Skip to content

Case Detail

[Subscribe to updates]
Case TitleALBALADEJO v. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2019cv03806
Date Filed2019-12-23
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Rudolph Contreras
PlaintiffANGELIKA ALBALADEJO
Case DescriptionAngelica Albaladejo, a free-lance journalist, submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for records concerning medical summaries for individuals transported between 2003 and the present by the ICE Air Operations division of the Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations. The agency acknowledged receipt of her request and asked for clarification which Albaladejo provided. The agency ultimately told Albaladejo that it found no responsive records. Albaladejo filed an administrative appeal of the agency's no records decision. The agency upheld its initial action on appeal. Albaladejo then filed suit.
Complaint issues: Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantIMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Opinion/Order [18]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Rudolph Contreras has ruled that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has not yet shown that it conducted an adequate search for records requested by investigative journalist Angelika Albaladejo for records concerning air transportation of noncitizen detainees with certain medical conditions. Based on her review of the ICE Air Operations Handbook. Albaladejo learned that "medical providers must provide clearance for air travel for detainees with medical conditions. . .[and that] these considerations and clearances must be annotated on a medical summary." Albaladejo submitted a FOIA request asking for the medical forms referenced in the IAO Handbook. ICE asked her to narrow the scope of the request, which she did, limiting her search to "the relevant [Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations] field offices and IAO headquarters, and the Arizona Removal Operations Coordination Center, located at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport." ICE responded by indicating that it found no responsive records. Albaladejo filed an administrative appeal, arguing that the agency should have conducted a more robust search of IAO records. The agency upheld its search and Albaladejo filed suit. Contreras found ICE's search wanting. He noted that the agency's affidavit "states that the supervisory mission support personnel 'searched paper files, his computer files, and Outlook by using the search function with the term 'medical.' The declaration does not state why a search of this individual's files would be 'reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents.' It is not clear whether this individual would normally maintain transfer authorizations or medical summaries for detainees being transported by air on his computer or among his files. The agency's declaration regarding the search of IAO records amounts to a three-sentence paragraph and is sparse on details. More information is required for the Court to determine whether the agency adequately searched its records." Further, Contreras noted, ICE failed "to address any of the evidence presented by Plaintiff. The IAO Handbook supports Plaintiff's contention that air transport authorization that include medical summaries are sent to IAO prior to transporting detainees." He pointed out that "all this strongly suggests that IAO receives medical summaries via email prior to transporting detainees. In its declaration and briefing, ICE makes no effort to confront this evidence or to explain why the 'ICE Air Mailboxes' or other offices within IAO (including IAO Mesa) would not reasonably contain responsive records. There may be good reasons these other locations were not searched, but if there are, ICE does not provide them." ICE argued that Albaladejo's claims were mere speculation. Contreras, however, noted "Plaintiff brings more than mere speculation; the evidence in the record 'reveals positive indications of overlooked materials.'" Ordering the agency to conduct a further search, Contreras pointed out that "because there is such a disconnect between ICE's explanation of its search and the evidence provided by Plaintiff, on renewed motion for summary judgment, ICE must provide a much clearer explanation of what documents are created as part of the air transportation authorization process at issue. . ."
Issues: Adequacy - Search
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2019-12-231COMPLAINT against IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number ADCDC-6670781) filed by ANGELIKA ALBALADEJO. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons ICE Summons, # 3 Summons US AG Summons, # 4 Summons USAO Summons)(Sorenson, C.) (Entered: 12/23/2019)
2019-12-26Case assigned to Judge Rudolph Contreras. (zmc) (Entered: 12/26/2019)
2019-12-262SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachment: # 1 Notice and Consent)(zmc) (Entered: 12/26/2019)
2020-01-303NOTICE of Appearance by Diana Viggiano Valdivia on behalf of IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Valdivia, Diana) (Entered: 01/30/2020)
2020-01-304ANSWER to Complaint by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT.(Valdivia, Diana) (Entered: 01/30/2020)
2020-01-30MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall meet, confer, and jointly submit a proposed briefing schedule by February 13, 2020. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on January 30, 2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 01/30/2020)
2020-02-05Set/Reset Deadlines: Proposed Briefing Schedule due by 2/13/2020 (tj) (Entered: 02/05/2020)
2020-02-135PROPOSED BRIEFING SCHEDULE by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Valdivia, Diana) (Entered: 02/13/2020)
2020-02-14MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 5 the parties' proposed briefing schedule, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment by May 15, 2020; Plaintiff shall file her opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment by June 15, 2020; Defendant shall file its opposition and reply in support of its motion for summary judgment by June 29, 2020; and Plaintiff shall file her reply in support of her cross-motion by July 13, 2020. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on February 14, 2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 02/14/2020)
2020-02-20Set/Reset Deadlines: Cross Motions due by 6/15/2020. Response to Cross Motions due by 6/29/2020. Reply to Cross Motions due by 7/13/2020. Summary Judgment motions due by 5/15/2020. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 6/15/2020. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 6/29/2020. (tj) (Entered: 02/20/2020)
2020-05-146Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Valdivia, Diana) (Entered: 05/14/2020)
2020-05-15MINUTE ORDER granting 6 Defendant's Motion for Extension of Time. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment on or before May 29, 2020; Plaintiff shall file her opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment on or before June 29, 2020; Defendant shall file its opposition and reply in support of its motion for summary judgment by July 13, 2020; Plaintiff shall file her reply in support of her cross-motion on or before July 27, 2020. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 05/15/2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 05/15/2020)
2020-05-15Set/Reset Deadlines: Cross Motions due by 6/29/2020. Response to Cross Motions due by 7/13/2020. Reply to Cross Motions due by 7/27/2020. Summary Judgment motions due by 5/29/2020. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 6/29/2020. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 7/13/2020. (tj) (Entered: 05/15/2020)
2020-05-297Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to Brief Summary Judgment by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Valdivia, Diana) (Entered: 05/29/2020)
2020-06-01MINUTE ORDER granting 7 Defendant's Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment on or before June 29, 2020; Plaintiff shall file her opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment on or before July 30, 2020; Defendant shall file its opposition and reply in support of its motion for summary judgment on or before August 12, 2020; Plaintiff shall file her reply in support of her cross-motion on or before August 27, 2020. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 06/01/2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 06/01/2020)
2020-06-01Set/Reset Deadlines: Cross Motions due by 7/30/2020. Response to Cross Motions due by 8/12/2020. Reply to Cross Motions due by 8/27/2020. Summary Judgment motions due by 6/29/2020. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 7/30/2020. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/12/2020. (tj) (Entered: 06/01/2020)
2020-06-298MOTION for Summary Judgment by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 (Fuentes Decl. w/ Exhibits), # 2 Exhibit 2 (System of Records Notice), # 3 Exhibit 3 (Excerpt, ICE FY2018 Budget Cong. Just.), # 4 Exhibit 4 (GAO Rep. No. GAO-20-36), # 5 Exhibit 5 (ICE Air Ops. Handbook), # 6 Exhibit 6 (Sample Form I-216), # 7 Exhibit 7 (ICE Detention Handbook ch. 4.3), # 8 Statement of Facts, # 9 Text of Proposed Order)(Hudak, Brian) (Entered: 06/29/2020)
2020-07-309Memorandum in opposition to re 8 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ANGELIKA ALBALADEJO. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration, # 2 Exhibit 101, # 3 Statement of Facts, # 4 Memorandum in Support, # 5 Text of Proposed Order)(Sorenson, C.) (Entered: 07/30/2020)
2020-07-3010Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by ANGELIKA ALBALADEJO (Attachments: # 1 Declaration, # 2 Exhibit 101, # 3 Statement of Facts, # 4 Memorandum in Support, # 5 Text of Proposed Order)(Sorenson, C.) (Entered: 07/30/2020)
2020-08-1311Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Valdivia, Diana) (Entered: 08/13/2020)
2020-08-14MINUTE ORDER granting 11 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply, Nunc Pro Tunc. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its opposition and reply in support of its motion for summary judgment on or before September 17, 2020; Plaintiff shall file her reply in support of her cross motion for summary judgment on or before October 5, 2020. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 08/14/2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 08/14/2020)
2020-08-14Set/Reset Deadlines: Response to Cross Motions due by 9/17/2020. Reply to Cross Motions due by 10/5/2020. Responses due by 9/17/2020 (tj) (Entered: 08/14/2020)
2020-09-1012NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Brenda A. Gonzalez on behalf of IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT Substituting for attorney Diana V. Valdivia (Gonzalez, Brenda) (Entered: 09/10/2020)
2020-09-1613Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Reply to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgement by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (Gonzalez, Brenda) (Entered: 09/16/2020)
2020-09-17MINUTE ORDER granting 13 Motion for Extension of Time. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its combined reply and opposition on or before September 25, 2020 and Plaintiff shall file her reply on or before October 9, 2020. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 09/17/2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 09/17/2020)
2020-09-2514REPLY to opposition to motion re 8 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, Declaration of Fernando Pineiro, # 2 Exhibit 2, Declaration of Capt. Felix Alicea, # 3 Exhibit 3, Declaration of John Truong, # 4 Statement of Facts Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Statement of Additional Facts)(Gonzalez, Brenda) (Entered: 09/25/2020)
2020-09-2515Memorandum in opposition to re 10 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (See Docket Entry 14 to view document). (znmw) (Entered: 09/29/2020)
2020-09-28Set/Reset Deadlines: Replies due by 10/9/2020. (tj) (Entered: 09/28/2020)
2020-10-0916REPLY to opposition to motion re 10 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment , 8 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ANGELIKA ALBALADEJO. (Sorenson, C.) (Entered: 10/09/2020)
2021-02-0217ORDER denying 8 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment; denying 10 Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 2/2/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 02/02/2021)
2021-02-0218MEMORANDUM OPINION denying 8 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment; denying 10 Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 2/2/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 02/02/2021)
2021-02-02MINUTE ORDER: In light of 18 the Court's Memorandum Opinion, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file a renewed motion for summary judgment on or before March 4, 2021. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 2/2/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 02/02/2021)
2021-02-02Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motions due by 3/4/2021. (tj) (Entered: 02/02/2021)
2021-02-2319MOTION for Extension of Time to File Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Gonzalez-Horowitz, Brenda) (Entered: 02/23/2021)
2021-03-0120Memorandum in opposition to re 19 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment filed by ANGELIKA ALBALADEJO. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Declaration, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Sorenson, C.) (Entered: 03/01/2021)
2021-03-0821REPLY to opposition to motion re 19 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment filed by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Gonzalez-Horowitz, Brenda) (Entered: 03/08/2021)
2021-03-12MINUTE ORDER granting, in part, 19 Defendant's motion to extend summary judgment briefing over Plaintiff's objection. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall complete its new search and produce non-exempt responsive records on or before May 10, 2021. It is FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant shall file a renewed motion for summary judgment on or before June 9, 2021. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 3/12/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 03/12/2021)
2021-05-0722MOTION to Vacate Existing Records Production and Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment Deadlines by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Attachments: # 1 Fernando Pineiro Declaration)(Gonzalez-Horowitz, Brenda); Added MOTION for Briefing Schedule on 5/10/2021 (ztth). (Entered: 05/07/2021)
2021-05-1923RESPONSE re 22 MOTION to Vacate Existing Records Production and Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment Deadlines MOTION for Briefing Schedule filed by ANGELIKA ALBALADEJO. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Angelika Albaladejo, # 2 Memorandum in Support, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Sorenson, C.) (Entered: 05/19/2021)
2021-05-2624REPLY to opposition to motion re 22 MOTION to Vacate Existing Records Production and Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment Deadlines MOTION for Briefing Schedule filed by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Gonzalez-Horowitz, Brenda) (Entered: 05/26/2021)
2021-06-07MINUTE ORDER granting in part and denying in part 22 Defendant's Motion to Vacate Production and Briefing Schedule. Plaintiff submitted her initial FOIA request in March 2019 and narrowed it in May 2019. After she received a no-responsive-records response, she appealed the denial and the appeal was denied in August 2019. This case was filed in December 2019. Throughout, ICE asserted that no responsive records exist. In fact, it was so confident in that position that it filed a motion for summary judgment based on the adequacy of its search. After the Court denied that motion, ICE contacted additional records custodians and searched in additional locations and now claims that it has located 15,000 pages of potentially responsive material (based on the processing of the initial batch of records, it appears that many, if not all, of that batch of records reviewed have been deemed responsive). It is that large number of potentially responsive records on which ICE bases its request for more time to process and produce those records and submit a dispositive motion. But nowhere in its motion does ICE explain why it did not contact these records custodians or search in these locations in the first place. Thus, it appears that ICE has wasted a great deal of Plaintiff's and this Court's time since 2019. As a result, although the reality is that more time will be required for ICE to process and produce the 15,000 pages of potentially responsive records, ICE has requested too long a period of time to process such records given how much time it has wasted to date. Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that the existing deadlines regarding ICE's production of documents and renewed motion for summary judgment are VACATED. It is FURTHER ORDERED that ICE shall process 2,000 pages per month, produce non-exempt material by the 5th of each month, and submit a status report to the Court by the 12th of each month. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 6/7/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 06/07/2021)
2021-06-1125STATUS REPORT by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Gonzalez-Horowitz, Brenda) (Entered: 06/11/2021)
2021-06-2226RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 1/30/2020. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 2/29/2020. (Sorenson, C.) (Main Document 26 replaced on 7/1/2021) (znmw). (Entered: 06/22/2021)
2021-06-2227RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 12/31/2019., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT served on 1/2/2020. (See Docket Entry 26 to view document). (znmw) (Entered: 07/01/2021)
2021-07-0928STATUS REPORT by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Gonzalez-Horowitz, Brenda) (Entered: 07/09/2021)
2021-08-1229STATUS REPORT by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Gonzalez-Horowitz, Brenda) (Entered: 08/12/2021)
2021-09-0930STATUS REPORT by IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT. (Gonzalez-Horowitz, Brenda) (Entered: 09/09/2021)
Hide Docket Events
by FOIA Project Staff
Skip to toolbar