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Case TitleAMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2016cv01975
Date Filed2016-10-05
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Trevor N. McFadden
PlaintiffAMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE
Case DescriptionThe American Center for Law and Justice submitted a number of FOIA requests to the Department of State for records referencing various people and organizations that had been obtained by Judicial Watch as the result of FOIA requests. ACLJ also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but denied ACLJ's request for expedited processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, ACLJ filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Vaughn index, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantUNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE The Executive Office, Office of the Legal Adviser
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Complaint attachment 5
Complaint attachment 6
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2016-10-051COMPLAINT against UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4699233) filed by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Civil Cover Sheet, # 4 Summons, # 5 Summons, # 6 Summons)(Sekulow, Jay) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-052NOTICE of Appearance by Jay Alan Sekulow on behalf of AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE (Sekulow, Jay) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-053LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE (Sekulow, Jay) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-054NOTICE of Appearance by Colby Mims May on behalf of AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE (May, Colby) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-055NOTICE of Appearance by Stuart J. Roth on behalf of AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE (Roth, Stuart) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-056MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- Craig L. Parshall, :Firm- American Center for Law and Justice, :Address- 201 Maryland Ave., NE. Phone No. - 202-546-8890. Fax No. - 202-546-9309 Filing fee $ 100, receipt number 0090-4699397. Fee Status: Fee Paid. by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Declaration, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Roth, Stuart) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-057MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- Benjamin P. Sisney, :Firm- American Center for Law and Justice, :Address- 201 Maryland Ave., NE. Phone No. - 202-546-8890. Fax No. - 202-546-9309 Filing fee $ 100, receipt number 0090-4699411. Fee Status: Fee Paid. by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Declaration, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Roth, Stuart) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-05Case Assigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. (md) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-058SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Notice of Consent) (md) (Entered: 10/05/2016)
2016-10-06MINUTE ORDER granting motions for leave to appear pro hac vice, 6 and 7 . Benjamin P. Sisney and Craig L. Parshall are hereby admitted pro hac vice in this action. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 10/6/2016. (lcegs4) (Entered: 10/06/2016)
2016-10-129RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 10/11/2016. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 11/10/2016. (Sisney, Benjamin) (Entered: 10/12/2016)
2016-10-1210RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 10/11/2016. (Sisney, Benjamin) (Entered: 10/12/2016)
2016-10-1211RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE served on 10/11/2016 (Sisney, Benjamin) (Entered: 10/12/2016)
2016-11-1012ANSWER to Complaint by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE.(Lee, Jason) (Entered: 11/10/2016)
2016-12-0713STANDING FOIA ORDER. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 12/7/2016. (lcegs4) (Main Document 13 replaced on 12/7/2016) (zmac). (Entered: 12/07/2016)
2016-12-07Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Scheduling Order due by 1/7/2017. (mac) (Entered: 12/07/2016)
2017-01-0614Joint STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 01/06/2017)
2017-01-19MINUTE ORDER. The parties are directed to file a joint status report, including a recommendation for further proceedings, by no later than March 20, 2017. In the event that counsel are unable to agree on a joint recommendation, each party shall file an individual recommendation by that time. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 1/19/2017. (lcegs4) (Entered: 01/19/2017)
2017-01-23Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report or Individual Recommendation due by 3/20/2017. (mac) (Entered: 01/23/2017)
2017-02-2315MOTION for Judgment on the Pleadings (Partial) by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Lee, Jason) (Entered: 02/23/2017)
2017-03-0716MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- Abigail A. Southerland, :Firm- American Center for Law and Justice, :Address- 625 Bakers Bridge Avenue, Suite 105-121, Franklin, TN, 37064. Phone No. - (615) 599-5572, ext. 4006. Fax No. - (615) 599-5189 Filing fee $ 100, receipt number 0090-4868390. Fee Status: Fee Paid. by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Declaration, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Roth, Stuart) (Entered: 03/07/2017)
2017-03-08MINUTE ORDER granting 16 motion for leave to appear pro hac vice. Abigail A. Southerland is hereby admitted pro hac vice in this action. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 3/8/2017. (lcegs4) (Entered: 03/08/2017)
2017-03-0917NOTICE of Appearance by Matthew R. Clark on behalf of AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE (Clark, Matthew) (Entered: 03/09/2017)
2017-03-0918RESPONSE re 15 MOTION for Judgment on the Pleadings (Partial) and request for oral hearing filed by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Sekulow, Jay) (Entered: 03/09/2017)
2017-03-1619REPLY to opposition to motion re 15 MOTION for Judgment on the Pleadings (Partial) filed by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 03/16/2017)
2017-03-2020Joint STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 03/20/2017)
2017-03-3121MOTION to Amend/Correct 1 Complaint, by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Amended Complaint, # 2 Exhibit A to Amended Complaint, # 3 Exhibit B to Amended Complaint)(Southerland, Abigail) (Entered: 03/31/2017)
2017-04-0722RESPONSE re 21 MOTION to Amend/Correct 1 Complaint, filed by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Lee, Jason) (Entered: 04/07/2017)
2017-04-1223REPLY to opposition to motion re 21 MOTION to Amend/Correct 1 Complaint, filed by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE. (Southerland, Abigail) (Entered: 04/12/2017)
2017-04-12MINUTE ORDER. In view of 20 joint status report, the Court will hold a status conference on May 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm in Courtroom 24A. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 4/12/2017. (lcegs1) (Entered: 04/12/2017)
2017-04-13Set/Reset Hearings: Status Conference set for 5/2/2017 at 2:00 PM in Courtroom 24A before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. (mac) (Entered: 04/13/2017)
2017-04-2624NOTICE of Recent Decision by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE re 15 MOTION for Judgment on the Pleadings (Partial) (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 04/26/2017)
2017-04-27MINUTE ORDER. In order to make the upcoming status conference on May 2, 2017 as productive as possible, the Court directs the parties to be prepared to discuss plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 4/27/2017. (lcegs2) (Entered: 04/27/2017)
2017-05-02Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan: Status Conference held on 5/2/2017. The Court grants 21 MOTION to Amend/Correct 1 Complaint, by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE. Plaintiff To File Amended Complaint due by 5/9/2017. Defendant Response due by 5/20/2017. Plaintiff Response To Motions due by 6/6/2017. Government Reply due by 6/20/2017. Joint Status Report due by 5/17/2017, Status Conference set for 5/19/2017 at 12:00 PM in Courtroom 24A before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. The Court Will Issue A Minute Order Forthcoming. (Court Reporter SCOTT WALLACE.) (mac) (Entered: 05/02/2017)
2017-05-02MINUTE ORDER granting over objection plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2) ("The court should freely give leave when justice so requires."); see also Richardson v. United States, 193 F.3d 545, 548-49 (D.C. Cir. 1999) ("Leave to amend a complaint should be freely given in the absence of undue delay, bad faith, undue prejudice to the opposing party, repeated failure to cure deficiencies, or futility.") (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962)). Plaintiff is directed to file its amended complaint by no later than May 9, 2017. Defendant is directed to answer or otherwise respond to the amended complaint by no later than May 22, 2017. Plaintiff shall file any response by no later than June 6, 2016. Defendant shall file any reply by no later than June 20, 2017. Pursuant to plaintiff's counsel's representations at the status conference on May 2, 2017, Requests 5 and 6 from plaintiff's FOIA Request dated August 15, 2016 and assigned Case Control Number F-2016-10421 have been withdrawn. The parties are directed to meet and confer in person in an effort to narrow plaintiff's request for documents and to determine a reasonable schedule for an expedited production of documents. The parties are directed to file a joint status report, including a recommendation as to the scope and pace of document production, by no later than May 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm. In the event that counsel are unable to agree on a joint recommendation, each party shall file an individual recommendation by that time. The Court will hold a status conference on May 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm in Courtroom 24A. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 5/2/2017. (lcegs2) (Entered: 05/02/2017)
2017-05-0225AMENDED COMPLAINT against UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE filed by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B)(znmw) (Entered: 05/03/2017)
2017-05-03MINUTE ORDER. In light of the Order granting plaintiff's motion to file an amended complaint and substantially for the reasons stated on the record at the status conference on May 2, 2017, 15 defendant's partial motion for judgment on the pleadings is denied without prejudice as moot. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 5/3/2017. (lcegs2) (Entered: 05/03/2017)
2017-05-1726STATUS REPORT and Plaintiff's Separate Recommendation by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE. (Sisney, Benjamin) (Entered: 05/17/2017)
2017-05-1727STATUS REPORT (Statement and Recommendation) by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit)(Lee, Jason) (Entered: 05/17/2017)
2017-05-17MINUTE ORDER. In light of [26, 27] the parties' status reports, the Court directs each party to file a short submission by no later than 3:00 P.M. on May 18, 2017 that discusses the rate of processing in other recent FOIA cases in which the Department of State is a defendant. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on May 17, 2017. (lcegs2) (Entered: 05/17/2017)
2017-05-1828STATUS REPORT (Plaintiff's submission per Court's Order of May 17, 2017, regarding other FOIA lawsuits against this Defendant) by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE. (Sisney, Benjamin) (Entered: 05/18/2017)
2017-05-1829STATUS REPORT (submission regarding processing rates) by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 05/18/2017)
2017-05-1830STATUS REPORT (supplemental submission regarding processing rates) by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 05/18/2017)
2017-05-19Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan: Status Conference held on 5/19/2017. Joint Status Report due by 12/15/2017. Status Conference set for 1/10/2018 at 12:00 PM in Courtroom 24A before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. The Court Will Issue An Order Forthcoming. (Court Reporter CRYSTAL PILGRIM.) (mac) (Entered: 05/19/2017)
2017-05-1931ORDER as to processing and production rates for documents responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA request. See document for details. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on May 19, 2017. (lcegs2) (Entered: 05/19/2017)
2017-05-2232MOTION to Dismiss or in the alternative, MOTION to Stay Proceedings on Count Two of the Amended Complaint by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Lee, Jason). Added MOTION to Stay on 6/21/2017 (jf). (Entered: 05/22/2017)
2017-06-0633Memorandum in opposition to re 32 MOTION to Dismiss filed by AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE. (Southerland, Abigail) (Entered: 06/06/2017)
2017-06-2034REPLY to opposition to motion re 32 MOTION to Dismiss filed by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 06/20/2017)
2017-06-2635Joint MOTION for Extension of Time to File Status Report by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 06/26/2017)
2017-06-26MINUTE ORDER granting 35 joint motion for extension of time to file status report. Defendant is directed to file a status report by no later than June 28, 2017. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on June 26, 2017. (lcegs2) (Entered: 06/26/2017)
2017-06-27Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant Status Report due by 6/28/2017 (mac) (Entered: 06/27/2017)
2017-06-2836STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 06/28/2017)
2017-07-1137TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan held on 5-2-17; Page Numbers: (1-42). Date of Issuance:7-11-17. Court Reporter/Transcriber Scott Wallace, Telephone number 202-354-3196, Transcripts may be ordered by submitting the <a href="http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/node/110">Transcript Order Form</a><P></P><P></P>For the first 90 days after this filing date, the transcript may be viewed at the courthouse at a public terminal or purchased from the court reporter referenced above. After 90 days, the transcript may be accessed via PACER. Other transcript formats, (multi-page, condensed, CD or ASCII) may be purchased from the court reporter.<P> NOTICE RE REDACTION OF TRANSCRIPTS: The parties have twenty-one days to file with the court and the court reporter any request to redact personal identifiers from this transcript. If no such requests are filed, the transcript will be made available to the public via PACER without redaction after 90 days. The policy, which includes the five personal identifiers specifically covered, is located on our website at www.dcd.uscourts.gov.<P></P> Redaction Request due 8/1/2017. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 8/11/2017. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 10/9/2017.(Wallace, Scott) (Entered: 07/11/2017)
2017-07-2638STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 07/26/2017)
2017-07-2839STANDING ORDER: The parties are directed to read the attached Standing Order Governing Civil Cases Before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in its entirety upon receipt. The parties are hereby ORDERED to comply with the directives in the attached Standing Order. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 7/28/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit) (lcegs1) (Entered: 07/28/2017)
2017-08-2240STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 08/22/2017)
2017-09-2241STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 09/22/2017)
2017-10-2342STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 10/23/2017)
2017-11-02Case directly reassigned to Judge Trevor N. McFadden. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan is no longer assigned to the case. (ztnr) (Entered: 11/02/2017)
2017-11-13NOTICE OF COURTROOM CHANGE. The parties shall take notice that the Status Conference scheduled for 1/10/2018, at 12:00 PM, will be heard in Courtroom 2 before Judge Trevor N. McFadden. (hmc) (Entered: 11/13/2017)
2017-11-15MINUTE ORDER: In light of the recent assignment of this case to Judge McFadden, the parties are advised that the pre-existing schedule for this case remains in effect. The parties shall comply with all deadlines as previously ordered. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on November 15, 2017. (lctnm2) (Entered: 11/15/2017)
2017-11-15ENTERED IN ERROR....MINUTE ORDER: In light of the recent assignment of this case to Judge McFadden, the parties are advised that the pre-existing schedule for this case remains in effect. The parties shall comply with all deadlines as previously ordered. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on November 15, 2017. (lctnm2) Modified on 11/15/2017 (hmc). (Entered: 11/15/2017)
2017-11-15NOTICE OF CORRECTED DOCKET ENTRY: The second Minute Order entered on 11/15/2017, regarding the pre-existing schedule, was entered in error as a duplicate order. The parties shall disregard the entry. (hmc) (Entered: 11/15/2017)
2017-11-2243STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 11/22/2017)
2017-12-0544Joint MOTION for Extension of Time to File Joint Status Report and to Reschedule Status Hearing by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE (Lee, Jason) (Entered: 12/05/2017)
2017-12-06MINUTE ORDER granting the parties' 44 Joint Motion for Extension of Time to File Joint Status Report and to Reschedule Status Hearing, for good cause shown. The parties shall now file a joint status report on January 17, 2018, addressing the subjects detailed in the Court's 31 Order of May 19, 2017. It is further ORDERED that the status hearing previously scheduled for January 10, 2018 is hereby rescheduled for January 29, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 2, before Judge Trevor N. McFadden. In addition to production issues, the parties shall be prepared to address whether the Court should stay proceedings on Count II of the Amended Complaint, or decide the pending 32 Motion to Dismiss that Count. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Trevor N. McFadden on 12/6/2017. (lctnm2) (Entered: 12/06/2017)
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