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Case TitleSLAUGHTER v. NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY et al
DistrictEastern District of Pennsylvania
CityPhiladelphia
Case Number2:2015cv05047
Date Filed2015-09-09
Date Closed2015-11-16
JudgeHONORABLE BERLE M. SCHILLER
PlaintiffDUSTIN SLAUGHTER
Case DescriptionDustin Slaughter submitted FOIA requests to the National Security Agency and the CIA for records concerning the Occupy Philly Movement. The NSA issued a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of records concerning the Occupy Philly Movement. The CIA said it did not have jurisdiction over domestic surveillance. Slaughter appealed both decisions, but after neither agency responded, he filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantNATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY
DefendantCENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Opinion/Order [8]
Opinion/Order [9]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in Pennsylvania has ruled that online journalist Dustin Slaughter lacks standing to challenge the denial by the NSA and CIA for records about the agencies' possible surveillance of activists involved in the Occupy Philadelphia movement because the requests were made by Slaughter's attorney, Paul Hetznecker and did not mention Slaughter. The NSA issued a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of records because any such records would be classified. The CIA declined to process the request because it was not involved in domestic surveillance. The agency suggested Hetznecker submit the request to the FBI instead. Hertznecker appealed both decisions. The NSA did not respond and the CIA affirmed its original refusal to process his request. Slaughter then filed suit in his own name and the government argued he lacked standing. The court agreed, noting that "Slaughter must show that he made a FOIA request and that the agency denied that request. Slaughter, however, never submitted the underlying FOIA requests. Rather, Hetznecker submitted these requests, in his own name, without mentioning Slaughter or explaining that he was submitting these requests on Slaughter's behalf. Because Hetznecker's requests cannot be attributed to Slaughter, Slaughter did not suffer a legally cognizable injury when Defendants denied Hetznecker's FOIA request. Therefore, Slaughter lacks standing to bring this claim and his claims are dismissed." Slaughter argued that he should be allowed to amend his complaint to substitute Hetznecker as the plaintiff. But the court pointed out that "courts have found in FOIA cases that a plaintiff without standing cannot amend the complaint to substitute his attorney when the attorney filed the FOIA claim in his own name."
Issues: Litigation - Jurisdiction - Proper Party
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2015-09-091COMPLAINT against CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number PPE127347), filed by DUSTIN SLAUGHTER. (Attachments: # 1 Case Management Track Form, # 2 Designation Form)(jmv, ) (Entered: 09/10/2015)
2015-09-09Summons Issued as to CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY. Forwarded To: 3 Origs mailed to counsel; 1 to AUSA on 9/10/15 (jmv, ) (Entered: 09/10/2015)
2015-09-09DEMAND for Trial by Jury by DUSTIN SLAUGHTER. (jmv, ) (Entered: 09/10/2015)
2015-09-152Acceptance of Service by U.S. Attorney Re: accepted summons and complaint on behalf of the United States Attorney (only). (jl, ) (Entered: 09/15/2015)
2015-10-153MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction filed by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY.Memorandum, Declarations, and Certificate of Service. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of C. Renee Kuntz, # 2 Declaration of Michael E. Lavergne)(MENTZINGER, RICHARD) (Entered: 10/15/2015)
2015-11-054RESPONSE to Motion re 3 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction filed by DUSTIN SLAUGHTER. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Docket Sheet)(HETZNECKER, PAUL) (Main Document 4 replaced on 11/6/2015) (fb). (Attachment 1 replaced on 11/6/2015) (fb). Modified on 11/6/2015 (fb). (Entered: 11/05/2015)
2015-11-105MOTION for Leave to File Reply Brief filed by CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY.Memorandum and Certificate of Service. (Attachments: # 1 Defendants' Reply Brief)(MENTZINGER, RICHARD) (Entered: 11/10/2015)
2015-11-126ORDER THAT DEFTS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE REPLY BRIEF IS GRANTED FOR THE REASONS SET FORTH IN DEFTS' MEMORANDUM OF LAW. THE CLERK OF COURT SHALL DOCKET DEFT'S REPLY BRIEF, WHICH IS ATTACHED AS EXHIBIT 1 TO THIS MOTION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE BERLE M. SCHILLER ON 11/12/15.11/12/15 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED.(kw, ) (Entered: 11/12/2015)
2015-11-127Reply Brief, Certificate of Service, filed by DEFTS CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY. (kw, ) (Entered: 11/12/2015)
2015-11-168MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE BERLE M. SCHILLER ON 11/16/15. 11/16/15 ENTERED AND COPIES EMAILED.(rf, ) (Entered: 11/16/2015)
2015-11-169MEMORANDUM AND ORDER THAT DEFENDANTS MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. 5) IS GRANTED. THE COMPLAINT IS DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT (DOC. 6) IS DENIED. THE CLERK OF COURT IS DIRECTED TO CLOSE THIS CASE. SIGNED BY HONORABLE BERLE M. SCHILLER ON 11/16/15. 11/16/15 ENTERED AND COPIES EMAILED.(rf, ) (Entered: 11/16/2015)
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by FOIA Project Staff