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Case TitleRobert Beard, et al v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
DistrictEastern District of Louisiana
CityNew Orleans
Case Number2:2017cv02668
Date Filed2017-03-29
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon
PlaintiffRobert Beard
PlaintiffCarolyn Milton
PlaintiffGarry Lewis
PlaintiffLivingston Town, LA
Case DescriptionRobert Beard and several neighbors submitted FOIA requests to the Army Corps of Engineers concerning access to water. The agency did not respond and Beard filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantU.S. Army Corps of Engineers
DefendantU.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Opinion/Order [28]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in Louisiana has ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to amend its Vaughn index to explain its Exemption 5 (privileges) claims for 154 emails made in response to a request by Robert Beard and other residents for records concerning conditions in Livingston, Louisiana. The court indicated that the amended index needed to "specifically identify the parties to the emails, including their names, positions, job duties and professional affiliation; includes more detailed descriptions of the content of the emails and their attachments other than simply the subject line of the email; describes the portion of the information that is non-exempt and how it is dispersed throughout the document so that it cannot be separately produced; and, explains the exact reason that the documents is withheld, either as an internal communication that is predecisional and deliberative or an attorney/client communication."
Issues: Litigation - Vaughn index
Opinion/Order [40]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in Louisiana has indicated that it will review a supplemental ex parte in camera affidavit submitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assess whether the agency properly claimed that withheld records concerning a project near Livingston, Louisiana were protected under Exemption 5 (privileges). The court had previously found that the agency's Vaughn index was insufficient and ordered the agency to provide a supplemental index. The agency requested permission to submit it supplementary index in camera. This time, the court noted that "after reviewing the supplemental Vaughn index, the comparison of the Vaughn indices and the parties' arguments, the court finds that an ex parte in camera inspection of the withheld documents is warranted to ensure that they are indeed subject to the FOIA exemptions claimed."
Issues: Litigation - In camera review
Opinion/Order [42]
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2017-03-291COMPLAINT against U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 053L-6054334) filed by Robert Beard. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)Attorney Joshua M. Lewis added to party Robert Beard(pty:pla).(Lewis, Joshua) Modified text on 4/3/2017 (jls). (Entered: 03/29/2017)
2017-03-302Initial Case Assignment to Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon and Magistrate Judge Janis van Meerveld. (jeg) (Entered: 03/30/2017)
2017-03-303Amendment/Supplement to Document by All Plaintiffs re 1 Complaint, with attached exhibits (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5a, # 6 Exhibit 5b, # 7 Exhibit 6)(Lewis, Joshua) (Entered: 03/30/2017)
2017-04-034Request of Summons Issued as to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers filed by All Plaintiffs re 1 Complaint,. (Attachments: # 1 Summons)(Lewis, Joshua) (Entered: 04/03/2017)
2017-04-045Summons Issued as to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (ajn) (Entered: 04/04/2017)
2017-05-026Request of Summons Issued as to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers filed by Robert Beard re 1 Complaint,. (Attachments: # 1 Summons No. 1, # 2 Summons No. 2)(Lewis, Joshua) (Attachment 1 replaced on 5/3/2017) (ajn). (Attachment 2 replaced on 5/3/2017) (ajn). (Entered: 05/02/2017)
2017-05-037Summons Issued as to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (Attachments: # 1 Summons)(ajn) (Entered: 05/03/2017)
2017-06-078EXPARTE/CONSENT MOTION for Extension of Time to Answer re 1 Complaint, by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)Attorney Brock Darren Dupre added to party U.S. Army Corps of Engineers(pty:dft).(Dupre, Brock) (Entered: 06/07/2017)
2017-06-089ORDER granting 8 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer re 1 Complaint as to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers answer due 6/29/2017. Signed by Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon on 6/7/2017. (cms) (Entered: 06/08/2017)
2017-06-2010EXPARTE/CONSENT MOTION to Enroll as Additional Counsel of Record Drake L. Lewis by Robert Beard. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Lewis, Joshua) (Entered: 06/20/2017)
2017-06-2111ORDER granting 10 Motion to Enroll as Additional Counsel of Record, Attorney Drake L. Lewis, for Robert Beard. Signed by Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon on 6/21/2017. (ajn) (Entered: 06/21/2017)
2017-06-2912ANSWER to 1 Complaint, by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.(Dupre, Brock) (Entered: 06/29/2017)
2017-07-0713NOTICE: Scheduling Conference set for 7/18/2017 10:15 AM before case manager by telephone. (cbn) (Entered: 07/07/2017)
2017-07-2814NOTICE: Scheduling Conference set for 8/17/2017 10:45 AM before case manager by telephone. (cbn) (Entered: 07/28/2017)
2017-08-1515NOTICE: Scheduling Conference reset for 8/31/2017 10:45 AM before case manager by telephone. (cbn) (Entered: 08/15/2017)
2017-09-0816SCHEDULING ORDER: Final Pretrial Conference set for 3/1/2018 10:30 AM before Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon. Bench Trial set for 3/22/2018 09:00 AM before Judge Lemmon. All discovery must be completed by 1/2/2018. Signed by clerk. (Attachments: # 1 Pretrial Notice Form)(NEF: Mag. Judge van Meerveld)(cbn) (Entered: 09/08/2017)
2017-12-0617MOTION to Compel Vaughn Index by Robert Beard. Motion referred to Janis van Meerveld. Motion(s) will be submitted on 1/3/2018. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit EX A FOIA Denial Letter)(Lewis, Drake) (Additional attachment(s) added on 12/7/2017: # 3 Notice of Submission (Civil Only)) (cms). Modified submission date on 12/7/2017 (cms). (Entered: 12/06/2017)
2017-12-2218RESPONSE/MEMORANDUM in Opposition filed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers re 17 MOTION to Compel Vaughn Index . (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1)(Dupre, Brock) (Entered: 12/22/2017)
2018-01-0219ORDERED that the parties contact Magistrate Judge Janis vanMeerveld within 10 days for the purpose of conducting a settlement conference. Settlement conference must be held before pre-trial. Signed by Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon on 1/2/2018. (cms) (Entered: 01/03/2018)
2018-01-0420ORDER: DENIED as moot 17 Motion for a Vaughn Index. Signed by Magistrate Judge Janis van Meerveld on 1/4/2018. (ajn) (Entered: 01/04/2018)
2018-01-0521EXPARTE/CONSENT Joint MOTION to Continue Trial on the Merits and Related Cutoff Dates by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Dupre, Brock) (Entered: 01/05/2018)
2018-01-0922ORDER granting 21 Joint MOTION to Continue Trial on the Merits and Related Cutoff Dates filed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Trial on the merits is continued for 60 days. Scheduling Conference set for 1/30/2018 02:00 PM before case manager by telephone. Signed by Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon.(ecm) (Entered: 01/09/2018)
2018-01-1623ORDER SCHEDULING SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE: A Settlement Conference is set for Thursday, 4/19/2018 at 2:00 PM before Magistrate Judge Janis van Meerveld. The required settlement memoranda, are due no later than midnight on Thursday, 4/12/2018. Signed by Judge Jay C. Zainey on 1/16/2018.(ajn) (Entered: 01/16/2018)
2018-01-3124SCHEDULING ORDER: Final Pretrial Conference set for 4/26/2018 02:30 PM before Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon. Bench Trial set for 5/21/2018 09:00 AM before Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon. All discovery must be completed by 2/27/2018. Signed by clerk. (Attachments: # 1 Pretrial Notice Form)(ecm) (Entered: 01/31/2018)
2018-02-0825MOTION for Summary Judgment by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Motion(s) will be submitted on 2/28/2018. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit A, # 3 Statement of Contested/Uncontested Facts, # 4 Notice of Submission)(Dupre, Brock) (Entered: 02/08/2018)
2018-02-1326Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by Robert Beard. Motion(s) will be submitted on 2/28/2018. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support and in Reply to Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment, # 2 Statement in Opposition to Defendants Statement of Uncontested Facts, # 3 Statement of Contested/Uncontested Facts Plaintiffs Statement of Uncontested Facts, # 4 Proposed Order, # 5 Notice of Submission)(Lewis, Drake) (Entered: 02/13/2018)
2018-02-2027RESPONSE/MEMORANDUM in Opposition filed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers re 26 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment . (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Contested/Uncontested Facts)(Dupre, Brock) (Entered: 02/20/2018)
2018-03-0128ORDER AND REASONS that Defendant's 25 Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs' 26 Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED as to the requested relief of ordering the defendant to produce a supplemental Vaughn Index. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the defendant produce an amended Vaughn index within 30 days of the date of this order as stated herein. Signed by Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon on 3/1/2018. (cms) (Entered: 03/01/2018)
2018-03-3029Response/Reply by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to 28 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment,,, (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Dupre, Brock) (Entered: 03/30/2018)
2018-04-1330ORDER: At the request of counsel, the Settlement Conference set for April 19, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. is CANCELLED. Signed by Magistrate Judge Janis van Meerveld on 4/13/2018.(ajn) (Entered: 04/13/2018)
2018-04-2031EXPARTE/CONSENT Joint MOTION to Continue by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Dupre, Brock) (Entered: 04/20/2018)
2018-04-2332ORDER granting 31 Joint MOTION to Cancel the Pretrial Conference and Trial. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that dispositive motions shall be filed in sufficient time to be heard by May 30, 2018. Signed by Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon on 4/23/2018. (cms) (Entered: 04/23/2018)
2018-05-0233Second MOTION for Summary Judgment by Robert Beard. Motion(s) will be submitted on 5/23/2018. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Contested/Uncontested Facts, # 2 Memorandum in Support, # 3 Exhibit A, # 4 Exhibit B, # 5 Exhibit C, # 6 Exhibit D, # 7 Exhibit E, # 8 Exhibit F, # 9 Proposed Order, # 10 Notice of Submission)(Lewis, Drake) Modified text on 5/3/2018 (ajn). (Entered: 05/02/2018)
2018-05-1534Second MOTION for Summary Judgment by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Motion(s) will be submitted on 5/30/2018. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit A, # 3 Statement of Contested/Uncontested Facts, # 4 Notice of Submission)(Dupre, Brock) (Entered: 05/15/2018)
2018-05-1535RESPONSE/MEMORANDUM in Opposition filed by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers re 33 Second MOTION for Summary Judgment . (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Contested/Uncontested Facts)(Dupre, Brock) (Entered: 05/15/2018)
2018-05-2236RESPONSE/MEMORANDUM in Opposition filed by All Plaintiffs re 34 Second MOTION for Summary Judgment . (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Contested/Uncontested Facts)(Lewis, Drake) (Entered: 05/22/2018)
2018-05-2237EXPARTE/MOTION for Leave to File Reply by All Plaintiffs re 33 Second MOTION for Summary Judgment . (Lewis, Drake) (Main Document 37 replaced with correct image on 5/23/2018) (cms). (Additional attachment(s) added on 5/23/2018: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Proposed Pleading, # 3 Proposed Order) (cms). Modified on 5/23/2018 (cms). (Entered: 05/22/2018)
2018-05-2438ORDER granting 37 Motion for Leave to File Reply. Signed by Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon on 5/24/2018. (cms) (Entered: 05/24/2018)
2018-05-2439REPLY to Response to Motion filed by Robert Beard, Garry Lewis, Livingston Town, LA, Carolyn Milton re 33 Second MOTION for Summary Judgment . (cms) (Entered: 05/24/2018)
2018-06-1440ORDER AND REASONS: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that 33 Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED as to the requested relief of ordering the defendant to produce the withheld documents for an ex parte in camera inspection. The motion is otherwise DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that 34 Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED as to the requested relief of the court conducting an ex parte in camera inspection of the withheld documents. The motion is otherwise DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the defendant produce the withheld documents to the court for an ex parte in camera inspection within 15 days of the date of this Order. The court will then determine whether the documents were properly withheld pursuant to the claimed FOIA exemptions. Signed by Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon on 6/13/2018. (ajn) (Entered: 06/14/2018)
2018-10-2241NOTICE: Scheduling Conference set for 10/30/2018 03:00 PM before case manager by telephone. The Court will initiate the telephone conference call. Issued by clerk.(ecm) (Entered: 10/22/2018)
2018-10-3042ORDER AND REASONS - IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the USACE has complied with its FOIA obligations and the documents listed on the Vaughn indices were properly withheld. If plaintiffs intend to file a Motion for attorneys' fees, they must set such motion for hearing no later than December 19, 2018. Signed by Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon on 10/30/2018.(sa) (Entered: 10/30/2018)
2018-10-3043ORDER - Considering the Court's Order and Reasons (Rec. Doc. 42); IT IS ORDERED that the Scheduling Conference previously set for October 30, 2018 is hereby CANCELLED. Signed by Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon on 10/30/2018.(sa) (Entered: 10/30/2018)
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