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Case TitleCharles Seife v. U.S. Department of State
DistrictSouthern District of New York
CityFoley Square
Case Number1:2016cv07140
Date Filed2016-09-13
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Gregory H. Woods
PlaintiffCharles Seife
Case DescriptionCharles Seife, a journalism professor at New York University, submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning "on background" communications with reporters from 2009 - 2014. He also submitted a second request for detailed records of six such communications between 2012- 2014. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests and subsequently provided Seife with an estimated date of completion. However, after the estimated date of completion passed without any substantive response from the agency, Seife filed suit.
Complaint issues: Litigation - Attorney's fees, Failure to respond within statutory time limit

DefendantU.S. Department of State
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Opinion/Order [40]
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2016-09-131COMPLAINT against U.S. Department of State. (Filing Fee $ 400.00, Receipt Number 465401161888)Document filed by Charles Seife.(dgo) (Entered: 09/13/2016)
2016-09-13SUMMONS ISSUED as to U.S. Department of State. (dgo) (Entered: 09/13/2016)
2016-09-13Magistrate Judge James L. Cott is so designated. (dgo) (Entered: 09/13/2016)
2016-09-13Case Designated ECF. (dgo) (Entered: 09/13/2016)
2016-10-033PRO SE CONSENT TO RECEIVE ELECTRONIC SERVICE. The following party: Charles G. Seife consents to receive electronic service via the ECF system. Document filed by Charles Seife.(sc) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-034SUMMONS RETURNED EXECUTED Summons and Complaint served. U.S. Department of State served on 9/13/2016, answer due 11/14/2016. Service was made by Cert. Mail to U.S. Attorney's Office, One St. Andrews Plaza, New York, N.Y., and to Attorney General, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, DC 20530, and to U.S. Dept. of State, Washington, DC 20520. Document filed by Charles Seife. (sc) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-065LETTER MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Li Yu dated 10/6/2016. Document filed by U.S. Department of State.(Yu, Li) (Entered: 10/06/2016)
2016-10-066ORDER granting 5 Letter Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. Application granted. The deadline for defendant to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint is extended to November 16, 2016. The Court notes that Rule 12(a)(2) provides the United States 60 days to respond to a complaint in the ordinary course. SO ORDERED. U.S. Department of State answer due 11/16/2016. (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 10/06/2016) (ama) (Entered: 10/07/2016)
2016-10-067LETTER addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Charles Seife dated 10/6/2016 re: I write respectfully to oppose defense counsel's request for a 30 day extension of time in which to file an answer to the complaint. Document filed by Charles Seife.(vn) (Entered: 10/11/2016)
2016-10-128NOTICE OF INITIAL CONFERENCE: Initial Conference set for 11/22/2016 at 02:00 PM in Courtroom 12C, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007 before Judge Gregory H. Woods. (As further set forth in this Order.) (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 10/12/2016) (kko) (Entered: 10/12/2016)
2016-10-199NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by Dominika Natalia Tarczynska on behalf of U.S. Department of State. (Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 10/19/2016)
2016-11-1510JOINT LETTER addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Dominika Tarczynska and Charles Seife dated November 15, 2016 re: Joint Letter in advance of Initial Conference. Document filed by U.S. Department of State.(Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 11/15/2016)
2016-11-1611ANSWER to 1 Complaint. Document filed by U.S. Department of State.(Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 11/16/2016)
2016-11-1712MOTION FOR PERMISSION FOR ELECTRONIC CASE FILING; re: for Permission for Charles Seife to participate in electronic case filing in this case. Document filed by Charles Seife.(sc) (Entered: 11/18/2016)
2016-11-2113ORDER granting 12 Motion for Permission for Electronic Case Filing. Plaintiff's motion for permission for electronic case filing, Dkt. No. 12, is granted. The Clerk of Court is directed to designate this matter as an ECF case. (HEREBY ORDERED by Judge Gregory H. Woods)(Text Only Order) (Woods, Gregory) (Entered: 11/21/2016)
2016-11-22Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Gregory H. Woods: Initial Pretrial Conference held on 11/22/2016. (Court Reporter Steven Griffing) (Daniels, A.) (Entered: 11/23/2016)
2016-11-2814ORDER. As stated on the record during the conference held on November 22, 2016, the Department of State is ordered to respond to Plaintiff's first FOIA request no later than December 16, 2016. The Department of State is ordered to provide rolling responses to Plaintiff's second FOIA request, with the initial round of responsive documents, if any, to be produced no later than December 16, 2016. The Department of State is ordered to complete its response to Plaintiff's second FOIA request no later than January 20, 2017. (HEREBY ORDERED by Judge Gregory H. Woods on November 28, 2016) (Text Only Order)(Woods, Gregory) (Entered: 11/28/2016)
2017-01-2015TRANSCRIPT of Proceedings re: CONFERENCE held on 11/22/2016 before Judge Gregory H. Woods. Court Reporter/Transcriber: Steven Griffing, (212) 805-0300. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the Court Reporter/Transcriber before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through PACER. Redaction Request due 2/10/2017. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 2/21/2017. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 4/20/2017.(McGuirk, Kelly) (Entered: 01/20/2017)
2017-01-2016NOTICE OF FILING OF OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT Notice is hereby given that an official transcript of a CONFERNECE proceeding held on 11/22/16 has been filed by the court reporter/transcriber in the above-captioned matter. The parties have seven (7) calendar days to file with the court a Notice of Intent to Request Redaction of this transcript. If no such Notice is filed, the transcript may be made remotely electronically available to the public without redaction after 90 calendar days...(McGuirk, Kelly) (Entered: 01/20/2017)
2017-03-1017LETTER addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Dominika Tarczynska dated March 10, 2017 re: Additional Searches. Document filed by U.S. Department of State.(Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 03/10/2017)
2017-03-1018MEMO ENDORSEMENT on re: 17 Letter filed by U.S. Department of State. ENDORSEMENT: On November 28, 2016, the Court entered an order directing the Government to complete its response to Plaintiff's second FOIA request no later than January 20, 2017. Dkt. No. 14. The Court construes this letter as a request for an extension of that deadline. The application is granted, and the deadline for the Government to complete its response to Plaintiff's second FOIA request is extended to April 17, 2017. In addition, the parties are directed to submit a joint letter no later than May 15, 2017 describing the status of this case. (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 3/10/2017) (mro) (Entered: 03/13/2017)
2017-05-1519LETTER addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from AUSA Anthony J. Sun dated 5/15/2017 re: Status Update. Document filed by U.S. Department of State.(Sun, Anthony) (Entered: 05/15/2017)
2017-05-1920ORDER. The Court will hold an in-person pre-motion conference to discuss the parties' proposed cross-motions for summary judgment on May 22, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. The conference will take place at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Court House, 500 Pearl Street, New York, New York, in Courtroom 12C. (HEREBY ORDERED by Judge Gregory H. Woods on May 19, 2017) (Text Only Order)(Woods, Gregory) (Entered: 05/19/2017)
2017-05-22Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Gregory H. Woods: Pre-Motion Conference held on 5/22/2017. (Court Reporter Kristen Carannante) (Daniels, Anthony) (Entered: 05/22/2017)
2017-05-2221ORDER. As stated on the record during the conference held on May 22, 2017, the parties are granted leave to file cross-motions for summary judgment. The State Department's motion for summary judgment is due no later than June 5, 2017. Plaintiff's combined cross-motion for summary judgment and opposition to the State Department's motion is due no later than June 26, 2017. The State Department's combined opposition to Plaintiff's cross-motion and reply in support of its motion is due no later than July 17, 2017. Plaintiff's reply in support of his cross-motion is due no later than August 7, 2017. The parties are granted leave to proceed at this time without the submission of a Local Rule 56.1 statement. The Court may reconsider that decision after reviewing the parties' submissions. (HEREBY ORDERED by Judge Gregory H. Woods on May 22, 2017) (Text Only Order)(Woods, Gregory) (Entered: 05/22/2017)
2017-06-0222CONSENT LETTER MOTION for Extension of Time to File Summary Judgment Motions addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Dominika Tarczynska dated June 2, 2017. Document filed by U.S. Department of State.(Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 06/02/2017)
2017-06-0523ORDER granting 22 Letter Motion for Extension of Time. Application granted. The summary judgment briefing schedule entered by the Court on May 22, 2017 (Dkt. No. 21) is adjourned. The parties are directed to submit a joint letter no later than June 15, 2017 describing the status of the additional searches and productions as well as a new proposed schedule for summary judgment briefing. The Clerk of Court is directed to terminate the letter motion at Dkt. No. 22. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 6/5/2017) (anc) Modified on 6/16/2017 (anc). (Entered: 06/05/2017)
2017-06-1524ORDER. By order dated June 5, 2017, the parties were directed to submit a joint status letter no later than June 14, 2017. Dkt. No. 23. The Court has not received that letter. The parties are directed to comply with the Court's June 5, 2017 letter forthwith. (HEREBY ORDERED by Judge Gregory H. Woods on June 15, 2017) (Text Only Order)(Woods, Gregory) (Entered: 06/15/2017)
2017-06-1525JOINT LETTER addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Dominika Tarczynska dated June 15, 2017 re: Case Status and Proposed Summary Judgment Briefing Schedule. Document filed by U.S. Department of State.(Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 06/15/2017)
2017-06-1626MEMO ENDORSEMENT on re: 25 Letter filed by U.S. Department of State. ENDORSEMENT: The Court thanks the parties for their explanation with respect to the timeliness of their joint status report. The Court adopts the following briefing schedule for the parties cross-motions for summary judgment: The State Department's motion for summary judgment is due no later than July 27, 2017. Plaintiff's combined cross-motion for summary judgment and opposition to the State Department's motion is due no later than August 17, 2017. The State Department's combined opposition to Plaintiff's motion and reply in support of its motion is due no later than September 11, 2017. Plaintiff's reply in support of his cross-motion is due no later than October 2, 2017. The parties are granted leave to proceed at this time without the submission of a Local Rule 56.1 statement. The Court may reconsider that decision after reviewing the parties' submissions. ( Cross Motions due by 8/17/2017., Motions due by 7/27/2017., Responses due by 9/11/2017, Replies due by 10/2/2017.) (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 6/16/2017) (mro) (Entered: 06/16/2017)
2017-07-2727MOTION for Summary Judgment . Document filed by U.S. Department of State.(Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 07/27/2017)
2017-07-2728MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: 27 MOTION for Summary Judgment . . Document filed by U.S. Department of State. (Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 07/27/2017)
2017-07-2729DECLARATION of Eric F. Stein in Support re: 27 MOTION for Summary Judgment .. Document filed by U.S. Department of State. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 (Vaughn Index), # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5, # 6 Exhibit 6, # 7 Exhibit 7, # 8 Exhibit 8, # 9 Exhibit 9, # 10 Exhibit 10, # 11 Exhibit 11, # 12 Exhibit 12, # 13 Exhibit 13, # 14 Exhibit 14, # 15 Exhibit 15, # 16 Exhibit 16, # 17 Exhibit 17, # 18 Exhibit 18)(Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 07/27/2017)
2017-08-1730CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment . Document filed by Charles Seife. Responses due by 9/11/2017(Seife, Charles) (Entered: 08/17/2017)
2017-08-1731DECLARATION of Charles Seife in Support re: 30 CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment .. Document filed by Charles Seife. (Seife, Charles) (Entered: 08/17/2017)
2017-08-1732MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: 30 CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment . . Document filed by Charles Seife. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Supplement)(Seife, Charles) (Entered: 08/17/2017)
2017-08-1733MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: 30 CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment . . Document filed by Charles Seife. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Supplement)(Seife, Charles) (Entered: 08/17/2017)
2017-09-1134REPLY MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: 27 MOTION for Summary Judgment . . Document filed by U.S. Department of State. (Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 09/11/2017)
2017-09-1135DECLARATION of Eric F. Stein in Support re: 27 MOTION for Summary Judgment .. Document filed by U.S. Department of State. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 19 (Updated Vaughn Index), # 2 Exhibit 20)(Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 09/11/2017)
2017-09-2536LETTER MOTION for Leave to File Excess Pages in reply due Oct. 2, 2017 addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Charles Seife dated 9/25/2017. Document filed by Charles Seife.(Seife, Charles) (Entered: 09/25/2017)
2017-09-25Set/Reset Deadlines: Replies due by 10/2/2017. (mro) (Entered: 09/26/2017)
2017-09-25Set/Reset Deadlines: Replies due by 10/2/2017. (mro) (Entered: 09/26/2017)
2017-09-2637ORDER granting 36 Letter Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages Application granted. Plaintiff is granted leave to file a reply brief in support of his cross-motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 30) of up to, but not to exceed, fifteen pages in length. Plaintiff's reply brief remains due no later than October 2, 2017, in accordance with the Court's June 16, 2017 order (Dkt. No. 26). (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 9/25/2017) (mro) Modified on 11/2/2017 (mro). (Entered: 09/26/2017)
2017-09-2738REPLY MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: 30 CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment . and opposed to defendant's motion for Summary Judgment . Document filed by Charles Seife. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit D, # 2 Exhibit E, # 3 Exhibit F, # 4 Supplement)(Seife, Charles) (Entered: 09/27/2017)
2017-09-2739DECLARATION of Charles Seife in Support re: 30 CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment .. Document filed by Charles Seife. (Seife, Charles) (Entered: 09/27/2017)
2018-03-2640MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER re: 27 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by U.S. Department of State, 30 CROSS MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Charles Seife. For the reasons stated above, the State Department's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART without prejudice. Mr. Seife's cross-motion is DENIED. The denial of the Mr. Seife's motion is without prejudice to the extent that the motion challenges the State Department's response to the 12997 request, the withholding of documents and information under Exemption 5, and the withholding of the identities of the background briefers under Exemption 6. The State Department is directed to submit revised Vaughn submissions addressing the State Department's response to the 12997 request, the information and document claimed exempt under Exemption 5, the identities of background briefers claimed exempt under Exemption 6, as well as a segregability analysis addressing the Category 15 document, along with a renewed motion for partial summary judgment no later than April 30, 2018. Mr. Seife may file a renewed cross-motion for summary judgment with respect to the State Department's response to the 12997 request and its withholding of information and documents under Exemptions 5 and 6 no later than thirty (30) days from the date of service of the State Department's renewed motion. Any oppositions to the motion(s) for summary judgment are due no later than twenty-one (21) days following service of the motions, and any replies are due no later than fourteen (14) days following service of the oppositions. The Clerk of Court is directed to terminate the motions pending at Dkt. Nos. 27 and 30. (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 3/24/2018) (mro) (Entered: 03/26/2018)
2018-04-2341FIRST LETTER MOTION for Extension of Time Letter Motion for 2-week Stay of Summary Judgment Briefing Schedule addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Dominika Tarczynska dated April 23, 2018. Document filed by U.S. Department of State.(Tarczynska, Dominika) (Entered: 04/23/2018)
2018-04-2342COUNTER LETTER MOTION for Extension of Time in opposition to Docket #41 addressed to Judge Gregory H. Woods from Charles Seife dated 4/23/2018. Document filed by Charles Seife.(Seife, Charles) (Entered: 04/23/2018)
2018-04-2443ORDER terminating 41 Letter Motion for Extension of Time; granting in part 42 Letter Motion for Extension of Time. Application granted in part. The Court grants Defendant's request for an extension of the briefing deadlines, but agrees with Plaintiff's argument in his opposition (Dkt. No. 42) that a blanket stay of the deadlines is inappropriate. The deadline for Defendant's renewed summary judgment motion and revised Vaughn index, in accordance with the Court's March 26, 2018 memorandum opinion and order (Dkt. No. 40), is extended to May 30, 2018. In the event that Defendant elects to voluntarily produce additional information in response to FOIA Request No. 12996, Defendant is directed to do so no later than May 21, 2018 and to file a letter informing the Court of the fact of the production. In the event that Defendant decides against an additional voluntary production in response to that request, it is directed to file a letter advising the Court of that decision no later than May 21, 2018. The Court also expects that Defendant will promptly produce any disclosable information that its search in response to FOIA Request No. 12997 may uncover. Except as expressly modified by this order, the briefing schedule established by the Court's March 26, 2018 order remains in place. The Clerk of Court is directed to terminate the motions pending at Dkt. Nos. 41 and 42. Motions due by 5/30/2018. (Signed by Judge Gregory H. Woods on 4/24/2018) (mro) (Entered: 04/24/2018)
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