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Case TitleBUZZFEED INC. v. U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT et al
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2018cv01501
Date Filed2018-06-25
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Ketanji Brown Jackson
PlaintiffBUZZFEED INC.
Case DescriptionBuzzfeed submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning notices sent to ICE field office directors of instances in which a detainee has been held continuously in segregation and all subsequent reviews by the field office director. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. Buzzfeed was told in February 2018 that the estimated completion date for its request was December 20, 2017. Buzzfeed filed an administrative appeal. The agency remanded the request for further processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Buzzfeed filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantU.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT
DefendantU.S. 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
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2018-06-251COMPLAINT against U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-5553645) filed by BUZZFEED INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit Exhibit D, # 5 Civil Cover Sheet Civil Cover Sheet, # 6 Summons Summons)(Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 06/25/2018)
2018-06-252NOTICE of Appearance by Matthew Topic on behalf of BUZZFEED INC. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 06/25/2018)
2018-06-25Case Assigned to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. (zsth) (Entered: 06/26/2018)
2018-06-263SUMMONS (4) Issued Electronically as to U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Notice and Consent)(zsth) (Entered: 06/26/2018)
2018-07-114NOTICE of Appearance by Matthew Lynn Schafer on behalf of BUZZFEED INC. (Schafer, Matthew) (Entered: 07/11/2018)
2018-07-185RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY served on 7/3/2018 (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 07/18/2018)
2018-07-186RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT served on 7/13/2018 (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 07/18/2018)
2018-07-187RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 7/9/2018. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 07/18/2018)
2018-07-188RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 7/5/2018. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 8/4/2018. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 07/18/2018)
2018-08-029ANSWER to Complaint by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT.(Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 08/02/2018)
2018-09-0410GENERAL ORDER AND GUIDELINES APPLICABLE TO FOIA CASES ASSIGNED TO JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON. The Court will hold the parties and counsel responsible for following these directives, and parties and counsel should pay particular attention to the Courts instructions for processing and production of records, batching motions, and filing exhibits. Failure to adhere to this Order may, when appropriate, result the imposition of sanctions and/or sua sponte denial of non-conforming motions. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 9/4/2018. (lckbj1) (Main Document 10 replaced on 9/5/2018) (zhs). (Entered: 09/04/2018)
2018-09-04MINUTE ORDER. Before the Court in this FOIA case are a complaint and an answer. It is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall review this Courts 10 General Order and Guidelines Applicable to FOIA Cases, and promptly confer and file a joint proposed schedule for disclosure or briefing motions for summary judgment, on or before 9/18/2018. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 09/04/2018. (lckbj1) (Entered: 09/04/2018)
2018-09-06Set/Reset Deadlines: Proposed Briefing Schedule due by 9/18/2018 (tj) (Entered: 09/06/2018)
2018-09-1811Joint STATUS REPORT Concerning Proposed Schedule by BUZZFEED INC.. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 09/18/2018)
2018-09-19MINUTE ORDER setting a Telephone Conference for 10/4/2018 at 11:00 AM in Chambers before Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Counsel will be provided dial-in information by e-mail. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 09/19/2018. (lckbj1) (Entered: 09/19/2018)
2018-10-04Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson: Telephone Conference held in chambers on 10/4/2018. (Court Reporter Sara Wick) (gdf) (Entered: 10/04/2018)
2018-10-0412ORDER. On or before October 16, 2018, Defendant ICE shall file a supplemental memorandum that addresses the agency's FOIA-processing capacity and the reason for the delay in this case. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 10/4/18. (lckbj3) (Entered: 10/04/2018)
2018-10-04Set/Reset Deadlines: Supplemental Memorandum due by 10/16/2018. (gdf) (Entered: 10/04/2018)
2018-10-1613RESPONSE TO ORDER OF THE COURT re 12 Order, Declaration of ICE FOIA Officer Catrina Pavlik-Keenan filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 10/16/2018)
2018-10-1914MOTION for Leave to File Response to Defendant's Declaration Regarding Production Schedule by BUZZFEED INC. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Response to Declaration)(Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 10/19/2018)
2018-10-19MINUTE ORDER granting 14 Motion for Leave to File Response to Defendant's Declaration Regarding Production Schedule. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 10/19/2018. (lckbj1) (Entered: 10/19/2018)
2018-10-1915RESPONSE to Defendant's Declaration Regarding Production Schedule filed by BUZZFEED INC.. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 10/19/2018)
2018-10-22MINUTE ORDER. The Court has reviewed ICEs declaration 13 , and while it has no reason to question the comprehensive description of ICEs current processing capacity with respect to an ordinary request (see Paragraph 18 (explaining that, given the number of employees who are working on FOIA requests and the number of pending requests, the agency cannot produce more than 500 pages per month in each case)), the declaration does not address the fact that the instant request qualifies for special treatment given its declared expedited processing status, and the agencys considerable and unexplained delay in producing ANY records in this matter, particularly in light of its purported first-in, first-out approach to managing backlogged requests. (See Paragraph 17.) The fact that the agency may have granted this request for expedited processing in error is irrelevant; the request at issue has been delegated as such. Moreover, because this case involves a request that was submitted at the end of FY 2017, and the parties have now entered FY 2019 without any records having been produced, the agency will need to shift resources to address the pending request at a faster rate than it is handling other matters. Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that ICE process the approximately 8,100 pages of responsive records at a rate of 1,000 pages per month, to be completed on or before August 1, 2019. It is further ORDERED that the first monthly production must occur on or before December 1, 2018, and that the parties shall file a status report 60 days after the first production and every 60 days thereafter. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 10/22/2018. (lckbj3) (Entered: 10/22/2018)
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