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Case TitleFREEDOM WATCH, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE et al
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2014cv01832
Date Filed2014-10-30
Date Closed2015-01-09
JudgeJudge James E. Boasberg
PlaintiffFREEDOM WATCH, INC.
Case DescriptionFreedom Watch submitted FOIA requests to the Department of State and the Department of Treasury for records concerning waivers granted to countries conducting business with Iran. Neither agency responded and Freedom Watch filed suit Sept. 4, 2013 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. The case was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Oct. 30, 2014.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit

DefendantU.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DefendantU.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
TERMINATED: 07/02/2014
AppealD.C. Circuit 15-5048
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Opinion/Order [46]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge James Boasberg has ruled that the State Department conducted an adequate search for records concerning waivers allowing countries or other interests to do business with Iran under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act or Executive Order 13553. After conducting a comprehensive search, State told Freedom Watch that it could find no records. Freedom Watch expressed incredulity, noting that it had found four press releases on the agency's website. But Boasberg pointed out that "this is because none relates to either the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act or Executive Order 13533, which lie at the heart of the request. All of these documents, instead, discuss a separate statute, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 and sanctions thereunder. . .In any event, even if the press releases were responsive, identifying a handful of documents that an agency failed to uncover does not, in itself, demonstrate that a search was inadequate." Freedom Watch next claimed the waivers under the two statutes were essentially the same. Rejecting the claim, Boasberg pointed out that "in other words, State was somehow supposed to divine that a FOIA request for documents about waivers pursuant to a specific statute should also be construed as seeking documents relating to an entirely different statute. This in not a serious argument." Freedom Watch contended that State's search did not involve talking to subject matter experts. Boasberg observed that "as State's initial declaration did not describe a wordless turnover of the search to robots or droids, the Court is perplexed about the basis of Plaintiff's position. [The agency's] affidavit not only explains how human beings in each of the eleven components went about their searches, but he also talks about the sizeable number of people involved in the searches." Boasberg concluded that "State has plainly carried its burden of conducting an adequate search."
Issues: Adequacy - Search
Opinion/Order [63]
Opinion/Order [72]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge James Boasberg has ruled that locating new emails pertaining to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as part of the FBI's investigation does not entitle Freedom Watch to discovery in its suit against the State Department involving its request for waivers of sanctions against doing business with Iran. Boasberg had previously concluded that State conducted an adequate search, although it had found no records. During Freedom Watch's appeal, the original discovery of Clinton's private email server became publicly known and the D.C. Circuit found Freedom Watch was entitled to another search including the emails. The State Department conducted a search of the emails and still found no records. However, the FBI subsequently located new emails and Freedom Watch once against argued it should be granted discovery and a new search. This time Boasberg decided enough was enough. Rejecting Freedom Watch's contention that Rule 60(b) applied, Boasberg pointed out that "because Defendant's adequate search revealed no responsive records, it is clear that documents given to State by the FBI after the Court's April 2016 judgment would not 'have changed the outcome' of the prior proceedings." He added that "Plaintiff has presented absolutely no evidence of fraudulent activity related to State's searches, let alone the requisite 'clear and convincing evidence.' In addition, there is no evidence that State had possession of any of the emails recently provided to it by the FBI at the time of its earlier searches."
Issues: Litigation - Discovery
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2013-09-041COMPLAINT against U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Treasury (Filing fee $ 400.00, receipt number OCA-4021) filed by Freedom Watch, Inc.(Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(DFD) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 09/05/2013)
2013-09-052SUMMONS issued as to U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General. (DFD) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 09/05/2013)
2013-09-063RELATED CASE ORDER, NOTICE OF DESIGNATION under Local Rule 3.05-Track 1, INTERESTED PERSONS ORDER and ORDER Requiring Electronic Filing. Notice of pendency of other actions due by 9/20/2013. Certificate of interested persons and corporate disclosure statement due by 9/20/2013. Signed by Chief Judge Anne C. Conway on 9/6/2013. (SR) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 09/06/2013)
2013-09-064NOTICE of pendency of related cases re 3 Related case/interested persons/ECF-1 per Local Rule 1.04(d) by Freedom Watch, Inc.. Related case(s): no (Klayman, Larry) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 09/06/2013)
2013-09-065CERTIFICATE of interested persons and corporate disclosure statement re 3 Related case/interested persons/ECF-1 by Freedom Watch, Inc.. (Klayman, Larry) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 09/06/2013)
2013-10-226MOTION to extend time to Respond to Plaintiff's Complaint by U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 10/22/2013)
2013-10-227RELATED CASE ORDER,INTERESTED PERSONS ORDER and ORDER Requiring Electronic Filing directed to DEFENDANTS. Notice of pendency of other actions due by 11/5/2013. Certificate of interested persons and corporate disclosure statement due by 11/5/2013. Signed by Chief Judge Anne C. Conway on 10/22/2013. (SR) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 10/22/2013)
2013-10-238ORDER granting in part 6 Motion to extend time. A responsive pleading shall be filed on or before November 15, 2013. Signed by Chief Judge Anne C. Conway on 10/23/2013. (Conway, Anne) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 10/23/2013)
2013-10-249NOTICE of pendency of related cases re 7 Related case/interested persons/ECF per Local Rule 1.04(d) by U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Treasury. Related case(s): no (Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 10/24/2013)
2013-10-2410CERTIFICATE of interested persons and corporate disclosure statement re 7 Related case/interested persons/ECF by U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 10/24/2013)
2013-10-24Set/reset deadlines/hearings for U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Treasury. Answer due by 11/15/2013. (LAB) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 10/24/2013)
2013-11-1511ANSWER and affirmative defenses to 1 Complaint by U.S. Department of State.(Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 11/15/2013)
2013-11-1512MOTION to Dismiss by U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1)(Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 11/15/2013)
2013-11-2213AMENDED ANSWER to 1 Complaint by U.S. Department of State. (Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 11/22/2013)
2013-11-2714MOTION to Dismiss by U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 11/27/2013)
2013-12-1215RESPONSE in Opposition re 14 MOTION to Dismiss filed by Freedom Watch, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 -- Ltr From Florida Dept. of State, # 2 Exhibit 2 -- Freedom Watch Contact Us Website)(Klayman, Larry) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 12/12/2013)
2014-04-1416ORDER denying as moot 12 United States Department of the Treasury's Motion to Dismiss; denying 14 United States Department of the Treasury and United States Department of State's Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Chief Judge Anne C. Conway on 4/14/2014. (SR) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 04/14/2014)
2014-04-2517MOTION for clarification of the Court's Order or, in the alternative, Motion for reconsideration by U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Mehta, Jason) Modified on 4/29/2014 (LMF). [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 04/25/2014)
2014-05-1418ORDER denying 17 Motion for clarification. Defendant United States Department of the Treasury SHALL FILE its motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on or before May 28, 2014. Within fourteen (14) days of Defendant United States Department of the Treasury's filing, Plaintiff SHALL FILE a response. Signed by Chief Judge Anne C. Conway on 5/14/2014. (SR) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 05/14/2014)
2014-05-2819MOTION to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint by U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - Declaration of Marshall H. Fields, Jr.)(Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 05/28/2014)
2014-06-1220MOTION for relief from order denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss by U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of the Treasury. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Mehta, Jason) Modified on 7/1/2014 (LMF). [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 06/12/2014)
2014-06-3021RESPONSE to Motion re 20 MOTION for relief from order denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss filed by Freedom Watch, Inc. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 -- Letter from Florida Department of Corporations, # 2 Exhibit 2 -- Screen Capture of Freedom Watch website)(Klayman, Larry) Modified on 7/1/2014 (LMF). [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 06/30/2014)
2014-07-0222ORDER granting 19 United States Department of the Treasury's Renewed Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff Freedom Watch, Inc.'s claims are DISMISSED without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as to U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Clerk is DIRECTED to terminate U.S. Department of the Treasury as a party to this action Signed by Chief Judge Anne C. Conway on 7/2/2014. (SR) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 07/02/2014)
2014-07-0723ORDER denying 20 Motion for Relief from Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Chief Judge Anne C. Conway on 7/6/2014. (SR) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 07/07/2014)
2014-07-1024MOTION for summary judgment by U.S. Department of State. (Attachments: # 1 Attachment 1)(Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 07/10/2014)
2014-07-1025MILBURN ORDER re 24 Motion for summary judgment. Signed by Chief Judge Anne C. Conway on 7/10/2014. (SR) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 07/10/2014)
2014-07-11Set/reset deadlines as to 24 MOTION for summary judgment . Responses due by 8/15/2014 (LAB) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 07/11/2014)
2014-08-1526Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 24 MOTION for summary judgment by Freedom Watch, Inc.. (Klayman, Larry) Motions referred to Magistrate Judge Philip R. Lammens. [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 08/15/2014)
2014-08-1927ORDER granting 26 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply. Plaintiff shall file a response to Defendant's motion for summary judgment on or before August 25, 2014. Signed by Magistrate Judge Philip R. Lammens on 8/19/2014. (SEJ)[Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 08/19/2014)
2014-08-2528RESPONSE in Opposition re 24 MOTION for summary judgment filed by Freedom Watch, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Main Document Memorandum in Support of Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, # 2 Exhibit 1, # 3 Exhibit 2, # 4 Exhibit 3, # 5 Exhibit 4, # 6 Exhibit 5, # 7 Exhibit 6 -- Rule 56(d) Affidavit of Larry Klayman)(Klayman, Larry) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 08/25/2014)
2014-08-2829MOTION for leave to file Reply Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment by U.S. Department of State. (Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 08/28/2014)
2014-08-2830RESPONSE in Opposition re 29 MOTION for leave to file Reply Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Freedom Watch, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1)(Klayman, Larry) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 08/28/2014)
2014-09-0231ORDER granting 29 Motion for Leave to File Reply within 10 days. Signed by Chief Judge Anne C. Conway on 9/2/2014. (Conway, Anne) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 09/02/2014)
2014-09-1232REPLY to Response to Motion re 24 MOTION for summary judgment filed by U.S. Department of State. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 09/12/2014)
2014-10-0733Supplemental MOTION for miscellaneous relief, specifically Seeking Relief from Orders Denying Defendant's Motion to Dismiss by U.S. Department of State. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Mehta, Jason) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 10/07/2014)
2014-10-2034MEMORANDUM in opposition re 33 Motion for Miscellaneous Relief filed by Freedom Watch, Inc.. (Klayman, Larry) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 10/20/2014)
2014-10-2735ORDER granting 33 Renewed Rule 60 Motion Seeking Relief from Orders Denying Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. The Court's Order Denying the State Department's Motion to Dismiss, filed on April 14, 2014 (Doc. No. 16 ), is SET ASIDE to the extent that the Court found the Middle District of Florida to be the proper venue for this case. The Court now finds that venue is improper in the Middle District of Florida. In the interest of justice, and pursuant to 28. U.S.C. § 1406(a), this case is hereby TRANSFERRED to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The Clerk is directed to CLOSE this case. Signed by Chief Judge Anne C. Conway on 10/27/2014. (SR) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 10/27/2014)
2014-10-3036TRANSFER to the District of of Columbia. (LMF) [Transferred from Florida Middle on 11/3/2014.] (Entered: 10/30/2014)
2014-10-3037Case transferred in from District of Florida Middle; Case Number 5:13-cv-00419. Original file certified copy of transfer order and docket sheet received. (Additional attachment(s) added on 11/3/2014: # 2 Civil Cover Sheet) (rdj). (Entered: 11/03/2014)
2014-10-3038NOTICE to Counsel/Party (rdj) (Entered: 11/03/2014)
2014-10-3039NOTICE to Counsel/Party (td, ) (Entered: 11/06/2014)
2014-11-12MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that the parties shall appear for a status hearing on December 3, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 19. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 11/12/14. (lcjeb3) (Entered: 11/12/2014)
2014-11-12Set/Reset Hearing: A Status Conference is set for 12/03/2014 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 19 before Judge James E. Boasberg. (ad) (Entered: 11/12/2014)
2014-11-1840NOTICE of Appearance by Larry E. Klayman on behalf of FREEDOM WATCH, INC. (Klayman, Larry) (Entered: 11/18/2014)
2014-11-1841MOTION for Leave to Appear Telephonically at the Status Conference of December 3, 2014 re Set/Reset Hearings by FREEDOM WATCH, INC. (Klayman, Larry) (Entered: 11/18/2014)
2014-11-19MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that Plaintiff's 41 Motion for Leave to Appear Telephonically at the December 3, 2014, Status Conference is GRANTED. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 11/19/14. (lcjeb3) (Entered: 11/19/2014)
2014-11-2542Consent MOTION to Continue Status Hearing by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (Pfaffenroth, Peter) (Entered: 11/25/2014)
2014-11-26MINUTE ORDER granting Defendant's 42 Consent Motion to Continue the Status Hearing. The Court ORDERS that the status hearing scheduled for December 3, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. is VACATED and RESCHEDULED for December 10, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 11/26/14. (lcjeb3) (Entered: 11/26/2014)
2014-11-26Set/Reset Hearings: The Status Conference set for 12/03/2014 at 10:00 AM is hereby VACATED and RESCHEDULED for 12/10/2014 at 10:30 AM in Courtroom 19 before Judge James E. Boasberg. (ad) (Entered: 11/26/2014)
2014-12-10Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge James E. Boasberg: Status Conference held on 12/10/2014. Larry E. Klayman appeared by telephone. Order forthcoming. (Court Reporter Lisa Griffith) (ad) (Entered: 12/10/2014)
2014-12-1043SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM to re 28 Memorandum in Opposition, filed by FREEDOM WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1)(Klayman, Larry) (Entered: 12/10/2014)
2014-12-1944RESPONSE re 43 Supplemental Memorandum filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Pfaffenroth, Peter) (Entered: 12/19/2014)
2015-01-0845ORDER: The Court ORDERS that: 1) Defendant State Department's 24 Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED; and 2) Judgment is ENTERED in favor of State and against Plaintiff. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 01/08/15. (lcjeb3) (Entered: 01/08/2015)
2015-01-0846MEMORANDUM OPINION re 45 Order on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 01/08/15. (lcjeb3) (Entered: 01/08/2015)
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