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Case TitleMcCash v. Central Intelligence Agency et al
DistrictNorthern District of California
CitySan Jose
Case Number5:2015cv02308
Date Filed2015-05-22
Date Closed2017-03-20
JudgeHon. Edward J. Davila
PlaintiffTania McCash
Case DescriptionTania McCash submitted FOIA requests to the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI for records about herself. The CIA denied her request. McCash appealed the agency's decision and the CIA upheld its original decision on appeal. The NSA denied McCash's request. She filed an appeal with the NSA, but heard nothing further from the agency. The FBI told McCash it found no records. McCash appealed the agency's denial to OIP, which upheld the FBI's original decision. McCash filed suit against all three agencies.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Vaughn index, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantCentral Intelligence Agency
DefendantNational Security Agency
DefendantU. S. Department of Justice
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Opinion/Order [18]
Opinion/Order [19]
Opinion/Order [39]
FOIA Project Annotation: A judge in California has ruled that the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI all conducted adequate searches for records pertaining to Tania McCash. The court also approved the FBI's redactions under Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), but found the agency had not yet shown why two withheld pages could not be segregated. McCash requested her records from all three agencies without providing any further information about why she thought the agencies might have records on her. Both the CIA and the NSA issued Glomar responses, neither confirming nor denying the existence of records, while the FBI searched its central records system and found no records. McCash told the CIA that she had sent letters by fax to the agency and the agency located those records and disclosed them. McCash told the FBI that she had filed several different complaints and, through a cross-reference search, the agency located 44 pages of records. The FBI disclosed 10 pages in full and 32 pages with redactions, withholding two pages entirely. McCash argued the searches conducted by all three agencies were inadequate because they had not found communications she had with the agencies. Addressing the CIA's search, the court noted that "the CIA's failure to identify or flag these communications as responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA request does not suggest that the entirety of the search itself was inadequate." The court approved the NSA's search as well, observing that "pursuant to protocol, the NSA does not conduct a search for prior correspondence from the requester as part of a regular FOIA search unless the requester specifically asks that the NSA do so, or provides additional 'amplifying' information in their FOIA request. Plaintiff made no such request in this case." Explaining that the FBI conducted three separate searches, the court pointed out that "the CRS search did locate certain documents responsive to Plaintiff's request, but the FBI identified nothing in those documents or its other records to suggest that additional responsive information would result from another search." The court found the Glomar responses issued by the CIA and the NSA were appropriate under Exemption 1 (national security). The court indicated that "both agencies provided detailed declarations identifying and explaining the potential threat to national security posed by confirming or denying the existence or nonexistence of classified records responsive to Plaintiff's request." The court found the FBI's Exemption 7(C) redactions of agency personnel appropriate, but faulted the agency for its superficial explanation of why the two withheld documents could not be redacted instead. The court noted that "an agency may not simply conclude that there is no segregable information without explaining its reasons for such a conclusion. While the agency is not required to provide 'such a detailed justification that would itself compromise the secret nature of potential exempt information,' it must provide some explanation for why non-exempt portions of the documents cannot be segregated and released. The FBI has offered no such explanation here."
Issues: Adequacy - Search, Exemption 7(C) - Invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records, Segregability - Disclosure of all non-exempt records
Opinion/Order [51]
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2015-05-221COMPLAINT (summons issued) against Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice (Filing fee $ 400.). Filed by Tania McCash. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/22/2015) (Entered: 05/22/2015)
2015-05-222Summons Issued as to U. S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/22/2015) (Entered: 05/22/2015)
2015-05-223Initial Case Management Scheduling Order with ADR Deadlines: Case Management Statement due by 8/18/2015. Case Management Conference set for 8/25/2015 10:00 AM in Courtroom 5, 4th Floor, San Jose. (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/22/2015) (Entered: 05/22/2015)
2015-05-224PROOF OF SERVICE by Tania McCash re 2 Summons Issued as to USA (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/22/2015) (Entered: 05/22/2015)
2015-05-275CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Tania McCash re 2 Summons Issued as to USA U.S. Attorney General (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/27/2015) (Entered: 05/27/2015)
2015-06-086CLERK'S NOTICE Re: Consent or Declination: Plaintiff shall file a consent or declination to proceed before a magistrate judge within 14 days of this notice, by 6/22/2015. Forms are available at: http://cand.uscourts.gov/civilforms. (ofr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/8/2015) (Additional attachment(s) added on 6/8/2015: # 1 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE) (ofr, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 06/08/2015)
2015-06-167CONSENT/DECLINATION to Proceed Before a US Magistrate Judge by Tania McCash.. (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/16/2015) (Entered: 06/16/2015)
2015-06-178CONSENT/DECLINATION to Proceed Before a US Magistrate Judge by Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice.. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 6/17/2015) (Entered: 06/17/2015)
2015-06-199CLERK'S NOTICE of Impending Reassignment to U.S. District Judge. Clerk to reassign case. (ofr, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/19/2015) (Additional attachment(s) added on 6/19/2015: # 1 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE) (ofr, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 06/19/2015)
2015-06-1910ORDER REASSIGNING CASE. Case reassigned to Hon. Edward J. Davila and for all further proceedings. Magistrate Judge Paul Singh Grewal remains as referral judge assigned to the case. Reassignment Order signed by Executive Committee on 6/19/2015. (bwS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/19/2015) (Entered: 06/19/2015)
2015-06-19Remarks: Clerk mailed copy of Reassignment Order to Pro Se Party (bwS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/19/2015) (Entered: 06/19/2015)
2015-06-1911CLERK'S NOTICE RESETTING CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE FOLLOWING REASSIGNMENT FROM MAGISTRATE JUDGE (WITH CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE). Joint Case Management Statement due by 8/20/2015. Case Management Conference set for 8/27/2015 10:00 AM in Courtroom 4, 5th Floor, San Jose before Hon. Edward J. Davila. Deadlines associated with the initial case management conference are adjusted accordingly. The Court does not issue a revised Initial Case Management Scheduling Order with ADR Deadlines. Standing orders can be downloaded from the court's web page at www.cand.uscourts.gov/ejdorders (ecg, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/19/2015) (Entered: 06/19/2015)
2015-06-2212FEDERAL DEFENDANTS ANSWER TO COMPLAINT ANSWER to Complaint byCentral Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 6/22/2015) (Entered: 06/22/2015)
2015-07-0613MOTION for a Court Order defendants to provide her within 20 days with an index of the withheld documents filed by Tania McCash. Responses due by 7/20/2015. Replies due by 7/27/2015. (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/6/2015) Modified on 7/10/2015 (cv, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 07/06/2015)
2015-07-0814CLERK'S NOTICE (WITH CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE) Setting Plaintiff's Motion for Hearing. Set/Reset Deadlines as to 13 MOTION for defendants to provide her within 20 days with an index of the withheld documents. Motion Hearing set for 8/27/2015 09:00 AM in Courtroom 4, 5th Floor, San Jose before Hon. Edward J. Davila. Briefing schedule remains unchanged: Responses due by 7/20/2015. Replies due by 7/27/2015. (ecg, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/8/2015) Modified text on 7/8/2015 (ecg, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 07/08/2015)
2015-07-1015CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Tania McCash re 13 MOTION for defendants to provide her within 20 days with an index of the withheld documents (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/10/2015) (Entered: 07/10/2015)
2015-07-1716RESPONSE (re 13 MOTION for defendants to provide her within 20 days with an index of the withheld documents ) FEDERAL DEFENDANTS OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR A VAUGHN INDEX filed byCentral Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 7/17/2015) (Entered: 07/17/2015)
2015-08-1217CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT FEDERAL DEFENDANTS CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE STATEMENT filed by Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 8/12/2015) (Entered: 08/12/2015)
2015-08-2018ORDER denying without prejudice 13 Motion for Production of Index of Withheld Documents. The hearing scheduled for 8/27/2015 is VACATED. Signed by Judge Edward J. Davila on 8/20/2015. (ejdlc1S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/20/2015) (Additional attachment(s) added on 8/21/2015: # 1 Certificate of Service) (ecg, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 08/20/2015)
2015-08-2419ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE. If Plaintiff does not, by September 4, 2015, file a Case Management Conference Statement which conforms to the undersigned's applicable Standing Order or otherwise demonstrate good cause in writing why this case should not be dismissed, the court will dismiss the action with prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). No hearing will be held on the order to show cause unless otherwise ordered by the court. In light of this order, the Case Management Conference scheduled for 8/27/2015, is VACATED and will be reset if necessary upon resolution of the issue addressed herein. Signed by Judge Edward J. Davila on 8/24/2015. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(ecg, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/24/2015) (Entered: 08/24/2015)
2015-09-0220CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT filed by Tania McCash. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/2/2015) (Entered: 09/02/2015)
2015-09-1021CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER. The Order to Show Cause issued on 8/24/2015, is DISCHARGED, and the parties are ordered to comply with the following schedule: The deadline for joinder of any additional parties, or other amendments to the pleadings, is sixty days after entry of this order. the parties are excused from the disclosure requirements described in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26 because this case is the equivalent to one that will be decided upon the review of an administrative record. The parties are excused from the separate statement requirement for summary judgment motions described in the undersigned's Standing Order for Civil Cases. Deadline for Defendants to File Anticipated Motion for Summary Judgment due by 10/9/2015. Response due by 11/9/2015. Reply due by 11/23/2015. Motion Hearing set for 1/14/2016 09:00 AM in Courtroom 4, 5th Floor, San Jose before Hon. Edward J. Davila. Signed by Judge Edward J. Davila on 9/10/2015. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(ecg, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/10/2015) (Entered: 09/10/2015)
2015-10-0922MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. Motion Hearing set for 1/14/2016 09:00 AM before Hon. Edward J. Davila. Responses due by 10/23/2015. Replies due by 10/30/2015. (Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 10/9/2015) Modified on 10/9/2015 (cv, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 10/09/2015)
2015-10-0923Declaration of MARTHA M. LUTZ in Support of 22 MOTION for Summary Judgment FEDERAL DEFENDANTS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT filed byCentral Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Related document(s) 22 ) (Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 10/9/2015) (Entered: 10/09/2015)
2015-10-0924Declaration of DAVID M. HARDY in Support of 22 MOTION for Summary Judgment FEDERAL DEFENDANTS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT filed byCentral Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Related document(s) 22 ) (Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 10/9/2015) (Entered: 10/09/2015)
2015-10-0925Declaration of C. RENEE KUNTZ in Support of 22 MOTION for Summary Judgment FEDERAL DEFENDANTS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT filed byCentral Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Related document(s) 22 ) (Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 10/9/2015) (Entered: 10/09/2015)
2015-10-0926Statement re 22 MOTION for Summary Judgment by Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 10/9/2015) Modified on 10/9/2015 (cv, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 10/09/2015)
2015-10-0927Proposed Order re 22 MOTION for Summary Judgment by Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 10/9/2015) Modified on 10/9/2015 (cv, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 10/09/2015)
2015-11-0928OPPOSITION (re 22 MOTION for Summary Judgment ) filed by Tania McCash. (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/9/2015) (Entered: 11/09/2015)
2015-11-0929Declaration of Tania McCash in Support of 28 Opposition/Response to Motion filed byTania McCash. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Exhibit)(Related document(s) 28 ) (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/9/2015) (Entered: 11/09/2015)
2015-11-0930CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Tania McCash re 28 Opposition/Response to Motion, 29 Declaration in Support (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/9/2015) (Entered: 11/09/2015)
2015-11-2331REPLY (re 22 MOTION for Summary Judgment ) FEDERAL DEFENDANTS REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT filed byCentral Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 11/23/2015) (Entered: 11/23/2015)
2015-11-2332Declaration of C. RENEE KUNTZ in Support of 31 Reply to Opposition/Response, SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF C. RENEE KUNTZ filed byCentral Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(Related document(s) 31 ) (Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 11/23/2015) (Entered: 11/23/2015)
2015-12-3133Letter from Tania McCash re: Motion Hearing set for 1/14/2016 09:00 AM. (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/31/2015) (Entered: 01/04/2016)
2016-01-0534RESPONSE to re 33 Letter FEDERAL DEFENDANTS NOTICE RESPONDING TO PLAINTIFFS LETTER ABOUT CHANGING HEARING DATE by Central Intelligence Agency. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 1/5/2016) (Entered: 01/05/2016)
2016-01-1135CLERK'S NOTICE (WITH CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE) TAKING MOTION UNDER SUBMISSION WITHOUT ORAL ARGUMENT. The Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket Item No. 22 ) before Judge Edward J. Davila previously noticed for January 14, 2016 at 9:00 AM has been taken under submission without oral argument pursuant to Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). The January 14, 2016 hearing is VACATED. The Court to issue further Order on the submitted motion.(ecg, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/11/2016) (Entered: 01/11/2016)
2016-01-2136AFFIDAVIT of Tania R. McCash is being prepared in regards to, 1. Clerk's Notice Taking Motion Under Submission Without Oral Argument 2. My mailing address is: 6950 Almaden Expressway#158,San Jose CA,95120 filed by Tania McCash. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Exhibit)(cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/21/2016) Modified on 11/28/2016 (cv, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 01/21/2016)
2016-06-0637ORDER REASSIGNING CASE. Case reassigned to Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins for referral purposes. Magistrate Judge Paul Singh Grewal no longer assigned to the case. Signed by the Executive Committee on 6/6/2016. (vlk, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/6/2016) (Entered: 06/07/2016)
2016-06-0938CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE re 37 Order Reassigning Case. (vlkS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/9/2016) (Entered: 06/09/2016)
2016-11-1039ORDER granting in part and denying in part 22 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Edward J. Davila on 11/10/2016. (ejdlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/10/2016) (Additional attachment(s) added on 11/10/2016: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (amkS, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 11/10/2016)
2016-11-10***Set Deadlines/Hearings pursuant to 39 Order: Joint Case Management Statement due by 12/1/2016. Further Case Management Conference set for 12/8/2016 10:00 AM in Courtroom 4, 5th Floor, San Jose. (amkS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/10/2016) (Entered: 11/10/2016)
2016-11-2840Mail sent to Tania McCash returned as undeliverable re 39 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment,. (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/28/2016) (Entered: 11/28/2016)
2016-11-28mailed copy of docket #39 ORDER granting in part and denying in part 22 Motion for Summary Judgment to Tania R. McCash. (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/28/2016) (Entered: 11/28/2016)
2016-11-2941CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT filed by Tania McCash. (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/29/2016) (Entered: 11/29/2016)
2016-11-3042CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT filed by U. S. Department of Justice. (Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 11/30/2016) (Entered: 11/30/2016)
2016-12-0243CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER(SEE ORDER FOR SPECIFICS): Having reviewed the parties individual Case Management Conference Statements (Dkt. Nos. 41 , 42 ), the court has determined an appearance is unnecessary at this time. Accordingly, the Case Management Conference currently set for December 8, 2016 is hereby VACATED - NO APPEARANCE NECESSARY and the court, finds, concludes and orders as follows: Defendants shall file a limited summary judgment motion on or before January 9, 2017. Opposition due by 1/23/2017. Reply due by 2/6/2017. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment Hearing set for 3/9/2017 09:00 AM in Courtroom 4, 5th Floor, San Jose before Hon. Edward J. Davila. For now, Plaintiffs request for an in camera review is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge Edward J. Davila on 12/2/2016. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(amkS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/2/2016) (Entered: 12/02/2016)
2016-12-0644STIPULATION WITH PROPOSED ORDER re 43 Order,,,, Terminate Hearings,,,, Set Motion and Deadlines/Hearings,,, To Change hearing Date on Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 12/6/2016) (Entered: 12/06/2016)
2016-12-0845ORDER granting 44 Stipulation to Change hearing Date on Motion for Summary Judgment. Motion Hearing set for 3/23/2017 09:00 AM in Courtroom 4, 5th Floor, San Jose. Signed by Judge Edward J. Davila on 12/8/2016. (ejdlc1S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/8/2016) (Additional attachment(s) added on 12/8/2016: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (amkS, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 12/08/2016)
2017-01-0946MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. Motion Hearing set for 3/23/2017 09:00 AM in Courtroom 4, 5th Floor, San Jose before Hon. Edward J. Davila. Responses due by 1/23/2017. Replies due by 1/30/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of David M. Hardy, # 2 Proposed Order)(Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 1/9/2017) (Entered: 01/09/2017)
2017-01-0947CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice re 46 MOTION for Summary Judgment (Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 1/9/2017) (Entered: 01/09/2017)
2017-01-2048ORDER REASSIGNING CASE. Case reassigned to Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen for all further discovery proceedings. Magistrate Judge Nathanael M. Cousins no longer assigned to the case. Signed by Judge Executive Committee on 1/20/2017. (lmh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/20/2017) (Additional attachment(s) added on 1/20/2017: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (sp, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 01/20/2017)
2017-01-2349RESPONSE (re 46 MOTION for Summary Judgment ) filed by Tania McCash. (cv, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/23/2017) (Entered: 01/23/2017)
2017-01-2650REPLY (re 46 MOTION for Summary Judgment ) to Plaintiff's Opposition [ECF 49] filed byCentral Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, U. S. Department of Justice. (Pyle, Michael) (Filed on 1/26/2017) (Entered: 01/26/2017)
2017-03-2051ORDER GRANTING 46 MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT. The hearing scheduled for 3/23/2017 is VACATED. Signed by Judge Edward J. Davila on 3/20/2017. The Clerk shall close this file. (ejdlc2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/20/2017) Modified on 3/20/2017 (ejdlc1S, COURT STAFF). (Additional attachment(s) added on 3/20/2017: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (amkS, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 03/20/2017)
2017-03-2052JUDGMENT. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that judgment is entered in favor of Defendants. The Clerk shall close this file. Signed by Judge Edward J. Davila on 3/20/2017. (ejdlc1S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/20/2017) (Additional attachment(s) added on 3/20/2017: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service) (amkS, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 03/20/2017)
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