as timely filed. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 11/18/2015) (chmb) (Entered: 11/18/2015)
2016-09-1356MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting in part and denying in part 33 Motion for Summary Judgment; denying 41 Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B), ORDERS HUD to produce and ENJOINS it from withholding the records ICP sought in Part I and Part II of its FOIA request. The Court DENIES ICP's request that the Court issue an order prohibiting HUD from relying on Exemption 6 to deny future FOIA requests for the same records ordered produced in this case. (Ordered by Judge Jane J Boyle on 9/13/2016) (ran) (Entered: 09/13/2016)
2016-11-1457MOTION for Attorney Fees filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order) (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 11/14/2016)
2016-11-1458Brief/Memorandum in Support filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re 57 MOTION for Attorney Fees (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 11/14/2016)
2016-11-1459Appendix in Support filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re 58 Brief/Memorandum in Support of Motion (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 11/14/2016)
2016-12-0560RESPONSE filed by The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development re: 57 MOTION for Attorney Fees (Hasday-DOJ, Lisa) (Entered: 12/05/2016)
2016-12-1461REPLY filed by The Inclusive Communities Project Inc re: 57 MOTION for Attorney Fees (Daniel, Michael) (Entered: 12/14/2016)
2017-01-2662MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: ICP's Motion for Attorneys' Fees (doc. 57 ) is therefore GRANTED in the amount of $90,280. (Ordered by Judge Jane J. Boyle on 1/26/2017) (ctf) (Entered: 01/27/2017)
2017-02-0663FINAL JUDGMENT: This Final Judgment is entered pursuant to the Court's September 13, 2016 Memorandum Opinion and Order (doc. 56 ) granting summary judgment for Plaintiff The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (ICP) and the January 26, 2017 Memorandum Opinion and Order (doc. 62 ) granting ICP's application for attorneys' fees. (Ordered by Judge Jane J. Boyle on 2/6/2017) (ndt) (Entered: 02/07/2017)
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