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Case TitleMANNING v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2015cv01654
Date Filed2015-10-08
Date Closed2017-01-11
JudgeJudge Amit P. Mehta
PlaintiffCHELSEA MANNING
Case DescriptionChelsea Manning, who was convicted of illegally disclosing classified information to Wikileaks, submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning her investigation and conviction. She indicated that she was willing to pay fees and requested expedited processing. The FBI denied Manning's request for expedited processing. She appealed the denial to the Office of Information Policy, which upheld the agency's decision to deny expedited processing. The FBI subsequently denied Manning's entire request on the basis of Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). The agency also issued a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of some records. Manning appealed the decision to OIP, which upheld the agency's denial. Manning then filed an appeal with the Office of Government Information Services. OGIS told Manning that the agency's Exemption 7(A) claim prevented any effective mediation on its part. Manning then filed suit.
Complaint issues: Exemption 7(A) - Categorical exemption, Determination - Glomar response, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantUNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DefendantFEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Opinion/Order [19]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Amit Mehta has ruled that the FBI properly withheld all records concerning the investigation of unauthorized disclosures made by Bradley Manning to Wikileaks under Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding) because they relate to other ongoing investigations concerning unauthorized leaks by federal employees. Manning, who is now known as Chelsea, pled guilty of some charges and was subsequently convicted of espionage, theft, and computer fraud, and sentenced to 35 years in prison. She requested records concerning the FBI's investigation of her, as well as its investigation of alleged civilian co-conspirators. The FBI searched for records on Manning and denied her access based on Exemption 7(A). Manning appealed to the Office of Information Policy, which upheld the FBI's denial. Manning then appealed to the Office of Government Information Services, which also agreed that the FBI's records pertained to an ongoing investigation. Manning questioned how records concerning herself could be involved in an ongoing investigation since she had been convicted and sentenced. Explaining that he was required to give "substantial weight" to the agency's affidavits, Mehta pointed out that "the court has no reason to doubt that there is an ongoing investigation of individuals other than Plaintiff. The government repeatedly and explicitly states that an investigation is pending. To the court's knowledge, there have been no completed prosecutions since [the agency's supplemental affidavit was filed] which could weaken the agency's reliance on Exemption 7(A)." In response to Manning's claim that the agency had not explained the categories of records, Mehta found the FBI had divided the records into two functional categories and further subdivided those categories. Manning argued the agency should have separated information about her from its investigatory files concerning other investigations. Mehta noted that the FBI's indicated that "information about plaintiff was so commingled with other exempt information that it was inextricably intertwined and could not be reasonably segregated for release." Although the FBI had stated that it considered the segregability of the records, Manning argued that its quick denial suggested that it had not considered segregability. Here, Mehta noted, that the FBI "was already familiar with the types of records that were responsive to Plaintiff's request because it had previously reviewed that information in response to another FOIA request [submitted by EPIC]."
Issues: Exemption 7(A) - Categorical exemption
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2015-10-081COMPLAINT FOR REVIEW OF AGENCY ACTION PURSUANT TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT against ALL DEFENDANTS ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4271881) filed by CHELSEA MANNING. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons, # 3 Summons)(Hollander, Nancy) (Entered: 10/08/2015)
2015-10-08Case Assigned to Judge Amit P. Mehta. (md) (Entered: 10/09/2015)
2015-10-15SUMMONS Not Issued as to FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney General. (INCORRECT SUMMONS WERE FILED REGARDING THE DEFENDANTS. NO SUMMONS WERE FILED FOR THE AUSA & USAG AT THE TIME COMPLAINT WAS FILED) (md) (Entered: 10/15/2015)
2015-10-162NOTICE Of Corrected Summons by CHELSEA MANNING (Hollander, Nancy) (Entered: 10/16/2015)
2015-10-163NOTICE Of Corrected Summons by CHELSEA MANNING (Hollander, Nancy) (Entered: 10/16/2015)
2015-10-164NOTICE Of Corrected Summons by CHELSEA MANNING (Hollander, Nancy) (Entered: 10/16/2015)
2015-10-165NOTICE Of Corrected Summons by CHELSEA MANNING (Hollander, Nancy) (Entered: 10/16/2015)
2015-10-166SUMMONS (4) Issued Electronically as to FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Notice of Consent) (md) (Entered: 10/16/2015)
2015-10-197MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- Vincent J. Ward, :Firm- Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward P.A., :Address- 20 First Plaza, Suite 700, Albuquerque, NM 87102. Phone No. - 505-842-9960. Fax No. - 505-842-0761 Filing fee $ 100, receipt number 0090-4283147. Fee Status: Fee Paid. by CHELSEA MANNING (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Vincent J. Ward, # 2 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order)(Hollander, Nancy) (Entered: 10/19/2015)
2015-10-198MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- Amber Fayerberg, :Firm- Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward P.A., :Address- 20 First Plaza, Suite 700, Albuquerque, NM 87102. Phone No. - 505-842-9960. Fax No. - 505-842-0761 Filing fee $ 100, receipt number 0090-4283196. Fee Status: Fee Paid. by CHELSEA MANNING (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Amber Fayerberg Declaration, # 2 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order)(Hollander, Nancy) (Entered: 10/19/2015)
2015-10-20MINUTE ORDER granting 7 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice. Attorney Vincent J. Ward is hereby admitted pro hac vice to appear in this matter on behalf of Plaintiff. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 10/20/2015. (lcapm1) (Entered: 10/20/2015)
2015-10-20MINUTE ORDER granting 8 Motion for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice. Attorney Amber Fayerberg is hereby admitted pro hac vice to appear in this matter on behalf of Plaintiff. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 10/20/2015. (lcapm1) (Entered: 10/20/2015)
2015-11-259ANSWER to Complaint by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.(Brown, Aimee) (Entered: 11/25/2015)
2015-12-0110ORDER. 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 on or before December 15, 2015. Please see the attached Order for additional details. Signed by Amit P. Mehta on 12/01/2015. (lcapm3) (Entered: 12/01/2015)
2015-12-01Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 12/15/2015. (cdw) (Entered: 12/01/2015)
2015-12-1511Joint STATUS REPORT by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Brown, Aimee) (Entered: 12/15/2015)
2015-12-15MINUTE ORDER: Having considered the 11 Joint Status Report and Proposed Schedule, the court enters the proposed briefing schedule for Summary Judgment motions based on the applicability of 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(7)(A): Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment shall be submitted on or before March 15, 2016; Plaintiff's Opposition and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be submitted on or before April 15, 2016; Defendants' Reply and Opposition shall be submitted on or before May 3, 2016; and Plaintiff's Reply shall be submitted on or before May 20, 2016. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 12/15/2015. (lcapm3) (Entered: 12/15/2015)
2015-12-15Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Defendants' Summary Judgment motion due by 3/15/2016. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 4/15/2016. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 5/3/2016. Plaintiff's Cross Motion due by 4/15/2016. Response to Cross Motion due by 5/3/2016. Reply to Cross Motion due by 5/20/2016. (cdw) (Entered: 12/16/2015)
2016-03-1512MOTION for Summary Judgment by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Declaration of David M. Hardy, # 2 Exhibit Exhibit A, # 3 Exhibit Exhibit B, # 4 Exhibit Exhibit C, # 5 Exhibit Exhibit D, # 6 Exhibit Exhibit E, # 7 Exhibit Exhibit F, # 8 Exhibit Exhibit G, # 9 Exhibit Exhibit H, # 10 Exhibit Exhibit I, # 11 Exhibit Exhibit J, # 12 Exhibit Exhibit K, # 13 Exhibit Exhibit L, # 14 Exhibit Exhibit M, # 15 Exhibit Exhibit N, # 16 Statement of Facts, # 17 Text of Proposed Order)(Brown, Aimee) (Entered: 03/15/2016)
2016-04-1313Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 12 MOTION for Summary Judgment by CHELSEA MANNING (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Fayerberg, Amber) (Entered: 04/13/2016)
2016-04-14MINUTE ORDER granting 13 Consent Motion to Extend Plaintiff's Deadline to Respond to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and setting the following schedule for further proceedings: Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment/Cross Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before April 29, 2016; Defendant's Response shall be filed on or before May 19, 2016; and Plaintiff's Reply, if any, shall be filed on or before June 6, 2016. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 04/14/2016. (lcapm3) (Entered: 04/14/2016)
2016-04-2914Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment and Response to Dfns' MSJ by CHELSEA MANNING (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Exhibit, # 3 Exhibit, # 4 Exhibit, # 5 Exhibit, # 6 Exhibit, # 7 Statement of Facts Response, # 8 Text of Proposed Order)(Fayerberg, Amber) (Entered: 04/29/2016)
2016-04-2915Memorandum in opposition to re 12 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by CHELSEA MANNING. (See docket entry 14 to view document)(zrdj) (Entered: 05/02/2016)
2016-05-02NOTICE OF ERROR re 14 Motion for Summary Judgment; emailed to af@fbdlaw.com, cc'd 5 associated attorneys -- The PDF file you docketed contained errors: 1. Two-part docket entry, 2. Counsel IS REMINDED to DOCKET the opposition as a separate entry in the FUTURE. NO ACTION REQUIRED (zrdj, ) (Entered: 05/02/2016)
2016-05-1916REPLY to opposition to motion re 12 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration, # 2 Statement of Facts Response)(Brown, Aimee) (Entered: 05/19/2016)
2016-05-1917Memorandum in opposition to re 14 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment and Response to Dfns' MSJ filed by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration, # 2 Statement of Facts Response)(Brown, Aimee) (Entered: 05/19/2016)
2016-06-0618REPLY to opposition to motion re 14 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment and Response to Dfns' MSJ filed by CHELSEA MANNING. (Ward, Vincent) (Entered: 06/06/2016)
2017-01-1119MEMORANDUM OPINION re: 12 Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and 14 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. See attached Memorandum Opinion for additional details. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 01/11/2017. (lcapm3) (Entered: 01/11/2017)
2017-01-1120ORDER granting 12 Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and denying 14 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. See attached Order for further details. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 01/11/2017. (lcapm3) (Entered: 01/11/2017)
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by FOIA Project Staff