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Case TitleAMERICAN CENTER FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC. v. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2016cv01820
Date Filed2016-09-12
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Amit P. Mehta
PlaintiffAMERICAN CENTER FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC.
Case DescriptionThe American Center for Equitable Treatment submitted several FOIA requests to OMB for records concerning implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act. After the agency failed to respond, the Center filed an appeal. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the Center filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Public Interest Fee Waiver, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantOFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Complaint attachment 5
Complaint attachment 6
Opinion/Order [22]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Amit Mehta has ruled that OMB did not conduct an adequate search for records about the Paperwork Reduction Act and specific rules of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in response to three requests from the American Center for Equitable Treatment. The requests specified rules and Information Collection Requests to be searched. The agency initially withheld a number of records under Exemption 5 (privileges), but ACET argued the claims were inappropriate because the Paperwork Reduction Act itself required disclosure of the information. OMB then disclosed that information, leaving only specific challenges to the search remaining. ACET contended OMB had used 2009 as its baseline date for searching all the requests, even though one of the requests asked for records as far back as 1995. OMB's explanation for why it did not search the earlier time frame was that such records should have been destroyed or transferred to the National Archives. Mehta pointed out that "to fulfill its FOIA obligations, OMB either must expand the temporal scope of its search to the time periods requested by Plaintiff. . .or supplement its declaration to explain why using Plaintiff's preferred dates is inconsistent with the standard of reasonableness." ACET argued that OMB used the entire CFR citation for the rules it had requested, but did not use terms like "Rule 111," which were commonly used references to such rules. Here, Mehta found that "where, as here, a FOIA requester suggests search terms that are common in practice, but the agency elects not to use them, the failure of the agency to explain its choices prevents the court from evaluating the reasonableness of the agency's search method."
Issues: Search - Reasonableness of search, Search - Detailed description of search
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2016-09-121COMPLAINT against All Plaintiffs ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4670186) filed by AMERICAN CENTER FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons OMB, # 3 Summons Civil Process Clerk, # 4 Exhibit Exhibit A, # 5 Exhibit Exhibit B, # 6 Exhibit Exhibit C)(Rubinstein, Reed) (Entered: 09/12/2016)
2016-09-12Case Assigned to Judge Amit P. Mehta. (sth) (Entered: 09/13/2016)
2016-09-132SUMMONS (2) Issued Electronically as to THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET and U.S. Attorney (Attachments: # 1 Summons, # 2 Summons)(sth) (Entered: 09/13/2016)
2016-09-263RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET served on 9/15/2016 (Rubinstein, Reed) (Entered: 09/26/2016)
2016-09-264RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 9/14/2016. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 10/14/2016. (Rubinstein, Reed) (Entered: 09/26/2016)
2016-10-145NOTICE of Appearance by Joshua M. Kolsky on behalf of OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 10/14/2016)
2016-10-146ANSWER to Complaint by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET.(Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 10/14/2016)
2016-10-147ORDER: 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 October 28, 2016. Please see the attached Order for additional details. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 10/14/2016. (lcapm2) (Entered: 10/14/2016)
2016-10-14Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 10/28/2016. (cdw) (Entered: 10/17/2016)
2016-10-288Joint STATUS REPORT by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 10/28/2016)
2017-01-03MINUTE ORDER directing the parties to file a subsequent Joint Status Report on or before February 7, 2017. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 01/03/2017. (lcapm2) (Entered: 01/03/2017)
2017-01-03Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 2/7/2017. (cdw) (Entered: 01/05/2017)
2017-01-199MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney as to AMERICAN CENTER FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC.. Attorney Reed D. Rubinstein terminated. (Rubinstein, Reed) Modified event title on 1/20/2017 (znmw). Added MOTION to Stay on 1/20/2017 (znmw). (Entered: 01/19/2017)
2017-01-23MINUTE ORDER granting 9 Plaintiff's counsel's Motion to Withdraw. This matter is hereby stayed until February 13, 2017, and the deadline for the parties' Joint Status Report, currently February 7, 2017, is hereby extended to February 28, 2017. Further, the court advises Plaintiff that its failure to timely secure new counsel could result in dismissal of this action and orders that Plaintiff's counsel provide Plaintiff with a copy of this Order. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 01/23/2017. (lcapm2) (Entered: 01/23/2017)
2017-01-23Case Stayed. Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 2/28/2017. (cdw) (Entered: 01/24/2017)
2017-01-2610NOTICE of Appearance by Andrew M. Grossman on behalf of AMERICAN CENTER FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC. (Grossman, Andrew) (Entered: 01/26/2017)
2017-01-2711NOTICE of Appearance by Mark Wendell DeLaquil on behalf of AMERICAN CENTER FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC. (DeLaquil, Mark) (Main Document 11 replaced on 1/30/2017) (jf). (Entered: 01/27/2017)
2017-02-2812Joint STATUS REPORT by AMERICAN CENTER FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC.. (Grossman, Andrew) (Entered: 02/28/2017)
2017-03-01MINUTE ORDER: In light of 12 the parties' Joint Status Report, the parties shall submit a subsequent Joint Status Report on or before March 30, 2017. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 03/01/2017. (lcapm2) (Entered: 03/01/2017)
2017-03-01Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 3/30/2017. (cdw) (Entered: 03/07/2017)
2017-03-3013Joint STATUS REPORT by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 03/30/2017)
2017-04-0714Joint STATUS REPORT by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 04/07/2017)
2017-04-1015ORDER setting the following schedule for further proceedings in this matter: Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before May 19, 2017; Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before June 19, 2017; Defendant's Reply and Opposition to Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before July 10, 2017; Plaintiff's Reply shall be filed on or before July 24, 2017. See the attached Order for additional details. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 04/10/2017. (lcapm2) (Entered: 04/10/2017)
2017-04-10Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Defendant's Summary Judgment motion due by 5/19/2017. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 6/19/2017. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 7/10/2017. Plaintiff's Cross Motion due by 6/19/2017. Response to Cross Motion due by 7/10/2017. Reply to Cross Motion due by 7/24/2017. (cdw) (Entered: 04/12/2017)
2017-05-1916MOTION for Summary Judgment by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (Attachments: # 1 Declaration (Mancini Declaration with Exhibits), # 2 Declaration (Hitter Declaration with Exhibits), # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 05/19/2017)
2017-06-1917Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by AMERICAN CENTER FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Memorandum in Support, # 3 Declaration, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Grossman, Andrew) (Entered: 06/19/2017)
2017-06-2918Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 16 MOTION for Summary Judgment , 17 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 06/29/2017)
2017-07-01MINUTE ORDER granting 18 Defendant's Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time. Defendant's Reply and Opposition to 17 Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before July 24, 2017, and Plaintiff's Reply shall be filed on or before August 7, 2017. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 07/01/2017. (lcapm2) (Entered: 07/01/2017)
2017-07-01Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Defendant's Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 7/24/2017. Defendant's response to Cross Motion due by 7/24/2017. Plaintiff's reply to Cross Motion due by 8/7/2017. (cdw) (Entered: 07/03/2017)
2017-07-2419REPLY to opposition to motion re 16 MOTION for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment filed by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts (Response), # 2 Declaration (Mancini), # 3 Declaration (Hitter))(Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 07/24/2017)
2017-07-2420Memorandum in opposition to re 17 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment and Reply in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment filed by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts (Response), # 2 Declaration (Mancini), # 3 Declaration (Hitter))(Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 07/24/2017)
2017-08-0721REPLY re 17 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by AMERICAN CENTER FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC.. (Grossman, Andrew) (Entered: 08/07/2017)
2017-12-1922MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER granting in part and denying in part Defendant's 16 Motion for Summary Judgment and denying in part Plaintiff's 17 Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. The parties shall meet and confer and, no later than 21 days from this date, advise the court how they intend to proceed in this matter. See the attached Memorandum Opinion and Order for additional details. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 12/19/2017. (lcapm1) (Entered: 12/19/2017)
2018-01-0923Joint STATUS REPORT by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 01/09/2018)
2018-01-12MINUTE ORDER. The parties shall file a Joint Status Report on or before February 9, 2018, updating the court as to developments in this matter. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 1/12/2018. (lcapm2) (Entered: 01/12/2018)
2018-01-12Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 2/9/2018. (zcdw) (Entered: 01/15/2018)
2018-02-0924Joint STATUS REPORT by AMERICAN CENTER FOR EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC.. (Grossman, Andrew) (Entered: 02/09/2018)
2018-02-13MINUTE ORDER. Upon consideration of the parties' 24 February 9, 2018, Joint Status Report, the parties are directed to file another Joint Status Report on or before March 9, 2018, that updates the court on their progress. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 02/13/2018. (lcapm1) (Entered: 02/13/2018)
2018-02-13Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 3/9/2018. (zcdw) (Entered: 02/14/2018)
2018-03-0925Joint STATUS REPORT by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 03/09/2018)
2018-03-13MINUTE ORDER. Upon consideration of the parties' 25 March 9, 2018, Joint Status Report, the parties are directed to file another Joint Status Report on or before April 23, 2018, that updates the court on their progress. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 03/13/2018. (lcapm1) (Entered: 03/13/2018)
2018-03-13Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 4/23/2018. (zcdw) (Entered: 03/14/2018)
2018-04-2326Joint STATUS REPORT by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 04/23/2018)
2018-04-25MINUTE ORDER. Upon consideration of the parties' 26 April 23, 2018, Joint Status Report, the parties are directed to file another Joint Status Report on or before May 23, 2018, that updates the court on their progress. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 04/25/2018. (lcapm1) (Entered: 04/25/2018)
2018-04-25Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 5/23/2018. (zcdw) (Entered: 04/26/2018)
2018-05-2327Joint STATUS REPORT by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 05/23/2018)
2018-05-24MINUTE ORDER. In light of the parties' 27 Joint Status Report, the parties shall file an additional Joint Status Report on or before July 23, 2018, and every 60 days thereafter, until the completion of the production of responsive records. The parties shall notify the court of the final production by filing a notice of that event with the court. Within 14 days of the final production, the parties shall submit an additional Joint Status Report that states whether any disputed issues remain and, if so, proposes a summary judgment briefing schedule. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 5/24/2018. (lcapm2) (Entered: 05/24/2018)
2018-05-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 7/23/2018. (zjd) (Entered: 05/25/2018)
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by FOIA Project Staff