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Case TitleECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION v. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2019cv00980
Date Filed2019-04-08
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeChief Judge Beryl A. Howell
PlaintiffECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION
Case DescriptionThe Ecological Rights Foundation submitted a FOIA request to the EPA for records concerning policies and practices of the agency since the resignation of former Administrator Scott Pruitt. The Ecological Rights Foundation also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and denied the Foundation's request for expedited processing. The Foundation made several attempts to check on the status of its request without success. The Ecological Rights Foundation then filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Vaughn index, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantUNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Complaint attachment 5
Opinion/Order [30]
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2019-04-081COMPLAINT against ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-6047629) filed by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit FOIA Request, # 2 Exhibit Civil Cover Sheet, # 3 Summons Attorney General Summons, # 4 Summons Civil Process Clerk Summons, # 5 Summons Environmental Protection Agency Summons)(Wilcox, Stuart) (Entered: 04/08/2019)
2019-04-082LCvR 26.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION. (zef, ) (Entered: 04/09/2019)
2019-04-093ENTERED IN ERROR.....CIVIL COVER SHEET by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION re 1 Complaint, filed by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION. Related document: 1 Complaint, filed by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION.(Wilcox, Stuart) Modified on 4/12/2019; entered in error and refiled as 4 . (znmw). (Entered: 04/09/2019)
2019-04-104CIVIL COVER SHEET by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION re 1 Complaint, filed by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION. Related document: 1 Complaint, filed by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION.(Wilcox, Stuart) (Entered: 04/10/2019)
2019-04-11Case Assigned to Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell. (zef, ) (Entered: 04/11/2019)
2019-04-115SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General. (Attachments: # 1 Notice and Consent)(zef, ) (Entered: 04/11/2019)
2019-04-116STANDING ORDER. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on April 11, 2019.(lcbah3) (Entered: 04/11/2019)
2019-04-157AMENDED COMPLAINT against UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY filed by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION.(Wilcox, Stuart) (Entered: 04/15/2019)
2019-04-228RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 4/22/2019. , RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY served on 4/22/2019, RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 4/22/2019. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 5/22/2019. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(Wilcox, Stuart) Modified on 4/22/2019 to add service dates (zrdj). (Entered: 04/22/2019)
2019-05-229NOTICE of Appearance by Derek S. Hammond on behalf of UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (Hammond, Derek) (Entered: 05/22/2019)
2019-05-2210ANSWER to 7 Amended Complaint by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY.(Hammond, Derek) (Entered: 05/22/2019)
2019-06-0511MEET AND CONFER STATEMENT. (Hammond, Derek) (Entered: 06/05/2019)
2019-06-07MINUTE ORDER (paperless) DIRECTING, upon consideration of the parties' 11 Joint Meet and Confer Report, that, by July 15, 2019, (1) EPA shall "produce to Plaintiff an interim production of non-exempt, responsive records"; and (2) the parties shall submit a joint status report "explaining the status of EPA's searches and production to date" and proposing a schedule to govern further proceedings, including dates for "a final determination, production schedule, and dispositive motions, if any," see 11 Joint Meet and Confer Report ¶ 4. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on June 7, 2019. (lcbah3) (Entered: 06/07/2019)
2019-06-07Set/Reset Deadlines: EPA's production to plaintiff an interim production of non-exempt, responsive records due by 7/15/2019; Joint Status Report due by 7/15/2019. (tg) (Entered: 06/07/2019)
2019-07-1512Joint STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Hammond, Derek) (Entered: 07/15/2019)
2019-07-17MINUTE ORDER (paperless) DIRECTING, upon consideration of the parties' 12 Joint Status Report, the parties to file, by August 14, 2019, a joint status report advising the Court whether any disputes remain between the parties and, if so, a proposed schedule to govern further proceedings. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on July 17, 2019. (lcbah3) (Entered: 07/17/2019)
2019-07-17Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 8/14/2019. (tg) (Entered: 07/17/2019)
2019-08-1413Joint STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Hammond, Derek) (Entered: 08/14/2019)
2019-08-15MINUTE ORDER (paperless) DIRECTING, upon consideration of the parties' 13 Joint Status Report, the parties to file, by April 27, 2020, a joint status report advising the Court whether any disputes remain between the parties, and if so, a proposed schedule to govern further proceedings. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on August 15, 2019. (lcbah3) (Entered: 08/15/2019)
2019-08-15Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 4/27/2020. (tg) (Entered: 08/15/2019)
2020-04-2714Joint STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Hammond, Derek) (Entered: 04/27/2020)
2020-04-30MINUTE ORDER (paperless) DIRECTING, upon consideration of the parties' 14 Joint Status Report, the parties to submit, by June 11, 2020, a joint status report regarding whether any resolution has been reached concerning the defendant's final records production, and, if not, ISSUING the following Scheduling Order to govern the timing of further proceedings in this matter: (1) by July 1, 2020, the defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment and Vaughn index; (2) by July 22, 2020, the plaintiff shall file its combined opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment; (3) by August 12, 2020, the defendant shall file its combined opposition and reply; and (4) by August 26, 2020, the plaintiff shall file its reply. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on April 30, 2020. (lcbah3) (Entered: 04/30/2020)
2020-04-30Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint status report due by 6/11/2020; defendant's summary judgment motion and Vaughn Index due by 7/1/2020; plaintiff's cross-motion and opposition to motion for summary judgment due by 7/22/2020; defendant's opposition to cross-motion and reply to opposition to motion for summary judgment due by 8/12/2020; plaintiff's reply to opposition to cross-motion due by 8/26/2020. (tg) (Entered: 04/30/2020)
2020-06-1115Joint STATUS REPORT by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Hammond, Derek) (Entered: 06/11/2020)
2020-06-2216Unopposed MOTION to Modify Briefing Schedule by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Hammond, Derek) (Entered: 06/22/2020)
2020-06-23MINUTE ORDER (paperless) GRANTING the defendant's 16 Unopposed Motion to Modify Briefing Schedule, and MODIFYING the Scheduling Order in this case, see Min. Order (Apr. 30, 2020) as follows: (1) by July 10, 2020, the defendant shall produce Administrator Wheeler's responsive, non-exempt calendar attachments; (2) by August 3, 2020, the defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment and Vaughn index; (3) by August 24, 2020, the plaintiff shall file its combined opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment; (4) by September 14, 2020, the defendant shall file its combined opposition and reply; and (5) by October 5, 2020, the plaintiff shall file its reply. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on June 23, 2020. (lcbah3) (Entered: 06/23/2020)
2020-06-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's production of Administrator Wheeler's responsive, non-exempt calendar attachments due by 7/10/2020; defendant's Vaughn Index and motion for summary judgment due by 8/3/2020; plaintiff's cross-motion and opposition to defendant's motion for summary judgment due by 8/24/2020; defendant's opposition to cross-motion and reply to opposition to motion for summary judgment due by 9/14/2020; reply to opposition to cross-motion due by 10/5/2020. (ztg) (Entered: 06/24/2020)
2020-07-2217NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Kathleene A. Molen on behalf of UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY Substituting for attorney Derek S. Hammond (Molen, Kathleene) (Entered: 07/22/2020)
2020-07-2718Unopposed MOTION to Modify Briefing Schedule by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Molen, Kathleene) (Entered: 07/27/2020)
2020-07-28MINUTE ORDER (paperless) GRANTING the defendant's 18 Unopposed Motion to Modify Briefing Schedule, and MODIFYING the Scheduling Order in this case, see Min. Order (Apr. 30, 2020), as follows: (1) by August 17, 2020, the defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment and Vaughn index; (2) by September 7, 2020, the plaintiff shall file its combined opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment; (3) by September 28, 2020, the defendant shall file its combined opposition and reply; and (4) by October 19, 2020, the plaintiff shall file its reply. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on July 28, 2020. (lcbah3) (Entered: 07/28/2020)
2020-07-29Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's motion for summary judgment and Vaughn Index due by 8/17/2020. Plaintiff's combined opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment due by 9/7/2020. Defendant's combined opposition and reply due by 9/28/2020. Plaintiff's reply due by 10/19/2020. (hmc) (Entered: 07/29/2020)
2020-08-1719MOTION for Summary Judgment by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Declaration Elizabeth White, # 4 Vaughn Index, # 5 Text of Proposed Order, # 6 Exhibit A, # 7 Exhibit B, # 8 Exhibit D, # 9 Exhibit E, # 10 Exhibit F, # 11 Exhibit G, # 12 Exhibit H, # 13 Exhibit I, # 14 Exhibit J, # 15 Exhibit K, # 16 Exhibit L, # 17 Exhibit M, # 18 Exhibit N, # 19 Exhibit O, # 20 Exhibit P, # 21 Exhibit Q, # 22 Exhibit R, # 23 Exhibit S, # 24 Exhibit T)(Molen, Kathleene) (Entered: 08/17/2020)
2020-09-0720Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Text of Proposed Order, # 3 Statement of Facts, # 4 Declaration of Stuart Wilcox, # 5 Exhibit 1, # 6 Exhibit 2, # 7 Exhibit 3, # 8 Exhibit 4, # 9 Exhibit 5, # 10 Exhibit 6, # 11 Exhibit 7, # 12 Exhibit 8, # 13 Exhibit 9, # 14 Exhibit 10, # 15 Exhibit 11, # 16 Exhibit 12, # 17 Exhibit 13, # 18 Exhibit 14, # 19 Exhibit 15, # 20 Exhibit 16, # 21 Exhibit 17, # 22 Exhibit 18, # 23 Exhibit 19, # 24 Exhibit 20, # 25 Exhibit 21, # 26 Exhibit 22, # 27 Exhibit 23, # 28 Exhibit 24, # 29 Exhibit 25, # 30 Exhibit 26, # 31 Exhibit 27, # 32 Exhibit 28, # 33 Exhibit 29, # 34 Exhibit 30, # 35 Exhibit 31, # 36 Exhibit 32, # 37 Exhibit 33, # 38 Exhibit 34, # 39 Exhibit 35, # 40 Exhibit 36, # 41 Exhibit 37, # 42 Exhibit 38, # 43 Exhibit 39, # 44 Exhibit 40, # 45 Exhibit 41, # 46 Exhibit 42, # 47 Exhibit 43, # 48 Exhibit 44, # 49 Exhibit 45, # 50 Exhibit 46, # 51 Exhibit 47, # 52 Exhibit 48, # 53 Exhibit 49, # 54 Exhibit 50, # 55 Exhibit 51)(Wilcox, Stuart) (Entered: 09/07/2020)
2020-09-0721Memorandum in opposition to re 19 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts Statement of Genuine Issues, # 2 Declaration of Stuart Wilcox, # 3 Exhibit 1, # 4 Exhibit 2, # 5 Exhibit 3, # 6 Exhibit 4, # 7 Exhibit 5, # 8 Exhibit 6, # 9 Exhibit 7, # 10 Exhibit 8, # 11 Exhibit 9, # 12 Exhibit 10, # 13 Exhibit 11, # 14 Exhibit 12, # 15 Exhibit 13, # 16 Exhibit 14, # 17 Exhibit 15, # 18 Exhibit 16, # 19 Exhibit 17, # 20 Exhibit 18, # 21 Exhibit 19, # 22 Exhibit 20, # 23 Exhibit 21, # 24 Exhibit 22, # 25 Exhibit 23, # 26 Exhibit 24, # 27 Exhibit 25, # 28 Exhibit 26, # 29 Exhibit 27, # 30 Exhibit 28, # 31 Exhibit 29, # 32 Exhibit 30, # 33 Exhibit 31, # 34 Exhibit 32, # 35 Exhibit 33, # 36 Exhibit 34, # 37 Exhibit 35, # 38 Exhibit 36, # 39 Exhibit 37, # 40 Exhibit 38, # 41 Exhibit 39, # 42 Exhibit 40, # 43 Exhibit 41, # 44 Exhibit 42, # 45 Exhibit 43, # 46 Exhibit 44, # 47 Exhibit 45, # 48 Exhibit 46, # 49 Exhibit 47, # 50 Exhibit 48, # 51 Exhibit 49, # 52 Exhibit 50, # 53 Exhibit 51)(Wilcox, Stuart) (Entered: 09/07/2020)
2020-09-2322Unopposed MOTION to Modify Briefing Schedule by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Molen, Kathleene) (Entered: 09/23/2020)
2020-09-23MINUTE ORDER (paperless) GRANTING defendant's 22 Unopposed Motion to Modify Briefing Schedule and MODIFYING the Scheduling Order in this case, see Min. Order (July 28, 2020), as follows: (1) by October 5, 2020, the defendant shall file its combined opposition and reply; and (2) by October 26, 2020, the plaintiff shall file its reply. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on September 23, 2020. (lcbah3) (Entered: 09/23/2020)
2020-09-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's combined opposition and reply due by 10/5/2020; plaintiff's reply due by 10/26/2020. (ztg) (Entered: 09/24/2020)
2020-10-0523REPLY to opposition to motion re 19 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Declaration Claude Walker, # 3 Declaration Supplemental Elizabeth White, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Molen, Kathleene) (Entered: 10/05/2020)
2020-10-0524Memorandum in opposition to re 20 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Declaration Claude Walker, # 3 Declaration Supplemental Elizabeth White, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Molen, Kathleene) (Entered: 10/05/2020)
2020-10-2625REPLY to opposition to motion re 20 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Supplemental Declaration of Stuart Wilcox, # 2 Exhibit 52, # 3 Exhibit 53, # 4 Exhibit 54, # 5 Exhibit 55, # 6 Exhibit 56, # 7 Exhibit 57, # 8 Exhibit 58, # 9 Exhibit 59, # 10 Exhibit 60, # 11 Exhibit 61, # 12 Exhibit 62)(Wilcox, Stuart) (Attachment 3 replaced on 1/11/2021) (zeg). (Entered: 10/26/2020)
2020-12-1426NOTICE OF SUPPLEMENTAL AUTHORITY by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit - supplemental authority)(Wilcox, Stuart) (Entered: 12/14/2020)
2020-12-2127RESPONSE re 26 NOTICE OF SUPPLEMENTAL AUTHORITY filed by UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY. (Molen, Kathleene) (Entered: 12/21/2020)
2021-01-19MINUTE ORDER (paperless) DIRECTING plaintiff to submit, by January 22, 2021, clarification of the claims in its 7 Amended Complaint for which it seeks summary judgment since the Amended Complaint pleads only four claims for relief, see id. ¶¶ 55-70, but also states that "EcoRights hereby amends its 1 Complaint to add a sixth claim for relief," ¶ 7; and FURTHER DIRECTING, upon consideration of the parties' 19 20 cross-motions for summary judgment, the parties to submit (1) by January 22, 2021, supplemental briefing identifying where in their original briefing Counts I and IV of the Amended Complaint are discussed and whether, in light of the parties' failure to present any argument on these claims, those claims should be dismissed, and (2) by January 25, 2021, any responses to opposing parties' supplemental briefing. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on January 19, 2021. (lcbah3) (Entered: 01/19/2021)
2021-01-19Set/Reset Deadlines: Plaintiff's response to Order of the Court due by 1/22/2021; parties' supplemental briefing due by 1/22/2021; response to opposing parties' supplemental briefing due by 1/25/2021. (ztg) (Entered: 01/19/2021)
2021-01-2228STIPULATION re 7 Amended Complaint TO VOLUNTARILY DISMISS WITHOUT PREJUDICE COUNTS I AND IV OF PLAINTIFF'S AMENDED COMPLAINT AND JOINT MOTION TO VACATE SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEFING DEADLINES by ECOLOGICAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION. (Wilcox, Stuart) (Entered: 01/22/2021)
2021-01-22MINUTE ORDER (paperless) DISMISSING without prejudice Counts I and IV of plaintiff's 7 Amended Complaint, in light of the parties' 28 Stipulation to Voluntarily Dismiss Without Prejudice Counts I and IV of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, GRANTING the parties' 28 Joint Motion to Vacate Supplemental Briefing Deadlines, and VACATING all deadlines for the filing of supplemental briefs, see Min. Order (Jan. 19, 2021). Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on January 22, 2021. (lcbah3) (Entered: 01/22/2021)
2021-02-1329ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART the defendant's 19 Motion for Summary Judgment and GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART the plaintiff's 20 Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. See Order for further details. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on February 13, 2021. (lcbah3) (Entered: 02/13/2021)
2021-02-1330MEMORANDUM OPINION regarding the defendant's 19 Motion for Summary Judgment and the plaintiff's 20 Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on February 13, 2021. (lcbah3) (Entered: 02/13/2021)
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