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Case TitlePROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. v. NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2017cv01000
Date Filed2017-05-24
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
PlaintiffPROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.
Case DescriptionThe Protect Democracy Project submitted a FOIA request to the National Security Agency for records concerning communications between the NSA and the White House pertaining to contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign or Trump administration. The Protect Democracy Project also requested a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, the Protect Democracy Project filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantNATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY
DefendantOFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
DefendantOFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
TERMINATED: 06/20/2018
DefendantDEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DefendantDEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
TERMINATED: 06/20/2018
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

2017-05-241COMPLAINT against NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4965090) filed by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit FOIA Request, # 2 Exhibit NSA Response, # 3 Civil Cover Sheet, # 4 Summons NSA Summons, # 5 Summons Attorney General Summons, # 6 Summons USAO-DC Summons)(Abate, Michael) (Entered: 05/24/2017)
2017-05-24Case Assigned to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. (sth) (Entered: 05/25/2017)
2017-05-252LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. (Abate, Michael) (Entered: 05/25/2017)
2017-05-253SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Summons, # 2 Summons, # 3 Summons)(sth) (Entered: 05/25/2017)
2017-05-264ORDER Establishing Procedures for Cases Assigned to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on May 26, 2017. (NS) (Entered: 05/26/2017)
2017-06-055RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 6/2/2017. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 7/2/2017. (Abate, Michael) (Entered: 06/05/2017)
2017-06-056RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY served on 5/31/2017 (Abate, Michael) (Entered: 06/05/2017)
2017-06-157RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 06/01/2017. (Abate, Michael) (Entered: 06/15/2017)
2017-06-308ANSWER to Complaint by NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY.(Motgi, Anjali) (Entered: 06/30/2017)
2017-07-07ENTERED IN ERROR.....MINUTE ORDER. The parties shall file a schedule not later than August 11, 2017. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 7/7/2017. (lcckk1) Modified on 7/10/2017 (znmw). (Entered: 07/07/2017)
2017-07-079ORDER. The parties shall file the schedule not later than August 11, 2017. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 7/7/2017. (lcckk1) (Entered: 07/07/2017)
2017-07-07Set/Reset Deadlines: The parties shall file schedule by 8/11/2017. (dot) (Entered: 07/07/2017)
2017-07-10NOTICE OF CORRECTED DOCKET ENTRY: Docket Entry Minute Order was entered in error and was refiled as Docket Entry 9 Order with order attached. (znmw) (Entered: 07/10/2017)
2017-07-2410NOTICE of Appearance by Benjamin Leon Berwick on behalf of PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. (Berwick, Benjamin) (Entered: 07/24/2017)
2017-08-0311Consent MOTION to Amend/Correct 1 Complaint, by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Amended Complaint, # 2 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order)(Abate, Michael) (Entered: 08/03/2017)
2017-08-07MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received Plaintiff's 11 Consent Motion to File Amended Complaint. The Motion is GRANTED as the Court finds that "justice so requires." Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 8/7/2017. (lcckk1) (Entered: 08/07/2017)
2017-08-0712AMENDED COMPLAINT against NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE filed by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC..(znmw) (Entered: 08/08/2017)
2017-08-1113Joint STATUS REPORT and Proposed Schedule by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE. (Motgi, Anjali) (Entered: 08/11/2017)
2017-08-14MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received the parties' 13 Joint Status Report. The parties shall abide by the following schedule. By AUGUST 18, 2017, the parties shall file a proposed schedule with respect to Defendants Department of Justice and Office of the Director of National Intelligence. By OCTOBER 25, 2017, the parties shall file a proposed production schedule with respect to Defendant National Security Agency. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 8/14/2017. (lcckk1) (Entered: 08/14/2017)
2017-08-14Set/Reset Deadlines: Parties proposed schedule due by 8/18/2017. Parties proposed production schedule due by 10/25/2017. (dot) (Entered: 08/15/2017)
2017-08-1814ANSWER to 12 Amended Complaint by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE. Related document: 12 Amended Complaint filed by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC..(Motgi, Anjali) (Entered: 08/18/2017)
2017-08-1815Joint STATUS REPORT and Proposed Schedule by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE. (Motgi, Anjali) (Entered: 08/18/2017)
2017-08-28MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received the parties' 15 Joint Status Report and Proposed Schedule for Defendants Office of the Director of National Intelligence ("ODNI"), and the Department of Justice ("DOJ"). The parties shall abide by the following schedule. By OCTOBER 10, 2017, ODNI and DOJ will complete the searches for Plaintiff's FOIA requests made to those Defendants. By OCTOBER 25, 2017, the parties will file a joint proposed production schedule with respect to those Defendants. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 8/28/2017. (lcckk1) (Entered: 08/28/2017)
2017-08-28Set/Reset Deadlines: ODNI and DOJ will complete the searches by 10/10/2017. Joint proposed production schedule due by 10/25/2017. (dot) (Entered: 09/01/2017)
2017-09-18Case directly reassigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is no longer assigned to the case. (ztnr) (Entered: 09/18/2017)
2017-10-2516Joint STATUS REPORT and Proposed Schedule by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE. (Motgi, Anjali) (Entered: 10/25/2017)
2017-11-0217Case randomly reassigned to Judge Rudolph Contreras. Judge Timothy J. Kelly is no longer assigned to the case. (ztnr) (Entered: 11/03/2017)
2017-11-22Case directly reassigned to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. Judge Rudolph Contreras is no longer assigned to the case. (ztnr) (Entered: 11/22/2017)
2017-12-04MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received the parties' 16 Joint Status Report and Proposed Schedule for Defendants Office of the Director of National Intelligence ("ODNI"), Department of Justice ("DOJ"), and National Security Agency ("NSA"). The parties shall abide by the following schedule. ODNI shall review for responsiveness and process for production 400 pages of potentially responsive records per month, beginning with a first production on DECEMBER 20, 2017 . ODNI shall produce all non-exempt responsive records by APRIL 2, 2018 . DOJ shall review for responsiveness and process for production 1000 potentially responsive items per month, beginning with a first production on DECEMBER 20, 2017 . DOJ shall produce all non-exempt responsive records by MAY 2, 2018 . NSA shall review for responsiveness and process responsive records on the following schedule: First production on DECEMBER 20, 2017 ; second production on MARCH 20, 2018 ; and final production on MAY 21, 2018 . NSA shall produce all non-exempt responsive records by this final production date. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on December 4, 2017. (lcckk1) (Entered: 12/04/2017)
2018-04-1318MOTION for Summary Judgment against National Security Agency by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Abate, Michael) (Entered: 04/13/2018)
2018-04-16MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received Plaintiff's 18 Motion for Summary Judgment Against National Security Agency. Plaintiff has not given any indication that Plaintiff intended to file such a motion, nor has the Court invited it. The Court's Minute Order of December 4, 2017, set forth a schedule for continued processing and production of non-exempt responsive materials by each of the three Defendants. Of particular note here, Defendant National Security Agency was to make a final production on May 21, 2018, more than five weeks beyond Plaintiff's submission of its 18 Motion on April 13, 2018. The Court expected that the parties would abide by their representation, in their 16 Joint Status Report, that they would "submit a Joint Status Report within thirty days of the final Defendant's final production." As it is now, the Court is unaware of Defendants' views of the status of this case, which may shape the most appropriate means of handling it. Accordingly, in the interest of efficient resolution of this matter, the Court shall DENY WITHOUT PREJUDICE Plaintiff's 18 Motion. The parties shall file a Joint Status Report on or before APRIL 30, 2018 , that, at a minimum, identifies the status of document productions and withholdings by each Defendant, indicates Plaintiff's view as to those productions, and proposes a briefing schedule, if applicable. The Court observes that it is strongly disinclined to resolve portions of this Freedom of Information Act case on a piecemeal basis prior to completion of all processing and production. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on April 16, 2018. (lcckk1) (Entered: 04/16/2018)
2018-04-16Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 4/30/2018. (dot) (Entered: 04/16/2018)
2018-04-3019Joint STATUS REPORT by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.. (Abate, Michael) (Entered: 04/30/2018)
2018-05-15MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received the parties' 19 Joint Status Report and Proposed Schedule, which indicates that the parties disagree as to whether Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment against Defendant NSA should be briefed before the productions by all Defendants have been completed. While Defendants NSA and ODNI have completed their processing of Plaintiff's request, Defendant DOJ requires an additional four months to do so. Although Plaintiff identifies some basis for asserting economy in bifurcation, the Court remains of the view that it is ultimately more efficient for the Court to resolve one or more motions for summary judgment as to all Defendants at once. See Min. Order of Apr. 16, 2018 ("The Court observes that it is strongly disinclined to resolve portions of this Freedom of Information Act case on a piecemeal basis prior to completion of all processing and production."). Moreover, Plaintiff appears not to have sought expedited treatment for any of the FOIA requests at issue in this case. Accordingly, in an exercise of the Court's discretion to efficiently resolve this case, the Court adopts the following timeline. Defendant DOJ shall complete its processing of Plaintiff's FOIA request by SEPTEMBER 3, 2018 . Based on Plaintiff's interest in resolving this case efficiently, the Court shall, sua sponte , require that Defendants ODNI and DOJ share draft Vaughn indices with Plaintiff by SEPTEMBER 17, 2018 , unless the parties expressly agree to the contrary. The parties shall file a Joint Status Report by OCTOBER 3, 2018 , confirming the status of Defendants' productions and draft Vaughn indices and proposing a briefing schedule applicable to the entirety of the case. If, contrary to appearances, Plaintiff did seek expedited treatment of its FOIA requests by any of Defendants, then Plaintiff may file a notice with the Court by MAY 18, 2018 , indicating those Defendants as to which Plaintiff did seek expedited treatment and describing the resolution of any such request. Upon the filing of any such notice, the Court shall re-evaluate the aforementioned deadlines. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on May 15, 2018. (lcckk1) (Entered: 05/15/2018)
2018-05-15Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 10/3/2018, confirming the status of Defendants' productions and draft Vaughn indices and proposing a briefing schedule applicable to the entirety of the case. (dot) (Entered: 05/16/2018)
2018-06-1920Joint MOTION to Dismiss Certain Defendants , Joint MOTION to Modify Scheduling Order by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Abate, Michael) (Entered: 06/19/2018)
2018-06-2021ORDER. Defendants DOJ and ODNI are DISMISSED from this lawsuit and relieved of all remaining obligations under existing scheduling orders established by the Court. See Order for further details. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on June 20, 2018. (lcckk1) (Entered: 06/20/2018)
2018-06-2022SCHEDULING AND PROCEDURES ORDER. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on June 20, 2018. (lcckk1) (Entered: 06/20/2018)
2018-06-20Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Cross Motion due by 8/9/2018; Response to Cross Motion due by 8/30/2018; Reply to Cross Motions due by 9/14/2018. Plaintiff's Summary Judgment Motion due by 6/25/2018; Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/9/2018; Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/30/2018. (dot) (Entered: 06/21/2018)
2018-06-2523MOTION for Summary Judgment by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Abate, Michael) (Entered: 06/25/2018)
2018-08-0924Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Steven E. Thompson, # 2 Exhibit to Thompson Declaration, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Motgi, Anjali) (Entered: 08/09/2018)
2018-08-0925RESPONSE re 18 MOTION for Summary Judgment against National Security Agency (Opposition) filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY, OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Steven E. Thompson, # 2 Exhibit to)(Motgi, Anjali) (Entered: 08/09/2018)
2018-08-3026REPLY to opposition to motion re 23 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.. (Abate, Michael) (Entered: 08/30/2018)
2018-08-3027RESPONSE re 24 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.. (Abate, Michael) (Entered: 08/30/2018)
2018-09-1328REPLY to opposition to motion re 24 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY. (Motgi, Anjali) (Entered: 09/13/2018)
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