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Case TitleATTKISSON et al v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2014cv01944
Date Filed2014-11-19
Date Closed2016-09-07
JudgeJudge Amit P. Mehta
PlaintiffSHARYL ATTKISSON
PlaintiffJUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
Case DescriptionJournalist Sharyl Attkisson and Judicial Watch submitted FOIA requests to the FBI for records concerning Attkisson. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and asked Judicial Watch to submit a certification of identity form signed by Attkisson. Attkisson provided the form, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Attkisson and Judicial Watch filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation - Vaughn index, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantU.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DefendantDAVID ANDREW CHRISTENSON
AppealD.C. Circuit 15-5077
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Opinion/Order [33]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Amit Mehta has ruled that the FBI conducted an adequate search for records concerning journalist Sharyl Attkisson. Attkisson and Judicial Watch requested her records from the FBI. They filed suit before the agency had responded. The agency responded during the pendency of the litigation, disclosing six redacted pages released to Attkisson as part of a previous request, and, five months later, an additional unredacted page. Attkisson challenged the adequacy of the agency search, claiming that it had failed to use phonetic variations of her name and that based on her experience the agency should have more records. Indicating that the FBI had not explained its use of phonetic variations of Attkisson's name until its supplemental affidavit, Mehta observed that "because a phonetic name search in this case yielded a small number of records, the court finds that it was reasonable for the FBI not to rely on the requestor's date of birth and social security number to identify responsive records." Finding the agency's affidavit explaining its search sufficient, Mehta pointed out that "[the agency's] affidavits are afforded 'a presumption of good faith, which cannot be rebutted by purely speculative claims,' such as Plaintiffs' contention that certain records should exist."
Issues: Adequacy - Search
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2014-11-191COMPLAINT against U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-3910555) filed by SHARYL ATTKISSON. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, # 3 Summons U.S. Attorney General, # 4 Summons Department of Justice)(Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 11/19/2014)
2014-11-192ENTERED IN ERROR.....LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. (Bekesha, Michael) Modified on 11/19/2014 (kb). (Entered: 11/19/2014)
2014-11-193LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. (Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 11/19/2014)
2014-11-19Case Assigned to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. (kb) (Entered: 11/19/2014)
2014-11-194SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General. (kb) (Entered: 11/19/2014)
2014-11-215GENERAL ORDER AND GUIDELINES FOR CIVIL CASES BEFORE JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON. The Court will hold the parties and counsel responsible for following these directives; failure to conform to this Order may, when appropriate, result in the imposition of sanctions. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 11/21/2014. (lckbj1) (Entered: 11/21/2014)
2014-12-016RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 12/1/2014. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 12/31/2014.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 12/1/2014., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE served on 12/1/2014 (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Cristina Rotaru)(Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 12/01/2014)
2014-12-197NOTICE of Appearance by Alexander Daniel Shoaibi on behalf of U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 12/19/2014)
2014-12-198Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to Complaint by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 12/19/2014)
2014-12-22MINUTE ORDER granting, for good cause shown, 8 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. Defendant shall answer or otherwise respond to the complaint by 1/16/2013. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 12/22/2014. (lckbj1) (Entered: 12/22/2014)
2015-01-129MOTION for Joinder by DAVID ANDREW CHRISTENSON (jf, ) (Entered: 01/13/2015)
2015-01-14Case randomly reassigned to Judge Amit P. Mehta. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson no longer assigned to the case. (gt, ) (Entered: 01/14/2015)
2015-01-1610ANSWER to Complaint by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.(Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 01/16/2015)
2015-01-2711RESPONSE re 9 MOTION for Joinder filed by SHARYL ATTKISSON, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 01/27/2015)
2015-01-3013MEMORANDUM by DAVID ANDREW CHRISTENSON. (jf, ) (Entered: 02/04/2015)
2015-02-0212REPLY to opposition to motion re 9 MOTION for Joinder filed by DAVID ANDREW CHRISTENSON. (rdj) (Entered: 02/04/2015)
2015-03-0214ORDER denying 9 Motion for Joinder filed by David Andrew Christenson. See attached order for further details. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 03/02/2015. (lcapm1) (Entered: 03/02/2015)
2015-03-1715NOTICE OF APPEAL as to 14 Order on Motion for Joinder by DAVID ANDREW CHRISTENSON. Fee Status: No Fee Paid. Parties have been notified. (rdj) (Entered: 03/17/2015)
2015-03-1716Transmission of the Notice of Appeal, Order Appealed, and Docket Sheet to US Court of Appeals. The Fee remains to be paid and another notice will be transmitted when the fee has been paid in the District Court re 15 Notice of Appeal. (rdj) (Entered: 03/17/2015)
2015-03-20USCA Case Number 15-5077 for 15 Notice of Appeal filed by DAVID ANDREW CHRISTENSON. (md, ) (Entered: 03/20/2015)
2015-03-2017ORDER of USCA as to 15 Notice of Appeal filed by DAVID ANDREW CHRISTENSON. ORDERED, on the court's own motion, that by April 20, 2015, appellant either pay the $505 appellate docketing and filing fees to the Clerk of the District Court, see Fed. R. App. P. 3(e); 28 U.S.C. § 1917, or file a motion in district court for leave to proceed on appeal in forma pauperis, see Fed. R. App. P. 24(a). USCA Case Number 15-5077. (rd) (Entered: 03/23/2015)
2015-03-2318NOTICE of Filing with the United States Supreme Court by DAVID ANDREW CHRISTENSON (rdj) (Entered: 03/25/2015)
2015-04-0119ORDER. Both a complaint and an answer are now before the court in this FOIA case. It is hereby ordered that the parties shall meet and confer and file a Joint Status Report not later than April 15, 2015. Please see the attached Order for additional details. Signed by Amit P. Mehta on 04/01/2015. (lcapm1) (Entered: 04/01/2015)
2015-04-01Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 4/15/2015. (cdw) (Entered: 04/02/2015)
2015-04-1420STATUS REPORT (Joint) by SHARYL ATTKISSON, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 04/14/2015)
2015-04-16MINUTE ORDER: Parties shall file a Joint Status Report on or before April 28, 2015. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 04/16/2015. (lcapm1) (Entered: 04/16/2015)
2015-04-16Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 4/28/2015. (cdw) (Entered: 04/20/2015)
2015-04-2321STATUS REPORT (Joint) by SHARYL ATTKISSON. (Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 04/23/2015)
2015-04-23MINUTE ORDER: The parties are directed to file a Status Report on or before May 25, 2015, relating to Items B and C as defined in their 21 Status Report filed on April 23, 2015. The Status Report should set forth (1) the quantity of potentially responsive documents; (2) the number of documents produced by that date; and (3) the anticipated date of completion for the production. It is further ordered that briefing regarding Item A, also defined in the parties' 21 Status Report filed on April 23, 2015, is set according to the following schedule: Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before July 13, 2015; Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before August 10, 2015; Defendant's Reply in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment and its Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before September 8, 2015; and Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of their Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before September 22, 2015. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 04/23/2015. (lcapm1) (Entered: 04/23/2015)
2015-04-23Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Status Report due by 5/25/2015. Defendant's Summary Judgment motion due by 7/13/2015. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/10/2015. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 9/8/2015. Plaintiffs' Cross Motion due by 8/10/2015. Response to Cross Motion due by 9/8/2015. Reply to Cross Motion due by 9/22/2015. (cdw) (Entered: 04/27/2015)
2015-05-2022STATUS REPORT (Joint) by SHARYL ATTKISSON, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 05/20/2015)
2015-07-0923Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 07/09/2015)
2015-07-10MINUTE ORDER granting 23 Consent Motion for Enlargement of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment. It is further ordered that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before August 12, 2015; Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before September 9, 2015; Defendant's Reply in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment and its Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before October 8, 2015; and Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of their Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before October 22, 2015. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 07/10/2015. (lcapm1) (Entered: 07/10/2015)
2015-07-10Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Defendant's Summary Judgment motion due by 8/12/2015. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 9/9/2015. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 10/8/2015. Plaintiffs' Cross Motion due by 9/9/2015. Response to Cross Motion due by 10/8/2015. Reply to Cross Motions due by 10/22/2015. (cdw) (Entered: 07/13/2015)
2015-07-2824MANDATE of USCA (certified copy) as to 15 Notice of Appeal filed by DAVID ANDREW CHRISTENSON. ORDERED that this case be dismissed for lack of prosecution. USCA Case Number 15-5077. (rd) (Entered: 07/29/2015)
2015-08-1225Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 08/12/2015)
2015-08-12MINUTE ORDER granting 25 Consent Motion for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment. It is further ordered that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before August 26, 2015; Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before September 23, 2015; Defendant's Reply in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment and its Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before October 22, 2015; and Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of their Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before November 4, 2015. No further extensions will be granted absent extraordinary circumstances. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 08/12/2015. (lcapm1) (Entered: 08/12/2015)
2015-08-12Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Defendant's Summary Judgment motion due by 8/26/2015. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 9/23/2015. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 10/22/2015. Plaintiffs' Cross Motion due by 9/23/2015. Response to Cross Motion due by 10/22/2015. Reply to Cross Motion due by 11/4/2015. (cdw) (Entered: 08/13/2015)
2015-08-2126MOTION for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of David H. Hardy)(Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 08/21/2015)
2015-09-2127Memorandum in opposition to re 26 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by SHARYL ATTKISSON, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 09/21/2015)
2015-09-2128Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by SHARYL ATTKISSON, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 09/21/2015)
2015-09-2129NOTICE OF FILING REDACTED DOCUMENT to 26 MOTION for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (The original PDF Document contained privacy information and was restricted pursuant to the E-Government Act.) (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Redacted Version)(Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 09/21/2015)
2015-10-2830Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Opposition to Cross-motion for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 10/28/2015)
2015-10-29MINUTE ORDER granting 30 Consent Motion for Extension of Time to File Opposition to Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. It is furthered ordered that Defendant's Reply in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment and its Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before November 5, 2015; and Plaintiffs' Reply in Support of their Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before November 18, 2015. The court appreciates counsel's candor in explaining the missed deadline. No further extensions will be granted. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 10/29/2015. (lcapm1) (Entered: 10/29/2015)
2015-10-29Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Defendant's Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 11/5/2015. Defendant's Response to Cross Motion due by 11/5/2015. Plaintiffs' Reply to Cross Motion due by 11/18/2015. (cdw) (Entered: 10/29/2015)
2015-11-0531Memorandum in opposition to re 28 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Exhibit A Cover Sheet, # 2 Declaration Second Declaration of David M. Hardy)(Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 11/05/2015)
2015-11-0932REPLY to opposition to motion re 28 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by SHARYL ATTKISSON, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Bekesha, Michael) (Entered: 11/09/2015)
2016-09-0733MEMORANDUM OPINION re: 26 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and 28 Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 09/07/2016. (lcapm2) (Entered: 09/07/2016)
2016-09-0734ORDER granting 26 Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and denying 28 Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. See the attached Order for further details. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 09/07/2016. (lcapm2) (Entered: 09/07/2016)
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by FOIA Project Staff