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Case TitleAQUALLIANCE v. UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2016cv00717
Date Filed2016-04-15
Date Closed2017-07-31
JudgeJudge Tanya S. Chutkan
PlaintiffAQUALLIANCE
Case DescriptionAqualliance, a non-profit group focused on protecting the coastal waters of Northern California, submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for applications pertaining to PN# SPK 2008-00861 related to the California Water Fix Project. The agency provided records but withheld names, addresses, and other identifying information in the records under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). Aqualliance appealed the agency's decision, which was upheld. Aqualliance then filed suit.
Complaint issues: Exemption 6 - Invasion of privacy, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantUNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Opinion/Order [15]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Tanya Chutkan has ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not shown that disclosure of the names of property owners listed in a public notice pertaining to the California Water Fix project would invade their privacy under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). AquAlliance requested application records regarding the public notice and the agency redacted identifying information of property owners. Ruling against the agency, Chutkan pointed out that "it appears that the only information revealed about the individuals on the list is that their properties are adjacent to the proposed project, which is information any individual could discern from simply looking at property records or a map of the area." She added that "while the threat of an 'unwanted barrage of mailings and personal solicitations' may establish a privacy interest, the Army Corps has failed to allege with any specificity what unwanted contact these individuals would face simply by being identified as living near the proposed project." She noted that "AquAlliance states that it requested the names and addresses on the Army Corps' distribution list to determine who was and was not notified by the Army Corps of the project proposal and whether they had an opportunity to participate in a public comment process. The withheld information reflects on the actions taken by the government in conducting its official business and reveals at least some information about what the government is up to. Therefore, the court finds that there is an identifiable public interest in the disclosure of the withheld records, and given the lack of a significant privacy interest, the court further finds that this public interest weighs in favor of disclosure."
Issues: Exemption 6 - Invasion of privacy
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2016-04-151COMPLAINT against U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4488113) filed by AQUALLIANCE. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons for U.S. Army Corps, # 3 Summons for U.S. Attorney General, # 4 Summons for Civil Process Clerk)(Kenna, Matt) (Entered: 04/15/2016)
2016-04-152Corporate Disclosure Statement by AQUALLIANCE. (Kenna, Matt) (Entered: 04/15/2016)
2016-04-15Case Assigned to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan. (md) (Entered: 04/15/2016)
2016-04-153SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Notice of Consent) (md) (Entered: 04/15/2016)
2016-04-254RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 4/25/2016. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 5/25/2016. (Attachments: # 1 Return Receipt)(Kenna, Matt) (Main Document 4 replaced on 4/26/2016) (znmw). (Entered: 04/25/2016)
2016-04-255RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS served on 4/22/2016 (Attachments: # 1 Return Receipt)(Kenna, Matt) (Main Document 5 replaced on 4/26/2016) (znmw). (Entered: 04/25/2016)
2016-04-256RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 04/25/2016. (Attachments: # 1 Return Receipt)(Kenna, Matt) (Main Document 6 replaced on 4/26/2016) (znmw). (Entered: 04/25/2016)
2016-04-297NOTICE of Appearance by Derrick Wayne Grace on behalf of UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS (Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 04/29/2016)
2016-05-198Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer or otherwise respond by UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS (Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 05/19/2016)
2016-05-20MINUTE ORDER: Granting 8 Consent Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. Defendants shall answer or otherwise respond to the complaint by June 8, 2016. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 5/20/16. (DJS) (Entered: 05/20/2016)
2016-06-089MOTION for Summary Judgment by UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Declaration Platt, # 3 Declaration Faustino, # 4 Exhibit A, # 5 Exhibit B, # 6 Exhibit C, # 7 Exhibit D, # 8 Exhibit E, # 9 Exhibit F, # 10 Exhibit G, # 11 Exhibit H, # 12 Exhibit I, # 13 Exhibit J, # 14 Exhibit K, # 15 Exhibit L)(Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 06/08/2016)
2016-06-1710Joint MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 9 MOTION for Summary Judgment and for a Briefing Schedule by AQUALLIANCE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kenna, Matt) (Entered: 06/17/2016)
2016-06-20MINUTE ORDER: Granting 10 Joint Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply. Plaintiff will file its combined Motion for Summary Judgment and Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment by July 6, 2016. Defendant will file its combined Response/Reply by August 1, 2016. Plaintiff's reply due by August 12, 2016. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 6/20/16. (DJS) (Entered: 06/20/2016)
2016-06-21Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motion due by 7/6/2016. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/1/2016. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/12/2016. (zsm) (Entered: 06/21/2016)
2016-07-0611MOTION for Summary Judgment by AQUALLIANCE (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Barbara Vlamis, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Kenna, Matt) (Entered: 07/06/2016)
2016-07-0612RESPONSE re 9 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by AQUALLIANCE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Barbara Vlamis, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Kenna, Matt) (Entered: 07/06/2016)
2016-08-0113REPLY to opposition to motion re 11 MOTION for Summary Judgment , 9 MOTION for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment filed by UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS. (Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 08/01/2016)
2016-08-1114REPLY to opposition to motion re 11 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by AQUALLIANCE. (Kenna, Matt) (Entered: 08/11/2016)
2017-03-2215MEMORANDUM AND OPINION re 9 , 11 the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 3/22/2017. (lctsc2) (Entered: 03/22/2017)
2017-03-2216ORDER granting in part and denying in part 9 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment; granting 11 Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendant is ORDERED to release the withheld documents within 60 days of this Order. The parties are additionally ORDERED to file a joint status report by 5/22/2017. See Order for more details. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 3/22/2017. (lctsc2) (Entered: 03/22/2017)
2017-03-22Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 5/22/2017. (tb) (Entered: 03/22/2017)
2017-05-1717Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Joint Status Report by UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS (Grace, Derrick) (Entered: 05/17/2017)
2017-05-18MINUTE ORDER: Granting 17 Motion for Extension of Time to File Status Report. The parties shall file a Joint Status Report and proposed order by May 26, 2017. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 5/18/17. (DJS) (Entered: 05/18/2017)
2017-05-22Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 5/26/2017. (tb) (Entered: 05/22/2017)
2017-05-2618Joint STATUS REPORT by AQUALLIANCE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kenna, Matt) (Entered: 05/26/2017)
2017-06-06MINUTE ORDER: Having considered the parties' Joint Status Report 18 , the parties shall have until June 26, 2017 to file a settlement agreement on Plaintiff's claim for attorney fees and other litigation costs or a Joint Status Report and proposed order. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 6/6/17. (DJS) (Entered: 06/06/2017)
2017-06-07Set/Reset Deadlines: Settlement Agreement/Joint Status Report or proposed order due by 6/26/2017. (tb) (Entered: 06/07/2017)
2017-06-2319Joint STATUS REPORT by AQUALLIANCE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kenna, Matt) (Entered: 06/23/2017)
2017-06-24MINUTE ORDER: Having considered the parties' Joint Status Report 19 it is hereby ordered the parties shall have until July 26, 2017 to file a settlement agreement on Plaintiff's claim for attorney fees and other litigation costs, or a Joint Status report (along with a proposed order) on whether a motion and briefing, or more settlement time, is needed. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 6/24/17. (DJS) (Entered: 06/24/2017)
2017-06-2720NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Shanna Laura Cronin on behalf of All Defendants Substituting for attorney Derrick Grace (Cronin, Shanna) (Entered: 06/27/2017)
2017-06-30Set/Reset Deadlines: The parties shall have until 7/26/2017 to file a settlement agreement on Plaintiff's claim for attorney fees and other litigation costs, or a Joint Status report (along with a proposed order) on whether a motion and briefing, or more settlement time, is needed. (jth) (Entered: 06/30/2017)
2017-07-2621STIPULATION of Settlement by UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS. (Cronin, Shanna) (Entered: 07/26/2017)
2017-07-2722ORDER OF DISMISSAL: Dismissing action with prejudice. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 7/27/17. (DJS) (Entered: 07/27/2017)
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by FOIA Project Staff