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Case TitleWORLDNETDAILY.COM, INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2015cv00549
Date Filed2015-04-14
Date Closed2016-10-19
JudgeJudge Amy Berman Jackson
PlaintiffWORLDNETDAILY.COM, INC.
Case DescriptionWorldNetDaily.com submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for records concerning the investigation of the fatal shooting of Miriam Carey by U.S. Secret Service agents and U.S. Capitol Police officers. WorldNetDaily.com also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and denied the request for a fee waiver. WorldNetDaily.com agreed to pay $84 in estimated fees. But after hearing nothing further from the agency, WorldNetDaily.com filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Vaughn index, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantU.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Opinion/Order [22]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Amy Berman Jackson has ruled that a 96-page memo by the Assistant U.S. Attorneys considering whether to prosecute Secret Service agents and Capitol Police officers in the shooting death of Miriam Carey after her car was chased down in a restricted area near the Capitol is protected by Exemption 5 (deliberative process privilege). Worldnetdaily.com had requested records on the Carey shooting and decided to challenge only the declination memo. Worldnetdaily.com insisted the memo was the final decision and thus could not be considered predecisional. However, after reviewing the memo in camera. Jackson indicated that "it is unambiguously predecisional and deliberative in nature." Rejecting Worldnetdaily.com's assertion that it was the final decision, Jackson noted that "the document reveals that plaintiff is incorrect: the Declination Memo does not reflect a determination to decline to prosecute, but a recommendation that the United States Attorney decline to do so, along with the evidence and analysis supporting that recommendation." She observed that the memo "contains the recommendation of the investigating AUSAs as to what final decision should be reached by their supervisors in the future. The recipients of the Declination Memo could have agreed, disagreed, or called for further investigation or analysis." Worldnetdaily.com argued that it was not seeking the back and forth of deliberations, but Jackson explained that "that is precisely what the Declination Memo contains: the investigating AUSAs' frank assessment of the witnesses, the physical evidence, and the applicable law, as well as their ultimate recommendation as to the appropriate course of action."
Issues: Exemption 5 - Privileges - Deliberative process privilege - Deliberative, Exemption 5 - Privileges - Deliberative process privilege - Predecisional
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2015-04-141COMPLAINT against U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4056569) filed by WORLDNETDAILY.COM, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Summons U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, # 2 Summons U.S. Attorney General, # 3 Summons U.S. Department of Justice, # 4 Civil Cover Sheet)(Orfanedes, Paul) (Entered: 04/14/2015)
2015-04-142LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by WORLDNETDAILY.COM, INC. (Orfanedes, Paul) (Entered: 04/14/2015)
2015-04-14Case Assigned to Judge Amy Berman Jackson. (rd) (Entered: 04/14/2015)
2015-04-143SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Consent Form, # 2 Notice of Consent)(rd) (Entered: 04/14/2015)
2015-04-144MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- Lauren M. Burke, :Firm- Judicial Watch, Inc., :Address- 425 Third Street, SW Ste. 800. Phone No. - 202-646-5194. Fax No. - 202-646-5199 Filing fee $ 100, receipt number 0090-4056673. Fee Status: Fee Paid. by WORLDNETDAILY.COM, INC. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Lauren M. Burke, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 04/14/2015)
2015-04-15MINUTE ORDER granting 4 Motion for Leave of Lauren M. Burke to Appear Pro Hac Vice only upon condition that the lawyer admitted, or at least one member of the lawyer's firm, undergo CM/ECF training, obtain a CM/ECF username and password, and agree to file papers electronically. No court papers will be mailed to any lawyer. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 4/15/15. (DMK) (Entered: 04/15/2015)
2015-04-235RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 4/21/2015. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 5/21/2015.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 4/21/2015., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE served on 4/21/2015 (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of C. Rotaru)(Orfanedes, Paul) (Entered: 04/23/2015)
2015-06-046NOTICE of Appearance by Jean-Michel Voltaire on behalf of U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 06/04/2015)
2015-06-047Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 06/04/2015)
2015-06-10MINUTE ORDER granting 7 Defendant's Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to the Complaint Nunc Pro Tunc. It is ORDERED that defendant shall file its response to the complaint by June 25, 2015. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 6/10/15. (DMK) (Entered: 06/10/2015)
2015-06-11Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Response to the Complaint is now due by 6/25/2015. (jth) (Entered: 06/11/2015)
2015-06-248Defendant's ANSWER to Complaint by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit March 19, 2015 email, # 2 Exhibit September 17, 2014 letter, # 3 Exhibit November 25, 2014 email, # 4 Exhibit October 7, 2014 fee letter, # 5 Exhibit FOIA Request, # 6 Exhibit FOIA response letter, # 7 Exhibit FOIA response letter, # 8 Exhibit email acknowledgment, # 9 Exhibit email acknowledgment)(Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 06/24/2015)
2015-06-259ORDER. Before the Court in this FOIA case are a complaint and an answer. The requirements of Local Civil Rule 16.3 and Rule 26(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure appear to be inapplicable. Defendant shall file a dispositive motion or, in the alternative, a report setting forth the schedule according to which it will complete its production of documents to plaintiff on or before July 23, 2015. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 6/25/2015. (lcabj2) (Entered: 06/25/2015)
2015-06-26Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Dispositive Motion or, in the alternative, a report setting forth the schedule according to which it will complete its production of documents to plaintiff is due by 7/23/2015. (zjth) (Entered: 06/26/2015)
2015-07-2310STATUS REPORT and REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO FILE A STATUS REPORT TO SET A PRODUCTION SCHEDULE by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 07/23/2015)
2015-07-23NOTICE OF ERROR re 10 Status Report; emailed to jean.michel.voltaire@usdoj.gov, cc'd 3 associated attorneys -- The PDF file you docketed contained errors: 1. Two-part docket entry, 2. Please refile document, 3. same document using the motions event (jf, ) (Entered: 07/23/2015)
2015-07-2311Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 07/23/2015)
2015-07-24MINUTE ORDER granting 11 Motion for Extension of Time to File Status Report. Defendant shall file a status report setting forth the schedule according to which it will complete its production of documents to plaintiff on or before August 28, 2015. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 7/24/2015. (lcabj2) (Entered: 07/24/2015)
2015-07-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Status Report, setting forth the schedule according to which it will complete its production of documents to plaintiff, is due by 8/28/2015. (jth) (Entered: 07/24/2015)
2015-08-1712STATUS REPORT and Proposed Production Schedule by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration)(Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 08/17/2015)
2015-08-17MINUTE ORDER. In light of 12 defendant's status report, it is ORDERED that defendant shall make rolling productions to plaintiff of responsive, non-exempt documents every fifteen days, starting on or before September 8, 2015, and shall complete the production by October 15, 2015. It is FURTHER ORDERED that defendant shall file an additional report on the status of the production on October 15, 2015. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 8/17/2015. (lcabj2) (Entered: 08/17/2015)
2015-08-18Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Report on the Status of Production of Documents to Plaintiff is due by 10/15/2015. (jth) (Entered: 08/18/2015)
2015-10-1513STATUS REPORT on the Status of Production of Documents by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 10/15/2015)
2015-10-16MINUTE ORDER. In light of 13 defendant's status report, it is ORDERED that defendant shall file another report on November 16, 2015, advising the Court of the status of the review and/or production of the documents referred to other agencies. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 10/16/2015. (lcabj2) (Entered: 10/16/2015)
2015-10-16Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant shall file another Report on 11/16/2015, advising the Court of the Status of the review and/or production of the documents referred to other agencies. (jth) (Entered: 10/16/2015)
2015-11-1614STATUS REPORT of the Status of Referred Documents to Other Agencies by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit USCP Letter)(Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 11/16/2015)
2015-11-17MINUTE ORDER. In light of 14 defendant's status report, it is ORDERED that defendant shall produce a Vaughn Index of its records to plaintiff on or before January 15, 2016, and it is FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall submit a joint report on January 22, 2016, proposing a briefing schedule, if necessary. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 11/17/2015. (lcabj2) (Entered: 11/17/2015)
2015-11-22Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant shall produce a Vaughn Index by 1/15/2016. The parties shall submit a Joint Report on 1/22/2016, and proposing a briefing schedule, if necessary. (jth) (Entered: 11/22/2015)
2016-01-2215Joint STATUS REPORT by WORLDNETDAILY.COM, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 01/22/2016)
2016-01-26MINUTE ORDER. In light of 15 the parties' joint status report, it is ORDERED that the parties shall submit a further joint status report on February 12, 2016, proposing a briefing schedule, if necessary. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 1/26/2016. (lcabj2) (Entered: 01/26/2016)
2016-01-27Set/Reset Deadlines: The Parties shall file a further Joint Status Report proposing a Briefing Schedule, if necessary, by 2/12/2016. (jth) (Entered: 01/27/2016)
2016-02-1216Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 02/12/2016)
2016-02-12MINUTE ORDER. In light of 16 the parties' joint status report, it is ORDERED that the parties shall submit a further joint status report on March 15, 2016, proposing a briefing schedule, if necessary. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 2/12/2016. (lcabj2) (Entered: 02/12/2016)
2016-02-12Set/Reset Deadlines: The Parties shall file a further Joint Status Report proposing a Briefing Schedule, if necessary, by 3/15/2016. (jth) (Entered: 02/12/2016)
2016-03-1517PROPOSED BRIEFING SCHEDULE by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 03/15/2016)
2016-03-15MINUTE ORDER. Pursuant to 17 the parties' joint status report and proposed briefing schedule, it is ORDERED that defendant's motion for summary judgment shall be filed on or before April 29, 2016; plaintiff's opposition shall be filed on or before May 31, 2016; and defendant's reply shall be filed on or before June 24, 2016. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 3/15/2016. (lcabj2) (Entered: 03/15/2016)
2016-03-16Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is due by 4/29/2016; Plaintiff's Opposition is due by 5/31/2016; Defendant's Reply is due by 6/24/2016. (jth) (Entered: 03/16/2016)
2016-04-2918MOTION for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Memorandum in Support, # 3 Declaration Theresa Jones, # 4 Declaration Princina Stone, # 5 Exhibit Vaughn Index, # 6 Text of Proposed Order)(Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 04/29/2016)
2016-05-3119Memorandum in opposition to re 18 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by WORLDNETDAILY.COM, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Declaration, # 3 Exhibit to Declaration of Garth Kant, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 05/31/2016)
2016-06-2420REPLY to opposition to motion re 18 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit July 10, 2014 letter)(Voltaire, Jean-Michel) (Entered: 06/24/2016)
2016-09-14MINUTE ORDER. To assist the Court in resolving 18 the pending motion for summary judgment, it is ORDERED that defendant shall deliver the following record for the Court's in camera review on or before September 16, 2016: the document described in defendant's memorandum as "the 96-page Memorandum written by the investigative Assistant United States Attorneys to their supervisors recommending against prosecution." See Ray v. Turner, 587 F.2d 1187, 1195 (D.C. Cir. 1978). Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 9/14/2016. (lcabj2) (Entered: 09/14/2016)
2016-09-14Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant shall deliver the following record for the Court's in camera review by 9/16/2016: the document described in defendant's memorandum as "the 96-page Memorandum written by the investigative Assistant United States Attorneys to their supervisors recommending against prosecution." (jth) (Entered: 09/14/2016)
2016-10-1921ORDER. Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 56 and 58 and for the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum Opinion, 18 defendant's motion for summary judgment is hereby GRANTED. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 10/19/2016. (lcabj2) (Entered: 10/19/2016)
2016-10-1922MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 10/19/2016. (lcabj2) (Entered: 10/19/2016)
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by FOIA Project Staff