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Case TitleCENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING v. U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT et al
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2018cv01964
Date Filed2018-08-22
Date Closed2020-03-20
JudgeJudge Carl J. Nichols
PlaintiffCENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING
Case DescriptionThe Center for Investigative Reporting sent a FOIA request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning its CARIER program. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told CIR that it found no responsive records. CIR filed an administrative appeal of that finding. After hearing nothing further from the agency, CIR filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, 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
Opinion/Order [27]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Carl Nichols has ruled that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement may categorically withhold the names of detainees in its Criminal Arrest Records and Immigration Enforcement Records (CARIER) records system under Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records). The Center for Investigative Reporting submitted two FOIA requests for information about detainees contained in the CARIER system. After CIR filed suit, ICE disclosed several Excel spreadsheets with redactions made under the privacy exemptions for information identifying the detainees and those who furnished their bonds. ICE subsequently agreed to disclose identifying information about businesses and non-profit organizations that furnished bonds in exchange for CIR's agreement not to pursue release of identities of individuals who furnished bonds or more detailed information " such as tax identification numbers or phone numbers " for businesses or non-profits that furnished bonds. Nichols noted that since the records were compiled for law enforcement purposes, the more protective standard of Exemption 7(C) applied. Although CIR argued that the names of many of the detainees could be located through an online search, Nichols agreed with the agency that the additional information here created a substantial privacy interest. He pointed out that "while a search of ICE's online locator system yields a name associated with a detention center and country of origin, it does not include the additional information that CIR has already obtained and that would be associated with detainees' names if they were produced: immigration history, education history, domestic and foreign criminal history, location of arrest, case category, charges brought in the case, case disposition, and other details." Against that substantial privacy interest, Nichols noted that "that's where CIR's case falters: neither in its Complaint nor its briefing does it ever assert any public interest in the disclosure of the detainees' names. CIR repeatedly argues that 'ICE did not prove any privacy interest exists at all, let alone a privacy interest rising to the requisite threshold,' and thus rests its argument entirely on the contention that the 'Court need go no further and should order the records produced.' CIR's failure to assert any public interest in disclosure requires summary judgment for ICE."
Issues: Adequacy - Search, Exemption 7(C) - Invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2018-08-221COMPLAINT against U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-5652228) filed by CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibits A-F, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet, # 3 Summons)(Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 08/22/2018)
2018-08-222NOTICE of Appearance by Matthew Topic on behalf of THE CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 08/22/2018)
2018-08-22Case Assigned to Judge Amit P. Mehta. (zmd) (Entered: 08/24/2018)
2018-08-273SUMMONS (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) (zmd) (Entered: 08/27/2018)
2018-09-184NOTICE of Appearance by Scott Leeson Sroka on behalf of All Defendants (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 09/18/2018)
2018-09-195RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY served on 9/4/2018 (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 09/19/2018)
2018-09-196RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT served on 9/14/2018 (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 09/19/2018)
2018-09-197RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 09/05/2018. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 09/19/2018)
2018-09-198RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 9/5/2018. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 10/5/2018. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 09/19/2018)
2018-10-059ANSWER to Complaint by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 10/05/2018)
2018-10-0510ORDER: Both a Complaint and an Answer are now before the court in this FOIA case. It is hereby ordered that the parties shall meet and confer and file a Joint Status Report on or before October 19, 2018. See attached Order for additional details. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 10/05/2018. (lcapm3) Modified on 10/5/2018 (lcapm3, ). (Entered: 10/05/2018)
2018-10-05Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 10/19/2018. (zjd) (Entered: 10/09/2018)
2018-10-1811Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 10/18/2018)
2018-10-19MINUTE ORDER. The parties shall report by November 19, 2018, whether summary judgment will be required and, if so, propose a briefing schedule. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 10/19/2018. (lcapm3) (Entered: 10/19/2018)
2018-10-19Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 11/19/2018. (zjd) (Entered: 10/19/2018)
2018-11-1912Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 11/19/2018)
2018-11-19MINUTE ORDER: In light of 12 the parties' Joint Status Report, the parties shall submit a subsequent Joint Status Report on or before December 19, 2018, notifying the court whether summary judgment briefing will be required and, if so, proposing a briefing schedule. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 11/19/2018. (lcapm3) (Entered: 11/19/2018)
2018-11-19Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 12/19/2018. (zjd) (Entered: 11/21/2018)
2018-12-1913PROPOSED BRIEFING SCHEDULE by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 12/19/2018)
2018-12-1914ORDER: Having considered 13 the Joint Request for Briefing Schedule, the court sets the following schedule for further proceedings in this matter: Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before January 31, 2019; Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before February 28, 2019; Defendants' Reply and Opposition to Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before March 11, 2019; Plaintiff's Reply shall be filed on or before March 25, 2019. See attached Order for additional details. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 12/19/2018. (lcapm3) (Entered: 12/19/2018)
2018-12-19Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment due by 1/31/2019. Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition due by 2/28/2019. Defendant's Reply and Opposition due by 3/11/2019. Plaintiff's Reply due by 3/25/2019. (zjd) (Entered: 12/21/2018)
2019-01-3115Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 01/31/2019)
2019-01-31MINUTE ORDER granting 15 Consent Motion for Extension of Time and Modification of Briefing Schedule. The court sets the following schedule for further proceedings in this matter: Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before March 4, 2019; Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before April 3, 2019; Defendants' Reply shall be filed on or before April 17, 2019; and Plaintiff's reply shall be filed on or before April 24, 2019. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 01/31/2019. (lcapm3) (Entered: 01/31/2019)
2019-01-31Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment due by 3/4/2019. Plaintiff's Opposition and Cross-Motion due by 4/3/2019. Defendants' Reply and Opposition due by 4/17/2019. Plaintiff's Reply due by 4/24/2019. (zjd) (Entered: 02/05/2019)
2019-03-0416Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Sroka, Scott). Added MOTION to Modify on 3/5/2019 (znmw). (Entered: 03/04/2019)
2019-03-06MINUTE ORDER granting 16 Consent Motion for Extension of Time. The court sets the following schedule for further proceedings in this matter: Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before March 12, 2019; Plaintiff's Cross-Motion and Opposition to Defendants' Motion shall be filed on or before April 11, 2019; Defendants' Reply and Opposition to Plaintiff's Cross-Motion shall be filed on or before April 24, 2019; and Plaintiff's Reply shall be filed on or before May 1, 2019. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 03/06/2019. (lcapm3) (Entered: 03/06/2019)
2019-03-06Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment due by 3/12/2019. Plaintiff's Cross-Motion and Opposition due by 4/11/2019. Defendants' Opposition and Reply due by 4/24/2019. Plaintiff's Reply due by 5/1/2019. (zjd) (Entered: 03/10/2019)
2019-03-1217Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Sroka, Scott). Added MOTION to Modify on 3/13/2019 (znmw). (Entered: 03/12/2019)
2019-03-12MINUTE ORDER granting 17 Consent Motion for Extension of Time. The court sets the following schedule for further proceedings in this matter: Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before March 15, 2019; Plaintiff's Cross-Motion and Opposition to Defendants' Motion shall be filed on or before April 15, 2019; Defendants' Reply and Opposition to Plaintiff's Cross-Motion shall be filed on or before April 29, 2019; and Plaintiff's Reply shall be filed on or before May 6, 2019. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 03/12/2019. (lcapm3) (Entered: 03/12/2019)
2019-03-12Set/Reset Deadlines: Plaintiff's Cross Motion and Opposition due by 4/15/2019. Defendants' Reply and Opposition due by 4/29/2019. Plaintiff's Reply due by 5/6/2019. (zjd) (Entered: 03/21/2019)
2019-03-1518MOTION for Summary Judgment and Supporting Memorandum by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Declaration of Toni Fuentes, # 3 Exhibit A, # 4 Exhibit B, # 5 Exhibit C, # 6 Exhibit D, # 7 Exhibit E, # 8 Exhibit F, # 9 Exhibit G - Vaughn Index)(Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 03/15/2019)
2019-04-1519MOTION for Summary Judgment by CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order)(Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 04/15/2019)
2019-04-1720Memorandum in opposition to re 18 MOTION for Summary Judgment and Supporting Memorandum Plaintiff's Combined Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and in Support of Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment filed by CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order)(Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 04/17/2019)
2019-04-2921Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 19 MOTION for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 04/29/2019)
2019-04-29MINUTE ORDER granting 21 Defendants' Consent Motion for Extension of Time. The court sets the following schedule for further proceedings in this matter: Defendants' Opposition shall be filed on or before May 29, 2019 and Plaintiff's Reply shall be filed on or before June 5, 2019. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 04/29/2019. (lcapm3) (Entered: 04/29/2019)
2019-04-29Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendants' Opposition due by 5/29/2019. Plaintiff's Reply due by 6/5/2019. (zjd) (Entered: 04/29/2019)
2019-05-2922Memorandum in opposition to re 19 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B)(Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 05/29/2019)
2019-05-2923REPLY to opposition to motion re 18 MOTION for Summary Judgment and Supporting Memorandum filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B)(Sroka, Scott) (Entered: 05/29/2019)
2019-06-0524REPLY to opposition to motion re 19 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Detainee Locator - Gonzalez, # 2 Exhibit B - Detainee Locator - Hernandez)(Burday, Joshua) (Entered: 06/05/2019)
2019-06-24Case directly reassigned to Judge Carl J. Nichols. Judge Amit P. Mehta is no longer assigned to the case. (rj) (Entered: 06/24/2019)
2019-08-0625NOTICE of Appearance by Merrick Jason Wayne on behalf of CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (Wayne, Merrick) (Entered: 08/06/2019)
2019-12-0326ORDER GRANTING Defendants' 18 Motion for Summary Judgment and DENYING Plaintiff's 19 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Carl J. Nichols on December 3, 2019. (lccjn2) (Entered: 12/03/2019)
2019-12-0327MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. Signed by Judge Carl J. Nichols on December 3, 2019. (lccjn2) (Entered: 12/03/2019)
2019-12-1128Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File by CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 12/11/2019)
2019-12-12MINUTE ORDER. Upon review of Plaintiff's 28 Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to File, it is hereby ORDERED that the Motion is GRANTED. Plaintiff shall submit its petition for attorney fees by January 16, 2020. Signed by Judge Carl J. Nichols on December 12, 2019. (lccjn2) (Entered: 12/12/2019)
2019-12-12Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Plaintiff's petition for attorney fees due by 1/16/2020. (zcdw) (Entered: 12/13/2019)
2020-01-1329Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Petition for Attorneys' Fees by CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 01/13/2020)
2020-01-14MINUTE ORDER. Upon review of Plaintiff's 29 Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to File, it is hereby ORDERED that the Motion is GRANTED. Plaintiff shall file its Petition for Attorney Fees by February 13, 2020. Signed by Judge Carl J. Nichols on January 14, 2020. (lccjn2) (Entered: 01/14/2020)
2020-01-14Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Plaintiff's Petition for Attorney Fees due by 2/13/2020. (zcdw) (Entered: 01/15/2020)
2020-02-1030MOTION for Extension of Time to File Petition for Attorneys' Fees by CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 02/10/2020)
2020-02-11MINUTE ORDER. Upon review of Plaintiff's 30 Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to File Fee Petition, it is hereby ORDERED that the Motion is GRANTED. Plaintiff shall file its fee petition by March 16, 2020. Signed by Judge Carl J. Nichols on February 11, 2020. (lccjn2) (Entered: 02/11/2020)
2020-02-11Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Plaintiff's fee petition due by 3/16/2020. (zcdw) (Entered: 02/17/2020)
2020-02-1231NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Peter C. Pfaffenroth on behalf of U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT Substituting for attorney Scott Sroka (Pfaffenroth, Peter) (Entered: 02/12/2020)
2020-03-1132STIPULATION of Dismissal with Prejudice by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Pfaffenroth, Peter) (Entered: 03/11/2020)
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