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Case TitleAMERICAN OVERSIGHT v. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2017cv02599
Date Filed2017-12-05
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
PlaintiffAMERICAN OVERSIGHT
Case DescriptionAmerican Oversight submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning actual or planned expenses for renovating or redecorating offices and waiting rooms of officials subject to Senate confirmation. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. American Oversight sent a follow-up letter requesting a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, American Oversight filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Vaughn index, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantU.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2017-12-051COMPLAINT against U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-5234180) filed by AMERICAN OVERSIGHT. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons for USAO, # 3 Summons for AG, # 4 Summons for EPA)(Creighton, Sara) (Entered: 12/05/2017)
2017-12-052LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by AMERICAN OVERSIGHT (Creighton, Sara) (Entered: 12/05/2017)
2017-12-08Case Assigned to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. (zsb) (Entered: 12/08/2017)
2017-12-083SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachment: # 1 Notice and Consent)(zsb) (Entered: 12/08/2017)
2017-12-114ORDER ESTABLISHING PROCEDURES FOR CASES ASSIGNED TO JUDGE COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 12/11/17. (DM) (Entered: 12/11/2017)
2017-12-205RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 12/13/2017. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 1/12/2018.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 12/13/17., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY served on 12/12/2017 (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Creighton, Sara) (Entered: 12/20/2017)
2018-01-086NOTICE of Appearance by Marsha Wellknown Yee on behalf of U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (Yee, Marsha) (Entered: 01/08/2018)
2018-01-087MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Complaint by U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Yee, Marsha) (Entered: 01/08/2018)
2018-01-098RESPONSE re 7 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Complaint filed by AMERICAN OVERSIGHT. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Creighton, Sara) (Entered: 01/09/2018)
2018-01-09MINUTE ORDER. The Court is in receipt of Defendant's 7 Motion for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Complaint, and Plaintiff's 8 Response thereto. Defendant moves for an extension of time from January 12, 2018 to February 12, 2018 to file its response to Plaintiff's complaint. Defendant represents that the EPA needs additional time to prepare its response to the complaint, and that defense counsel is busy with other matters. This is the first request for an extension that Defendant has sought. Plaintiff has filed a response indicating that it only consents to Defendant receiving an extension if the Court sets a deadline for a Joint Status Report regarding the status of Plaintiff's FOIA request one week after Defendant's Answer is due. Defendant's motion is GRANTED. Defendant shall file its Answer by no later than FEBRUARY 12, 2018. In addition, the Court ORDERS that the parties shall MEET AND CONFER and file a Joint Status Report proposing a schedule for proceeding in this matter. The schedule should address the status of Plaintiff's FOIA request, the anticipated number of documents responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA request, the anticipated date(s) for release of the documents requested by Plaintiff, whether a motion for an Open America stay is likely in this case, whether a Vaughn index will be required in this case, etc. The parties shall file the schedule not later than FEBRUARY 19, 2018. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 1/9/2018. (lcckk3) (Entered: 01/09/2018)
2018-01-09Set/Reset Deadlines: Answer to complaint due by 2/12/2018. Joint Schedule due by 2/19/2018. (dot) (Entered: 01/10/2018)
2018-02-129ANSWER to 1 Complaint, by U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY.(Yee, Marsha) (Entered: 02/12/2018)
2018-02-1610Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Yee, Marsha) (Entered: 02/16/2018)
2018-02-16MINUTE ORDER. The Court is in receipt of the parties' 10 Joint Status Report. The parties indicate that Defendant has collected some responsive records and is still in the process of searching for others. Defendant intends to produce non-exempt responsive records by March 2, 2018. The parties request leave to file another Joint Status Report on or before March 16, 2018. The parties are ORDERED to file a further Joint Status Report by no later than MARCH 16, 2018 updating the Court on the status of Plaintiff's FOIA request and whether further litigation in this case will be necessary. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 2/16/2018. (lcckk3) (Entered: 02/16/2018)
2018-02-20Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 3/16/2018. (tb) (Entered: 02/20/2018)
2018-03-0511AMENDED COMPLAINT against U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY filed by AMERICAN OVERSIGHT.(Creighton, Sara) (Entered: 03/05/2018)
2018-03-1612Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Yee, Marsha) (Entered: 03/16/2018)
2018-03-16MINUTE ORDER. The Court is in receipt of the parties' 12 Joint Status Report. The parties indicate that Defendant has collected and produced some responsive records and is still in the process of searching for others. The parties request leave to file another Joint Status Report on or before April 25, 2018. The parties are ORDERED to file a further Joint Status Report by no later than APRIL 25, 2018 updating the Court on the status of Plaintiff's FOIA requests and whether further litigation in this case will be necessary. In addition, Defendant indicates that it will answer Plaintiff's Amended Complaint by March 19, 2018, and may move for Open America stay. If Defendant intends to file such a motion, it should do so as soon as possible. In addition, the necessity of an Open America stay is one of the issues that should be addressed in the parties' next Status Report. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 3/16/2018. (lcckk3) (Entered: 03/16/2018)
2018-03-16Set/Reset Deadlines: Answer to Amended Complaint due by 3/19/2018. Joint Status Report due by 4/25/2018. (dot) (Entered: 03/19/2018)
2018-03-1913ANSWER to 11 Amended Complaint by U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY.(Yee, Marsha) (Entered: 03/19/2018)
2018-04-2514Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Yee, Marsha) (Entered: 04/25/2018)
2018-04-26MINUTE ORDER. The Court is in receipt of the parties' 14 Joint Status Report. The parties indicate that Defendant has collected and produced some responsive records and is still in the process of searching for others. The parties request leave to file another Joint Status Report on or before May 16, 2018. The parties are ORDERED to file a further Joint Status Report by no later than MAY 16, 2018 updating the Court on the status of Plaintiff's FOIA requests. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 4/26/2018. (lcckk3) (Entered: 04/26/2018)
2018-04-26Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 5/16/2018. (dot) (Entered: 04/30/2018)
2018-05-1615Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Yee, Marsha) (Entered: 05/16/2018)
2018-05-24MINUTE ORDER. The Court is in receipt of the parties' 15 Joint Status Report. The parties represent that they have been meeting and conferring, and are continuing to meet and confer, about the scope of Plaintiff's FOIA requests and Defendant's searches in response to those requests. Plaintiffs ask that the Court order Defendant to begin productions by a date certain and process a certain amount of documents per month. It is Defendant's position that it is premature to set a schedule at this time because its searches have not yet been completed. Defendant also claims that it is unable to process documents as quickly as Plaintiff requests due in part to the numerous other FOIA requests and lawsuits that Plaintiff has filed. The Court will not order Defendant to adhere to any particular deadlines at this point. Defendant shall work diligently to process Plaintiff's FOIA requests, and the parties shall continue to meet and confer about mutually-agreeable timelines. The parties are ORDERED to file a further Joint Status Report by no later than JUNE 26, 2018 updating the Court on the status of Plaintiff's FOIA requests. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 5/24/2018. (lcckk3) (Entered: 05/24/2018)
2018-05-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 6/26/2018. (kt) (Entered: 05/24/2018)
2018-06-2616Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Yee, Marsha) (Entered: 06/26/2018)
2018-06-28MINUTE ORDER. The Court is in receipt of the parties' 16 Joint Status Report. The parties represent that Defendant has concluded searches and located many thousands of records (approximately 12,650) that must now be reviewed. Defendant represents that it can initially process 250 records per month with an initial production on July 15, 2018, until October 15, 2018, at which point it can begin to process 500 records per month. Defendant represents that this schedule is in part necessitated by its ongoing efforts to process Plaintiff's many other FOIA requests. Defendant's Office of the Executive Secretariat, which is responsible for processing Plaintiff's requests in this case, is also processing at least 37 other FOIA requests submitted by Plaintiff in addition to the FOIA requests in this litigation. Plaintiff asks the Court to order Defendant to begin monthly rolling productions on July 15, 2018 and to process 500 records per month immediately. At this point, the Court finds Defendant's proposed schedule reasonable. Defendant is ORDERED to make rolling productions beginning on JULY 15, 2018. Defendant shall process 250 records per month until OCTOBER 15, 2018, at which point it shall begin to process 500 records per month. The parties shall file another Joint Status Report by no later than AUGUST 28, 2018. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 6/28/2018. (lcckk3) (Entered: 06/28/2018)
2018-06-28Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 8/28/2018. (kt) (Entered: 06/28/2018)
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