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Case TitleCHASE v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA et al
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2017cv00274
Date Filed2017-02-13
Date Closed2018-03-15
JudgeJudge James E. Boasberg
PlaintiffDENNIS CHASE
Case DescriptionDennis Chase, a federal prisoner, submitted a FOIA request to the U.S. Marshals Service for records about himself. He also submitted a FOIA request to the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys for records about his case. The agencies acknowledged receipt of his requests, but after hearing nothing further from either agency, Chase filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit

DefendantUNITED STATES OF AMERICA
DefendantDEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DefendantEXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR U.S. ATTORNEYS
DefendantUNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE
DefendantFEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Opinion/Order [36]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge James Boasberg has ruled that the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and the U.S. Marshals Service conducted an adequate search for records concerning Dennis Chase's 2011 conviction on child pornography charges, properly withheld some records under Exemption 3 (other statutes), Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques), and that in response to a referral from EOUSA, the FBI properly declined to disclose 1,216 pages of responsive records because Chase refused to pay copying fees. EOUSA and USMS disclosed 458 pages to Chase, but EOUSA referred 1,216 pages to the FBI for its response. Because Chase did not agree to pay fees, the FBI refused to provide the records. Chase complained that EOUSA's referral to the FBI was improper. But Boasberg pointed out that "this is not a case where one agency has attempted to pass off its FOIA responsibilities to another; rather, EOUSA properly referred material to the FBI, which, after review, was willing to release that material to Chase provided he pay the duplication fees. As the originating agency, the FBI could properly review whether any exemptions might apply before releasing the records to Chase. The only impediment to the release of the FBI materials is Plaintiff's inability or unwillingness to pay $59.70 or meet the statutory requirements for a fee waiver." Boasberg agreed that Rule 6(e) on grand jury secrecy, as well as the Child Victims' and Child Witnesses' Rights Act, qualified as Exemption 3 statutes and protected the records withheld by EOUSA. He also found that the Marshals Service's FedEx account number was protected by Exemption 7(E). Rejecting Chase's claim that he was entitled to a fee waiver, Boasberg also dismissed Chase's contention that the FBI waived its right to collect fees because it had missed the statutory time limit. Boasberg pointed out that "although this would have been the case had the FBI been requesting search fees, Defendant clarified that the FBI only requested duplication fees, which an agency can still request regardless of its non-compliance with FOIA's timeliness requirements."
Issues: Adequacy - Search, Exemption 3 - Statutory prohibition of disclosure, Fees - Commitment to pay
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2017-02-131COMPLAINT against DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR U.S. ATTORNEYS, UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA filed by DENNIS CHASE. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(td) (Entered: 02/14/2017)
2017-02-132MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis by DENNIS CHASE (td) (Entered: 02/14/2017)
2017-02-133PRISONER ACCOUNT STATEMENT by DENNIS CHASE (td) (Entered: 02/14/2017)
2017-02-134ORDER directing an initial partial filing fee in the amount of $16.84 from Prison Account of DENNIS CHASE and granting MOTION for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (see order for full details). Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 2/9/17. (td) (Entered: 02/14/2017)
2017-02-155SUMMONS (4) Issued as to EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR U.S. ATTORNEYS, UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (jd) (Entered: 02/15/2017)
2017-02-226RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 2/16/2017. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 3/18/2017.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR U.S. ATTORNEYS served on 2/16/2017; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA served on 2/16/2017, RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 2/16/17. (td) (Entered: 02/23/2017)
2017-03-207ANSWER to 1 Complaint by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.(Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 03/20/2017)
2017-03-20MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that the Government shall file any motion for summary judgment by April 20, 2017, with Plaintiff's opposition and any cross motion due by May 19, 2017, the Government's reply (and possible opposition) due by June 9, 2017, and any reply by Plaintiff due by June 30, 2017. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 3/20/2017. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 03/20/2017)
2017-03-20Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motions due by 4/20/2017. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 5/19/2017. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 6/9/2017. Replies due by 6/30/2017. (nbn) (Entered: 03/21/2017)
2017-04-038ERRATA (Modification of Plaintiff's Motion Under the FOIA and Privacy Acts by DENNIS CHASE. (td) (Entered: 04/05/2017)
2017-04-079RESPONSE re 7 Answer to 1 Complaint filed by DENNIS CHASE. (jf) (Entered: 04/10/2017)
2017-04-10MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that Plaintiff's 9 Response is STRICKEN given that Defendants' Answer is not a motion for summary judgment and thus any "response" to an Answer is inappropriate. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 4/10/2017. (lcjeb3) (Entered: 04/10/2017)
2017-04-1310MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 04/13/2017)
2017-04-13MINUTE ORDER granting 10 Motion for Extension of Time to File. The Court ORDERS that Defendants shall file their motion for summary judgment on or before May 15, 2017. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 4/13/2017. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 04/13/2017)
2017-04-13Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motions due by 5/15/2017. (nbn) (Entered: 04/13/2017)
2017-05-1111MOTION to Stay Proceedings by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 05/11/2017)
2017-05-11MINUTE ORDER GRANTING 11 Motion to Stay. The Court ORDERS that Defendants provide the Court with a status update by July 14, 2017. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 5/11/2017. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 05/11/2017)
2017-05-12Case Stayed, Set/Reset Deadlines:( Status Report due by 7/14/2017) (nbn) (Entered: 05/12/2017)
2017-06-0512MOTION to Lift Stay by DENNIS CHASE (td) (Entered: 06/07/2017)
2017-06-2113Memorandum in opposition to re 12 MOTION to Lift Stay filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 06/21/2017)
2017-06-21MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that Plaintiff's 12 Motion to Lift Stay is DENIED as premature. Defendant is scheduled to update the Court by July 14, 2017, on its processing, and Plaintiff may weigh in thereafter if he disagrees with a further schedule set by the Court. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 6/21/2017. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 06/21/2017)
2017-06-21Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant is scheduled to update the Court by July 14, 2017, on its processing. (znbn) (Entered: 06/22/2017)
2017-07-1414STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A through C)(Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 07/14/2017)
2017-07-14MINUTE ORDER: Per Defendants' 14 Status Report, Defendants shall file a further status report on or before August 14, 2017. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 7/14/17. (lcjeb2) (Entered: 07/14/2017)
2017-07-14Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 8/14/2017. (znbn) (Entered: 07/14/2017)
2017-08-1415STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR U.S. ATTORNEYS, UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE. (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 08/14/2017)
2017-08-15MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that Defendants shall file a further Status Report by September 15, 2017. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 8/15/17.(lcjeb1) (Entered: 08/15/2017)
2017-08-15Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 9/15/2017. (nbn) (Entered: 08/15/2017)
2017-09-0516RESPONSE re 14 Status Report, 15 Status Report filed by DENNIS CHASE. (jf) (Entered: 09/07/2017)
2017-09-0517MOTION to Lift Stay by DENNIS CHASE. (See Docket Entry 16 to view document) (jf) (Entered: 09/08/2017)
2017-09-1518STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of David M. Hardy)(Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 09/15/2017)
2017-09-1519RESPONSE re 17 MOTION to Lift Stay filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of David M. Hardy)(Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 09/15/2017)
2017-09-18MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that: 1) Plaintiff's 17 Motion to Lift Stay is GRANTED IN PART; 2) The Stay is LIFTED; and 3) Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is due by October 16, 2017, with Plaintiff's Opposition due by November 16, 2017, and Defendant's Reply by November 30, 2017. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 9/18/17. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 09/18/2017)
2017-09-18Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motions due by 10/16/2017. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 11/16/2017. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 11/30/2017. (nbn) (Entered: 09/19/2017)
2017-09-1920MOTION to Amend/Correct 1 Complaint by DENNIS CHASE (td) (Entered: 09/20/2017)
2017-09-2021MOTION for in Camera Review by DENNIS CHASE; "Leave to file GRANTED" by Judge James E. Boasberg (td) (Entered: 09/21/2017)
2017-09-21MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that Plaintiff's 21 Motion for In Camera Review is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. He may raise the issue in the context of the summary-judgment briefing, but such a request is premature at this point. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 9/21/17. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 09/21/2017)
2017-10-10MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that Plaintiff's 20 Motion to Amend is GRANTED, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is added as a Defendant in this action. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 10/10/17. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 10/10/2017)
2017-10-1322MOTION to Modify Briefing Schedule by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR U.S. ATTORNEYS, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 10/13/2017)
2017-10-13MINUTE ORDER: The Court GRANTS Defendants' 22 Motion to Modify the Briefing Schedule and ORDERS that 1) Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before November 16, 2017; 2) Plaintiff's Opposition shall be filed on or before December 18, 2017; and 3) Defendants' Reply shall be filed on or before January 8, 2018. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 10/13/17. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 10/13/2017)
2017-10-13Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motions due by 11/16/2017. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 12/18/2017. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 1/8/2018. (nbn) (Entered: 10/13/2017)
2017-10-1323NOTICE of Appearance by Scott Leeson Sroka on behalf of All Defendants (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 10/13/2017)
2017-10-1324Letter from Plaintiff ; "Leave to file GRANTED" by Judge James E. Boasberg (Copy docket sheet mailed to plaintiff) (td) (Entered: 10/18/2017)
2017-10-1925MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to Summary Judgment Motion by DENNIS CHASE (jf) (Entered: 10/23/2017)
2017-10-23MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that Plaintiff's 25 Motion for Extension is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE as premature. Should he need an extension once he has reviewed Defendants' motion for summary judgment, he may so move. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 10/23/17. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 10/23/2017)
2017-11-1326MOTION for Court to Order Defendants to Respond by DENNIS CHASE (td) (Entered: 11/15/2017)
2017-11-16MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that Plaintiff's 26 Motion is GRANTED, and the Clerk shall mail him a copy of ECF No. 18. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 11/16/17. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 11/16/2017)
2017-11-1627MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR U.S. ATTORNEYS, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 11/16/2017)
2017-11-16MINUTE ORDER GRANTING 27 Motion for Extension of Time to File. The Court ORDERS that Defendants shall file their Motion for Summary Judgment on or before November 20, 2017. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 11/16/2017. (lcjeb3) (Entered: 11/16/2017)
2017-11-17Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendants Summary Judgment motions due by 11/20/2017. (lsj) (Entered: 11/17/2017)
2017-11-2028MOTION for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR U.S. ATTORNEYS, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts To Which There Is No Genuine Issue, # 2 Declaration of Princina Stone, # 3 Exhibit A to Stone Decl. - Vaughn Index, # 4 Exhibit B to Stone Decl., # 5 Exhibit C to Stone Decl., # 6 Exhibit D to Stone Decl., # 7 Exhibit E to Stone Decl., # 8 Exhibit F to Stone Decl., # 9 Declaration of William E. Bordley, # 10 Declaration of Bernetta Miller, # 11 Declaration of David M. Hardy)(Sroka, Scott) (Attachment 11 replaced on 11/21/2017) (znmw). (Entered: 11/20/2017)
2017-11-2029ORDER DIRECTING Plaintiff to respond to Defendants' 28 Motion for Summary Judgment no later than December 18, 2017. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 11/20/17. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 11/20/2017)
2017-11-20Set/Reset Deadlines: Responses due by 12/18/2017. (znbn) (Entered: 11/20/2017)
2017-11-3030MOTION for Additional Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 28 MOTION for Summary Judgment by DENNIS CHASE (td) (Entered: 12/07/2017)
2017-12-08MINUTE ORDER GRANTING Plaintiff's 30 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply. The Court ORDERS that Plaintiff shall respond on or before January 18, 2018. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 12/8/17. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 12/08/2017)
2017-12-08Set/Reset Deadlines: Responses due by 1/18/2018. (nbn) (Entered: 12/08/2017)
2017-12-1131Second MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 28 MOTION for Summary Judgment by DENNIS CHASE (td) (Entered: 12/12/2017)
2017-12-13MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that Plaintiff's 31 Motion is DENIED as moot given that the Court has already granted him an extension until January 18, 2018. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 12/13/17. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 12/13/2017)
2018-01-1032Memorandum in opposition to re 28 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DENNIS CHASE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(td) (Entered: 01/11/2018)
2018-02-2333ORDER. The Court ORDERS that Defendants submit on or before March 5, 2018, additional briefing explaining how it may require Plaintiff to pay search fees in light of the agency's violation of 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A). If the Court requires a response from Plaintiff, it will so inform him. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 2/23/18. (lcjeb1) Modified to add event title on 2/26/2018 (znmw). (Entered: 02/23/2018)
2018-02-23Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendants Brief due by 3/5/2018. (lsj) (Entered: 02/23/2018)
2018-03-0534RESPONSE TO ORDER OF THE COURT re 33 Order, filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 03/05/2018)
2018-03-1535ORDER GRANTING 28 Motion for Summary Judgment and ENTERING JUDGMENT in favor of Defendants. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 3/15/2018. (lcjeb2) (Entered: 03/15/2018)
2018-03-1536MEMORANDUM OPINION re 35 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 3/15/2018. (lcjeb2) (Entered: 03/15/2018)
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