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Case TitleELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER v. UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2015cv00667
Date Filed2015-05-01
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Christopher R. Cooper
PlaintiffELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER
Case DescriptionEPIC submitted a FOIA request to the Drug Enforcement Administration for records concerning Privacy Impact Assessments conducted by DEA that are not publicly available. EPIC requested inclusion in the media fee category and asked for a fee waiver as well. DEA acknowledged receipt of EPIC's request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, EPIC filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Public Interest Fee Waiver, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantUNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Opinion/Order [24]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Christopher Cooper has ruled that the DEA has not yet shown that it conducted an adequate search for Privacy Impact Assessments required under the E-Government Act because it has failed to explain why it did not expand its search to locate four PIAs that were unaccounted for after EPIC had found evidence of such PIAs in final determination letters from the Justice Department's Office of Privacy and Civil Liberties. EPIC sent a request to the DEA for all PIAs for agency information collection systems that were not available on its website and all initial privacy assessments conducted by the DEA since 2007. OPCL assists Justice components like the DEA to assess the need for PIAs. If OPCL determines a PIA is required, the agency must submit the assessment to OPCL for final approval and post it publicly as long as the system continues in use. The agency searched its Chief Information Officer Support Unit, which acts as a liaison between OPCL and DEA's Senior Component Office for Privacy. SCOP is responsible for approving PIAs before CIOSU submits them to OPCL for final authorization. CIOSU conducted the search for records responsive to EPIC's request. It found only one non-public PIA, which was released to EPIC. The agency told EPIC that initial privacy assessments were essentially working drafts and that the final approval determination letters from OPCL represented the final product. EPIC agreed to accept the 13 OPCL determination letters, which were reviewed and released by OPCL. The OPCL determination letters revealed that OPCL had requested four PIAs from the DEA that were not available online and had not been uncovered in the DEA's initial search. As a result, the DEA re-ran its initial search and still came up with nothing. EPIC made three challenges to the adequacy of the agency's search. Cooper rejected EPIC's claim that DEA had improperly narrowed its search to CIOSU. Cooper accepted the agency's explanation, noting that "the DEA, not its FOIA requestors, is charged with determining the most effective way to search its records." He also dismissed EPIC's claim that inserting the word "final" into the search had improperly limited the search, pointing out that "the CIOSU conducted specific searches based on program names provided by EPIC without adding 'final' as a search term. These searches yielded no additional results." But he agreed with EPIC that once the four unaccounted for PIAs came to light as a result of the OPCL determination letters the agency was required to pursue such a lead. He observed that "if the SCOP had reviewed and approved a final PIA without returning it to the CIOSU, a final version of the PIA might remain with the SCOP. The CIOSU did not explain why searching the SCOP, once EPIC presented evidence of potential [additional] PIAs, was not likely to uncover responsive records. The OPCL letters provide a 'lead' that the CIOSU failed to reasonably follow."
Issues: Adequacy - Search
Opinion/Order [36]
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2015-05-011COMPLAINT against UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4076733) filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons Drug Enforcement Administration, # 3 Summons US Attorney for the District of Columbia, # 4 Summons Attorney General for the United States of America)(Horwitz, Julia) (Entered: 05/01/2015)
2015-05-012LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Horwitz, Julia) (Entered: 05/01/2015)
2015-05-01Case Assigned to Judge Christopher R. Cooper. (md, ) (Entered: 05/01/2015)
2015-05-043SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Notice of Consent) (md, ) (Entered: 05/04/2015)
2015-05-114RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 5/11/2015. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 6/10/2015. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit Drug Enforcement Administration, # 2 Affidavit US Attorney for the District of Columbia, # 3 Affidavit Attorney General of the United States, # 4 Exhibit Receipt for Certified Mail - Drug Enforcement Administration, # 5 Exhibit Receipt for Certified Mail - US Attorney for the District of Columbia, # 6 Exhibit Receipt for Certified Mail - Attorney General of the United States)(Horwitz, Julia) (Entered: 05/11/2015)
2015-05-115NOTICE of Appearance by Marc Rotenberg on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 05/11/2015)
2015-05-116RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION served on 5/7/2015, RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 5/11/15. (td, ); (See docket entry no. 4 to view documents) (Entered: 05/11/2015)
2015-05-117NOTICE of Appearance by Alan Jay Butler on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Butler, Alan) (Entered: 05/11/2015)
2015-05-208NOTICE of Appearance by Joshua M. Kolsky on behalf of UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 05/20/2015)
2015-06-099NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Kathryn L. Wyer on behalf of UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION Substituting for attorney Joshua M. Kolsky (Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 06/09/2015)
2015-06-0910Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to Plaintiff's Complaint by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 06/09/2015)
2015-06-10MINUTE ORDER granting 10 Motion for Extension of Time; it is further ORDERED that Defendant shall file its response to Plaintiff's Complaint on or before June 24, 2015. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 6/10/2015. (lccrc2, ) (Entered: 06/10/2015)
2015-06-2411ANSWER to Complaint by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION.(Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 06/24/2015)
2015-06-29MINUTE ORDER: Before the Court in this FOIA case are a complaint and an answer. It is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall promptly confer and file a joint proposed schedule for briefing or disclosure by July 15, 2015. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 6/29/2015. (lccrc2, ) (Entered: 06/29/2015)
2015-07-1512STATUS REPORT : Joint Proposed Schedule by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION. (Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 07/15/2015)
2015-07-20MINUTE ORDER:In light of the parties Joint Status Report filed on 7/15/2015, it is hereby ORDERED that the court ADOPTS the parties proposed schedule as follows: Defendant shall produce to Plaintiff any non-exempt records responsive to Plaintiffs FOIA request, by U.S. mail, on or before August 27, 2015. The parties shall then confer and submit a joint status report on or before October 1, 2015, indicating whether they anticipate the need for further proceedings in this case and, if appropriate, proposing a briefing schedule at that time. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 7/20/2015. (tcr) (Entered: 07/20/2015)
2015-08-1313NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. Attorney Julia Horwitz terminated. (Horwitz, Julia) (Entered: 08/13/2015)
2015-09-2114NOTICE of Appearance by Jeramie D. Scott on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Scott, Jeramie) (Entered: 09/21/2015)
2015-10-0115Joint STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION. (Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 10/01/2015)
2015-10-01MINUTE ORDER: In light of the parties' 15 Joint Status Report, the parties shall confer and submit a joint status report on or before October 22, 2015, indicating whether they anticipate the need for further proceedings in this case and, if appropriate, proposing a briefing schedule at that time. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 10/1/2015. (lccrc2) (Entered: 10/01/2015)
2015-10-2216Joint STATUS REPORT and Proposed Schedule by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Scott, Jeramie) (Entered: 10/22/2015)
2015-10-23ORDER: The parties shall abide by the following briefing schedule in this case: Defendant shall file its Motion for Summary Judgment on or before December 22, 2015. Plaintiff shall file its consolidated Opposition and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment on or before January 22, 2016. Defendant shall file its consolidated Opposition and Reply on or before February 5, 2016. Plaintiff shall file its Reply on or before February 19, 2016. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 10/23/2015. (lccrc2) (Entered: 10/23/2015)
2015-12-2217MOTION for Summary Judgment by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Declaration of Katherine L. Myrick, # 4 Exhibit A to Myrick Declaration, # 5 Exhibit B to Myrick Declaration, # 6 Exhibit C to Myrick Declaration, # 7 Exhibit D to Myrick Declaration, # 8 Text of Proposed Order)(Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 12/22/2015)
2016-01-2218Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit 1, # 3 Exhibit 2, # 4 Exhibit 3, # 5 Statement of Facts, # 6 Text of Proposed Order)(Scott, Jeramie) (Entered: 01/22/2016)
2016-01-2219Memorandum in opposition to re 17 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit 1, # 3 Exhibit 2, # 4 Exhibit 3, # 5 Statement of Facts, # 6 Text of Proposed Order)(Scott, Jeramie) (Entered: 01/23/2016)
2016-02-0320MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 18 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment , 17 MOTION for Summary Judgment by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 02/03/2016)
2016-02-03MINUTE ORDER granting 20 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 18 Cross-MOTION for Summary Judgment. The Government shall have until March 9, 2016 to file its consolidated Opposition and Reply. It is further ORDERED that Plaintiff's Reply in support of its motion shall be due on March 23, 2016. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 2/3/16. (lccrc2) (Entered: 02/03/2016)
2016-03-0921REPLY to opposition to motion re 17 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration (Second) of Katherine L. Myrick, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 03/09/2016)
2016-03-0922Memorandum in opposition to re 18 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration (Second) of Katherine L. Myrick, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 03/09/2016)
2016-03-2323REPLY to opposition to motion re 18 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts)(Scott, Jeramie) (Entered: 03/24/2016)
2016-09-1324MEMORANDUM OPINION re 17 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and 18 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 9/13/2016. (lccrc2) (Entered: 09/13/2016)
2016-09-1325ORDER granting in part and denying in part 17 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, and denying in part and reserving judgment in part on 18 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. Please refer to full order for further details. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 9/13/2016. (lccrc2) (Entered: 09/13/2016)
2016-10-0526Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Supplement to Record by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-07MINUTE ORDER granting 26 Consent Motion for Extension of Time to Supplement the Record. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall supplement the record and file its renewed Motion for Summary Judgment by October 27, 2016, and Plaintiff shall file its consolidated opposition and renewed Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment by November 10, 2016. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 10/7/2016. (lccrc2) (Entered: 10/07/2016)
2016-10-07Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motions due by 10/27/2016. Cross Motions due by 11/10/2016. (zlsj) (Entered: 10/07/2016)
2016-10-2727Second MOTION for Summary Judgment by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Third Declaration of Katherine L. Myrick, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 10/27/2016)
2016-11-0928MOTION to Vacate Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File, Supplement to the Record by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Scott, Jeramie) (Entered: 11/09/2016)
2016-11-1029ORDER granting 27 Defendant's Second Motion for Summary Judgment and granting 28 Plaintiff's Motion to Vacate the Briefing Schedule. It is further ORDERED that parties shall submit a joint status report by December 9, 2016. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 11/10/2016. (lccrc2) (Entered: 11/10/2016)
2016-11-10Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 12/9/2016. (zlsj) (Entered: 11/10/2016)
2016-11-10ENTERED IN ERROR.....ORDER granting 28 Motion to Vacate 29 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment. Refer to Order for details. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 11/10/2016. (zlsj) Modified on 11/14/2016 (znmw). (Entered: 11/10/2016)
2016-11-14NOTICE OF CORRECTED DOCKET ENTRY: re Order on Motion to Vacate was entered in error and will not be refiled. (znmw) (Entered: 11/14/2016)
2016-12-0930Joint STATUS REPORT and Proposed Schedule by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Scott, Jeramie) (Entered: 12/09/2016)
2016-12-09MINUTE ORDER: In light of 30 parties' Joint Status Report and Proposed Schedule, it is hereby ORDERED that the briefing schedule be established as follows: Plaintiff shall file its Motion for Attorney's Fees by December 16, 2016; Defendant shall file its Opposition by January 13, 2017; and Plaintiff shall file its Reply by January 27, 2017. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 12/9/2016. (lccrc2) (Entered: 12/09/2016)
2016-12-12Set/Reset Deadlines: Motion for Attorney's Fees due by 12/16/2016. Responses due by 1/13/2017. Replies due by 1/27/2017. (zlsj) (Entered: 12/12/2016)
2016-12-1631MOTION for Attorney Fees by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Declaration of T. John Tran, # 3 Exhibit A, # 4 Exhibit B, # 5 Exhibit C, # 6 Exhibit D, # 7 Exhibit E, # 8 Exhibit F, # 9 Exhibit G, # 10 Affidavit of Marc Rotenberg, # 11 Affidavit of Alan Butler, # 12 Affidavit of Jeramie D. Scott, # 13 Affidavit of Julia Horwitz, # 14 Affidavit of T. John Tran, # 15 Text of Proposed Order)(Scott, Jeramie) (Entered: 12/16/2016)
2017-01-1132Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 31 MOTION for Attorney Fees by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 01/11/2017)
2017-01-11MINUTE ORDER granting 32 Defendant's Motion for Extension of Time to File an Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees and Costs. It is hereby ORDERED that the briefing schedule be amended as follows: Defendant's opposition shall be due by February 1, 2017 and Plaintiff's reply in support of its motion shall be due by February 17, 2017. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 1/11/2017. (lccrc2) (Entered: 01/11/2017)
2017-02-0133Memorandum in opposition to re 31 MOTION for Attorney Fees filed by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION. (Attachments: # 1 Fourth Declaration of Katherine L. Myrick, # 2 Exhibit A - EPIC News Release (May 1, 2015), # 3 Exhibit B - EPIC News Release (Nov. 7, 2016), # 4 Exhibit C - EPIC Alert 23.21 (excerpt), # 5 Exhibit D - E-mail from Marc Rotenberg (Dec. 6, 2016), # 6 Exhibit E - Declaration of Laura A. Malowane, # 7 Exhibit F - USAO Matrix (2015-2017), # 8 Exhibit G - Laffey Matrix (2014-2015), # 9 Text of Proposed Order)(Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 02/01/2017)
2017-02-1734REPLY to opposition to motion re 31 MOTION for Attorney Fees filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Affidavit of Alan Butler, # 3 Affidavit of Marc Rotenberg, # 4 Affidavit of John Davisson)(Butler, Alan) (Entered: 02/17/2017)
2017-07-1835ORDER granting in part and denying in part 31 Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney Fees. It is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a joint proposed order on or by July 26, 2017 prescribing the total amount of attorneys' fees and costs re-calculated in a manner consistent with the accompanying Memorandum Opinion. Please see Order for full details. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 7/18/2017. (lccrc2) (Entered: 07/18/2017)
2017-07-1836MEMORANDUM OPINION re 31 Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney Fees. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 7/18/2017. (lccrc2) (Entered: 07/18/2017)
2017-07-2537Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Joint Proposed Order by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 07/25/2017)
2017-07-26MINUTE ORDER granting 37 Defendant's Consent Motion for an Extension of Time to File the Joint Proposed Order. It is hereby ORDERED that parties shall submit the Joint Proposed Order on or by August 2, 2017. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 7/26/2017. (lccrc2) (Entered: 07/26/2017)
2017-08-0238NOTICE of Proposed Order by UNITED STATES DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION re 35 Order on Motion for Attorney Fees, Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File, (Wyer, Kathryn) (Entered: 08/02/2017)
2017-08-0239ORDER: Upon consideration of 38 parties' joint submission, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall pay Plaintiff attorney's fees and costs in the amount of $9,078.53 within 45 days of this Order. See Order for full details. Signed by Judge Christopher R. Cooper on 8/2/2017. (lccrc2) (Entered: 08/02/2017)
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