Skip to content

Case Detail

[Subscribe to updates]
Case TitleKHINE, et al. v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2017cv01924
Date Filed2017-09-21
Date Closed2018-09-24
JudgeJudge Rudolph Contreras
PlaintiffKAY KHINE
PlaintiffCATHOLIC CHARITIES
Case DescriptionCatholic Charities submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of Kay Khine for records pertaining to her asylum application. The agency disclosed 850 pages, but did not disclose its assessment report. Catholic Charities did not file an administrative appeal because it contended the agency's response was only an interim response, not a final response. Catholic Charities then filed suit on behalf of Khine.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantUNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Complaint attachment 5
Complaint attachment 6
Complaint attachment 7
Opinion/Order [20]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Rudolph Contreras has ruled that Kay Khine failed to exhaust her administrative remedies by not filing an administrative appeal to the response by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to her FOIA request, but that Catholic Charities, which represented Khine and other individuals seeking their asylum assessment reports from the agency has standing to continue its policy or practice claim against the agency. Khine, a Burmese national seeking asylum, submitted a FOIA request to USCIS for her records. The agency disclosed 860 pages and included a letter of response explaining its exemption claims, indicating that records had been referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further review, and informed Khine of her right to appeal. She opted not to appeal, arguing that to do so would be futile. Instead, Catholic Charities asked Contreras to add Khine as another party to its policy or practice claim against USCIS's failure to process asylum assessment reports and disclose factual portions of those reports. Contreras addressed the matter of standing first. He found that Catholic Charities had standing to continue its policy or practice suit, noting that "plaintiffs allege that DHS has a policy of sending 'computer-generated,' 'template' letters in response to FOIA requests from asylum applicants seeking disclosure of their assessments. They further allege that DHS has sent over 100 such letters during the past six years. Plaintiffs argue that these template letters violate FOIA in a variety of ways. The D.C. Circuit recently [in Judicial Watch v. Dept of Homeland Security, 895 F.3d 770 (D.C. Cir. 2018)] held that similar allegations of a 'pattern' of informal agency conduct violating FOIA with respect to several identical document requests were sufficient to raise a policy-or-practice claim at the pleading stage." Finding that Catholic Charities had standing to continue its suit, Contreras pointed out that Catholic Charities was "likely to be subjected to the [alleged] policy again" because Catholic Charities' "'primary institutional activities' include representing asylum applicants and 'monitor[ing] and examin[ing] the work of asylum officers,' and it 'relies heavily and frequently on FOIA to conduct work that is essential to the performance of' these institutional activities." But Contreras found that by failing to file an administrative appeal Khine had failed to exhaust her administrative remedies and could not continue litigating the agency's response to her request. Citing CREW v. FEC, 711 F.3d 160 (D.C. Cir. 2013), Contreras observed that the agency had provided Khine with a sufficiently detailed initial determination to trigger her obligation to file an administrative appeal. He noted that "plaintiffs have not explained how in this action they have managed to challenge several aspects of DHS's decision making, but somehow could not 'meaningfully' raise these same challenges in an administrative appeal." Catholic Charities argued that if Khine had filed an administrative appeal of her request, and then filed a lawsuit, she would no longer have standing to challenge the initial response. Contreras agreed that "it is true that this Court's de novo review would moot Plaintiffs' challenge to DHS's particular initial response here, regardless of whether that challenge was raised in an administrative appeal." But he pointed out that "to the extent Plaintiffs contend that DHS's alleged policy of sending boilerplate, inadequate initial responses will result in future FOIA violations, the administrative appeal and the filing of a lawsuit would not moot that contention."
Issues: Litigation - Jurisdiction - Failure to Exhaust, Litigation - Jurisdiction - Standing, Litigation - Jurisdiction - Failure to State a Claim
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2017-09-211COMPLAINT Kay Khine against Kay Khine United States Department of Homeland Security ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-5125712) filed by Kay Khine. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Exhibit, # 3 Civil Cover Sheet, # 4 Exhibit, # 5 Summons US Attorney, # 6 Summons US Attorney General, # 7 Summons defendant)(Cleveland, David) (Entered: 09/21/2017)
2017-09-212REQUEST FOR SUMMONS TO ISSUE for US attorney re 1 Complaint, filed by Kay Khine. Related document: 1 Complaint, filed by Kay Khine.(Cleveland, David) (Entered: 09/21/2017)
2017-09-213NOTICE OF RELATED CASE by CATHOLIC CHARITIES, KAY KHINE. Case related to Case No. 14-cv-007-RC. (jd) (Entered: 09/22/2017)
2017-09-21Case Assigned to Judge Rudolph Contreras. (jd) (Entered: 09/22/2017)
2017-09-224SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachment: # 1 Consent Forms)(jd) (Entered: 09/22/2017)
2017-09-225RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 9/22/2017. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 10/22/2017. (Cleveland, David) (Entered: 09/22/2017)
2017-09-276RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 09/26/17. (Cleveland, David) (Entered: 09/27/2017)
2017-09-277RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY served on 9/27/2017 (Cleveland, David) (Entered: 09/27/2017)
2017-10-198NOTICE of Appearance by Alexander Daniel Shoaibi on behalf of UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 10/19/2017)
2017-10-199Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to Complaint by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 10/19/2017)
2017-10-20MINUTE ORDER granting 9 Consent Motion for Extension of Time: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall respond to Plaintiff's Complaint on or before November 22, 2017. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 10/20/2017. (lcrc3) (Entered: 10/20/2017)
2017-10-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Answer due by 11/22/2017 (tj) (Entered: 10/24/2017)
2017-11-2210Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to Complaint by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 11/22/2017)
2017-11-22MINUTE ORDER granting 10 Consent Motion for Extension of Time: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall respond to Plaintiff's complaint on or before November 29, 2017. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 11/22/2017. (lcrc3) (Entered: 11/22/2017)
2017-11-2811MOTION to Dismiss by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Attachments: # 1 Declaration)(Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 11/28/2017)
2017-12-0612Memorandum in opposition to re 11 MOTION to Dismiss filed by KAY KHINE. (Cleveland, David) (Entered: 12/06/2017)
2017-12-1313First MOTION for Extension of Time to File Reply by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 12/13/2017)
2017-12-1914Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion by KAY KHINE (Cleveland, David) (Entered: 12/19/2017)
2017-12-19MINUTE ORDER granting 14 Consent Motion for Extension of Time: It is hereby ORDERED that the plaintiffs shall file any motion for class certification within 60 days of this Court's ruling on 11 Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 12/19/2017. (lcrc3) (Entered: 12/19/2017)
2017-12-19MINUTE ORDER granting 13 Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall submit any reply in support of its motion to dismiss on or before January 3, 2018. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 12/19/2017. (lcrc3) (Entered: 12/19/2017)
2018-01-0315Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Reply by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 01/03/2018)
2018-01-03MINUTE ORDER granting 15 Consent Motion for Extension of Time: It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant's reply in support of its motion to dismiss shall be filed on or before January 10, 2018. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 01/03/2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 01/03/2018)
2018-01-0916REPLY to opposition to motion re 11 MOTION to Dismiss filed by UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Shoaibi, Alexander) (Entered: 01/09/2018)
2018-01-1817Consent MOTION for Leave to File Sur-Reply by KAY KHINE (Attachments: # 1 Supplement Plaintffs' Sur-reply, # 2 Exhibit)(Cleveland, David) (Entered: 01/18/2018)
2018-07-2018NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Joshua M. Kolsky on behalf of UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Substituting for attorney Alexander Shoaibi (Kolsky, Joshua) (Entered: 07/20/2018)
2018-09-2419ORDER granting 17 Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File a Sur-Reply and 11 Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on September 24, 2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 09/24/2018)
2018-09-2420MEMORANDUM OPINION granting 17 Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File a Sur-Reply and 11 Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on September 24, 2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 09/24/2018)
Hide Docket Events
by FOIA Project Staff
Skip to toolbar