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Case TitlePublic Justice Foundation et al v. Farm Service Agency
DistrictNorthern District of California
CitySan Francisco
Case Number3:2020cv01103
Date Filed2020-02-12
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge William Alsup
PlaintiffPublic Justice Foundation
PlaintiffAnimal Legal Defense Fund
PlaintiffCenter For Biological Diversity
PlaintiffCenter for Food Safety
PlaintiffFood & Water Watch
Case DescriptionThe Public Justice Foundation, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety, and Food & Water Watch submitted FOIA requests to the Farm Service Agency for records concerning the FSA's administration of federal farm loans. In response to a request from Public Justice Foundation, FSA released six pages in full and 43 pages with heavy redactions, citing Exemption 3 (other statutes) and Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy). The Exemption 3 statute cited by the agency was section 1619(b) of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act. Public Justice Foundation filed an administrative appeal, which was denied by the agency. The other public interest organization had similar experiences with their FOIA requests. All five groups then filed suit.
Complaint issues: Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantFarm Service Agency
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Opinion/Order [35]
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2020-02-121COMPLAINT for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against Farm Service Agency, (Filing Fee: $400.00, receipt number 0971-14169911). Filed by Public Justice Foundation. (Attachments: #(1) Civil Cover Sheet)(Smith, Kellan) (Filed on 2/12/2020) Modified on 2/13/2020 (tnS, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 02/12/2020)
2020-02-122Proposed Summons. (Smith, Kellan) (Filed on 2/12/2020) (Entered: 02/12/2020)
2020-02-123Case assigned to Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler. Counsel for plaintiff or the removing party is responsible for serving the Complaint or Notice of Removal, Summons and the assigned judge's standing orders and all other new case documents upon the opposing parties. For information, visit E-Filing A New Civil Case at http://cand.uscourts.gov/ecf/caseopening. Standing orders can be downloaded from the court's web page at www.cand.uscourts.gov/judges. Upon receipt, the summons will be issued and returned electronically. Counsel is required to send chambers a copy of the initiating documents pursuant to L.R. 5-1(e)(7). A scheduling order will be sent by Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) within two business days. Consent/Declination due by 2/26/2020. (bwS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/12/2020) (Entered: 02/12/2020)
2020-02-124Certification of Interested Parties or Entities filed by Public Justice Foundation (Smith, Kellan) (Filed on 2/12/2020) (Entered: 02/12/2020)
2020-02-135Initial Case Management Scheduling Order with ADR Deadlines: Joint Case Management Statement due by 5/7/2020. Initial Case Management Conference set for 5/14/2020 at 11:00 AM in San Francisco, Courtroom B, 15th Floor. (tnS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/13/2020) (Entered: 02/13/2020)
2020-02-136Summons Issued as to Defendant Farm Service Agency. (tnS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/13/2020) (Entered: 02/13/2020)
2020-02-247CONSENT/DECLINATION to Proceed Before a US Magistrate Judge by Public Justice Foundation.. (Smith, Kellan) (Filed on 2/24/2020) (Entered: 02/24/2020)
2020-02-248CLERK'S NOTICE OF IMPENDING REASSIGNMENT TO A U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: The Clerk of this Court will now randomly reassign this case to a District Judge because either (1) a party has not consented to the jurisdiction of a Magistrate Judge, or (2) time is of the essence in deciding a pending judicial action for which the necessary consents to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction have not been secured. You will be informed by separate notice of the district judge to whom this case is reassigned. ALL HEARING DATES PRESENTLY SCHEDULED BEFORE THE CURRENT MAGISTRATE JUDGE ARE VACATED AND SHOULD BE RE-NOTICED FOR HEARING BEFORE THE JUDGE TO WHOM THIS CASE IS REASSIGNED. This is a text only docket entry; there is no document associated with this notice. (ejkS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/24/2020) (Entered: 02/24/2020)
2020-02-259ORDER, Case Reassigned using a proportionate, random, and blind system pursuant to General Order No. 44 to Judge William Alsup for all further proceedings. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler no longer assigned to the case. Notice: The assigned judge participates in the Cameras in the Courtroom Pilot Project. See General Order No. 65 and http://cand.uscourts.gov/cameras.. Signed by The Clerk on 2/25/20. (Attachments: # 1 Notice of Eligibility for Video Recording)(haS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/25/2020) (Entered: 02/25/2020)
2020-02-2510CLERK'S NOTICE SCHEDULING CMC ON REASSIGNMENT: Case Management Statement due by 5/14/2020. Initial Case Management Conference set for 5/21/2020 11:00 AM in San Francisco, Courtroom 12, 19th Floor. Standing orders can be downloaded from the Court's webpage at www.cand.uscourts.gov/whaorders. All pending motions will be taken off-calendar and must be re-noticed by the moving party for a new hearing date on a Thursday at 08:00 AM. The new hearing date must be at least five weeks from the date the motion was filed and at least three weeks from the date the re-notice is filed. The due date for any opposition or reply papers not yet filed shall be calculated in accordance with Civil Local Rule 7-3. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (tlhS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/25/2020) (Entered: 02/25/2020)
2020-03-0311CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Public Justice Foundation (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Smith, Kellan) (Filed on 3/3/2020) (Entered: 03/03/2020)
2020-03-0612STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER EXTENDING TIME TO ANSWER OR OTHERWISE RESPOND TO COMPLAINT filed by Farm Service Agency. (Attachments: #(1) Declaration)(Wolinsky, Benjamin) (Filed on 3/6/2020) (Entered: 03/06/2020)
2020-03-1113ORDER DENYING 12 STIPULATION TO EXTEND TIME AND DELAY CMC. By Judge Alsup. (whalc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/11/2020) (Entered: 03/11/2020)
2020-03-1314STIPULATION EXTENDING TIME TO ANSWER OR OTHERWISE RESPOND filed by Farm Service Agency. (Wolinsky, Benjamin) (Filed on 3/13/2020) (Entered: 03/13/2020)
2020-04-2415ANSWER to Complaint filed by Farm Service Agency. (Wolinsky, Benjamin) (Filed on 4/24/2020) (Entered: 04/24/2020)
2020-04-3016ADR Certification (ADR L.R. 3-5 b) of discussion of ADR options (Smith, Kellan) (Filed on 4/30/2020) (Entered: 04/30/2020)
2020-04-3017ADR Certification (ADR L.R. 3-5 b) of discussion of ADR options ADR Certificatiob for Defendant (Brakebill, Kenneth) (Filed on 4/30/2020) (Entered: 04/30/2020)
2020-05-1418*** FILED IN ERROR. PLEASE SEE DOCKET # 19 . *** ORDER RE MAY 21 CMC. By Judge Alsup. (whalc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/14/2020) Modified on 5/14/2020 (tlhS, COURT STAFF). (Entered: 05/14/2020)
2020-05-1419AMENDED ORDER RE MAY 21 CMC. By Judge Alsup. (whalc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/14/2020) (Entered: 05/14/2020)
2020-05-1420CLERK'S NOTICE RE 5/21/2020 HEARING: Initial Case Management Conference set for 5/21/2020 11:00 AM before Judge William Alsup will be held by telephone. The Court circulates the following dial-in information to allow the equivalent of a public hearing: Teleconference Number: 888-684-8852 Access Code: 3707514 Please allow adequate time to check-in with the courtroom deputy by connecting to the teleconference line 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (tlhS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/14/2020) (Entered: 05/14/2020)
2020-05-1421JOINT INITIAL CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT & RULE 26(F) REPORT filed by Farm Service Agency. (Brakebill, Kenneth) (Filed on 5/14/2020) (Entered: 05/14/2020)
2020-05-2122Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge William Alsup: Telephonic Initial Case Management Conference held on 5/21/2020. Court to issue written order. (Total Time in Court: 27 minutes.) Court Reporter: Debra Pas. Plaintiff Attorney: Kellan Smith. Defendant Attorney: Ken Brakebill. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (tlhS, COURT STAFF) (Date Filed: 5/21/2020) (Entered: 05/21/2020)
2020-05-2723CASE MANAGEMENT SCHEDULING ORDER AND BRIEFING SCHEDULE. By Judge Alsup. (whalc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/27/2020) (Entered: 05/27/2020)
2020-06-2424STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER REGARDING DEADLINE TO FILE VAUGHN INDEX re 23 Order filed by Farm Service Agency. (Brakebill, Kenneth) (Filed on 6/24/2020) (Entered: 06/24/2020)
2020-06-2525ORDER GRANTING 24 STIPULATION REGARDING DEADLINE TO FILE VAUGHN INDEX. By Judge Alsup. (whalc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/25/2020) (Entered: 06/25/2020)
2020-06-2526NOTICE OF FILING OF AGENCY DECLARATION PURSUANT TO MAY 27, 2020 ORDER re 23 Order, 25 Order on Stipulation filed by Farm Service Agency. (Attachments: #(1) Declaration)(Brakebill, Kenneth) (Filed on 6/25/2020) (Entered: 06/25/2020)
2020-07-2727RESPONSE re 25 Order on Stipulation by Farm Service Agency. (Brakebill, Kenneth) (Filed on 7/27/2020) (Entered: 07/27/2020)
2020-08-1028NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION CHALLENGING DEFICIENCIES IN FSAS REVISED SEARCH AND PRODUCTION; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT filed by Public Justice Foundation. Motion Hearing set for 9/17/2020 08:00 AM in San Francisco, Courtroom 12, 19th Floor before Judge William Alsup. Responses due by 8/24/2020. Replies due by 8/31/2020. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration, # 2 Exhibit, # 3 [Proposed] Order)(Smith, Kellan) (Filed on 8/10/2020) (Entered: 08/10/2020)
2020-08-2429OPPOSITION/RESPONSE to (re 28 MOTION Challenging Defendant FSA's Revised Search and Production ) filed by Farm Service Agency. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration)(Brakebill, Kenneth) (Filed on 8/24/2020) (Entered: 08/24/2020)
2020-08-3130REPLY (re 28 MOTION Challenging Defendant FSA's Revised Search and Production ) filed by Public Justice Foundation. (Smith, Kellan) (Filed on 8/31/2020) (Entered: 08/31/2020)
2020-09-0931CLERK'S NOTICE Continuing Motion Hearing and Setting Telephonic Hearing. The Motion Hearing set for 9/17/2020 (Related documents(s) 28 ) is continued to 9/23/2020 at 12:30 PM before Judge William Alsup. This proceeding will be held by AT&T Conference Line. The court circulates the following conference number to allow the equivalent of a public hearing by telephone. For conference line information, see: https://apps.cand.uscourts.gov/telhrg/ All counsel, members of the public and press please use the following dial-in information below to access the conference line: Dial In: (888) 684-8852 Access Code: 3707514 The Court may be in session with proceedings in progress when you connect to the conference line. Therefore, mute your phone if possible and wait for the Court to address you before speaking on the line. For call clarity, parties shall NOT use speaker phone or earpieces for these calls, and where at all possible, parties shall use landlines. PLEASE NOTE: Persons granted access to court proceedings held by telephone or videoconference are reminded that photographing, recording, and rebroadcasting of court proceedings, including screenshots or other visual copying of a hearing, is absolutely prohibited. See General Order 58 at Paragraph III. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (amd2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/9/2020) (Entered: 09/09/2020)
2020-09-2132STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER TO CONTINUE SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 HEARING filed by Farm Service Agency. (Brakebill, Kenneth) (Filed on 9/21/2020) (Entered: 09/21/2020)
2020-09-2233ORDER by Judge William Alsup granting 32 Stipulation and Order to Continue September 23, 2020 Hearing. (amd2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/22/2020) (Entered: 09/22/2020)
2020-09-2234CLERK'S NOTICE CONTINUING MOTION HEARING. Pursuant to stipulation of the parties and the Court's order at 33 the Motion Hearing set for 9/23/2020 is continued to 11/5/2020 at 8:00 AM before Judge William Alsup. This proceeding will be held by AT&T Conference Line. The court circulates the following conference number to allow the equivalent of a public hearing by telephone. For conference line information, see: https://apps.cand.uscourts.gov/telhrg/ All counsel, members of the public and press please use the following dial-in information below to access the conference line: Dial In: (888) 684-8852 Access Code: 3707514 The Court may be in session with proceedings in progress when you connect to the conference line. Therefore, mute your phone if possible and wait for the Court to address you before speaking on the line. For call clarity, parties shall NOT use speaker phone or earpieces for these calls, and where at all possible, parties shall use landlines. PLEASE NOTE: Persons granted access to court proceedings held by telephone or videoconference are reminded that photographing, recording, and rebroadcasting of court proceedings, including screenshots or other visual copying of a hearing, is absolutely prohibited. See General Order 58 at Paragraph III. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (amd2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/22/2020) (Entered: 09/22/2020)
2020-10-0535ORDER GRANTING 28 PLAINTIFFS' MOTION CHALLENGING DEFICIENCIES IN FSAS REVISED SEARCH AND PRODUCTION. By Judge Alsup. Case Management Statement due by 11/12/2020. Telephonic Case Management Conference set for 11/19/2020 11:00 AM before Judge William Alsup. (whalc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/5/2020) (Entered: 10/05/2020)
2020-10-0736CLERK'S NOTICE SETTING TELEPHONIC HEARING. The Initial Case Management Conference set for 11/19/2020 will be held by AT&T Conference Line. The court circulates the following conference number to allow the equivalent of a public hearing by telephone. For conference line information, see: https://apps.cand.uscourts.gov/telhrg/ All counsel, members of the public and press please use the following dial-in information below to access the conference line: Dial In: (888) 684-8852 Access Code: 3707514 The Court may be in session with proceedings in progress when you connect to the conference line. Therefore, mute your phone if possible and wait for the Court to address you before speaking on the line. For call clarity, parties shall NOT use speaker phone or earpieces for these calls, and where at all possible, parties shall use landlines. PLEASE NOTE: Persons granted access to court proceedings held by telephone or videoconference are reminded that photographing, recording, and rebroadcasting of court proceedings, including screenshots or other visual copying of a hearing, is absolutely prohibited. See General Order 58 at Paragraph III. (This is a text-only entry generated by the court. There is no document associated with this entry.) (amd2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/7/2020) (Entered: 10/07/2020)
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