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Case TitleCouncil on American Islamic Relations - Washington v. United States Customs and Border Protection et al
DistrictWestern District of Washington
CitySeattle
Case Number2:2020cv00217
Date Filed2020-02-12
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Ricardo S. Martinez
PlaintiffCouncil on American-Islamic Relations-Washington
Case DescriptionThe Council on American-Islamic Relations - Washington submitted a FOIA request to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for records concerning changes in the policies for screening individuals entering the United States in the Washington area. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request but after hearing nothing further from the agency, CAIR - Washington filed suit.
Complaint issues: Litigation - Attorney's fees, Failure to respond within statutory time limit

DefendantUnited States Customs and Border Protection
DefendantUnited States Department of Homeland Security
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Opinion/Order [9]
Opinion/Order [14]
Opinion/Order [19]
Opinion/Order [29]
Opinion/Order [32]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in Washington has ruled that U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not conduct an adequate search in response to a FOIA request from the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Washington for records concerning the Seattle Field Office or Blaine Sector's enhanced vetting of individuals of Iranian heritage. The court also found the agency had failed to justify exemption claims made under Exemption 5 (privileges), Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy), Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods or techniques). The agency ultimately disclosed 147 pages with redactions. CAIR challenged the adequacy of the agency's search, arguing that the agency only searched the emails of three mid-level managers and failed to search the email account of Adele Fasano, who had been the SFO Director at the time. Although the agency agreed to search Fasano's email account, Judge Richard Martinez found the agency's search was so far insufficient. Martinez rejected the agency's deliberative process privilege claim, pointing out that "Defendants have failed to meet their burden to demonstrate Exemption 5 applies to these documents, which do not appear to have been prepared in order to assist in the making of a decision, and instead relate to the release of a public-facing statement describing events after a decision was made." As to Exemption 6, Martinez indicated that the agency had improperly "redacted the names of government officials in records not relating to those individuals. These are not personnel records or similar files." He observed that "CAIR has also demonstrated that the public interest lies in the release of the names of Assistant Directors and Port Directors playing a key role in the implementation of the policy at issue, which touches on the civil rights of U.S. Citizens and legal permanent residents." Martinez pointed out that the public interest in disclosure made Exemption 7(C) inapplicable as well. He ordered the agency to provide the directive implementing the policy for in camera review to assess whether it was protected under Exemption 7(E). Martinez noted that "release of the directive that mandated the detention of individuals based on national origin may be appropriate, along with the release of any communications discussing, implementing, criticizing or withdrawing that directive."
Issues: Exemption 5 - Privileges - Deliberative process privilege - Deliberative, Exemption 7(E) - Investigative methods or techniques
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2020-02-121COMPLAINT against All Defendants (Receipt # AWAWDC-6143464) Attorney Aaron Korthuis added to party Council on American Islamic Relations - Washington(pty:pla), filed by Council on American Islamic Relations - Washington. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons, # 3 Summons, # 4 Summons)(Korthuis, Aaron) (Entered: 02/12/2020)
2020-02-13Judge Ricardo S. Martinez added. (GT) (Entered: 02/13/2020)
2020-02-132Summonses Electronically Issued as to defendants United States Customs and Border Protection and United States Department of Homeland Security. (Attachments: # 1 Summons, # 2 Summons)(GT) (Entered: 02/13/2020)
2020-02-13NOTICE Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P 7.1, Council on American Islamic Relations - Washington must file a Corporate Disclosure Statement by 2/20/2020. (GT) (Entered: 02/13/2020)
2020-02-133CORPORATE DISCLOSURE STATEMENT indicating no Corporate Parents and/or Affiliates. Filed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P 7.1. Filed by Council on American Islamic Relations - Washington (Adams, Matt) (Entered: 02/13/2020)
2020-02-204ORDER REGARDING INITIAL DISCLOSURES AND JOINT STATUS REPORT Joint Status Report due by 4/2/2020, FRCP 26f Conference Deadline is 3/19/2020, Initial Disclosure Deadline is 3/26/2020, by Judge Ricardo S. Martinez. (LW) (Entered: 02/20/2020)
2020-03-065AFFIDAVIT of Mailing of Summons and Complaint to United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Attorney General, Civil Process Clerk for the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington on 2/14/2020, filed by Plaintiff Council on American Islamic Relations - Washington. (Adams, Matt) (Entered: 03/06/2020)
2020-03-096NOTICE of Appearance by attorney Michelle R. Lambert on behalf of Defendants United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security. (Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 03/09/2020)
2020-03-187STIPULATION AND PROPOSED ORDER to ext initial scheduling deadlines by parties (Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 03/18/2020)
2020-03-188ANSWER to 1 Complaint, by United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 03/18/2020)
2020-03-199STIPULATION AND ORDER re parties' 7 Stipulation. FRCP 26f Conference Deadline is 4/2/2020, Initial Disclosure Deadline is 4/9/2020, Joint Status Report due by 4/16/2020. Signed by Judge Ricardo S. Martinez. (PM) (Entered: 03/19/2020)
2020-04-0610STIPULATION AND PROPOSED ORDER for relief from Rule 26 deadlines by parties (Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 04/06/2020)
2020-04-0911STIPULATION AND ORDER for relief from Rule 26 deadlines re parties' 10 Stipulation. The parties stipulate and agree, and respectfully request that the Court vacate the Rule 26 deadlines (Dkt. No. 9 ), and allow the parties to submit a briefing schedule for dispositive motions within the next two weeks. Signed by Judge Ricardo S. Martinez. (TH) (Entered: 04/09/2020)
2020-04-2012NOTICE of Intent to Amend the Complaint ; filed by Plaintiff Council on American Islamic Relations - Washington. (Korthuis, Aaron) (Entered: 04/20/2020)
2020-05-0113STIPULATION AND PROPOSED ORDER by parties (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Korthuis, Aaron) (Entered: 05/01/2020)
2020-05-0114STIPULATION AND ORDER directing Plaintiff to file its proposed First Amended Complaint per parties' 13 Stipulation. Signed by Judge Ricardo S. Martinez. (PM) (Entered: 05/01/2020)
2020-05-0115AMENDED COMPLAINT against defendant(s) United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security, filed by Council on American Islamic Relations - Washington.(Korthuis, Aaron) (Entered: 05/01/2020)
2020-05-0116DECLARATION of Sydney Maltese re 15 Amended Complaint by Plaintiff Council on American Islamic Relations - Washington (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Exhibit E, # 6 Exhibit F, # 7 Exhibit G)(Korthuis, Aaron) (Entered: 05/01/2020)
2020-05-1217ANSWER to 15 Amended Complaint by United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 05/12/2020)
2020-05-1518Stipulated MOTION and Proposed Order to Set Briefing Schedule , filed by Plaintiff Council on American-Islamic Relations-Washington. Noting Date 5/15/2020, (Korthuis, Aaron) (Entered: 05/15/2020)
2020-05-2219STIPULATION AND ORDER to Set Briefing Schedule re parties' 18 Stipulated Motion. Signed by Judge Ricardo S. Martinez.(TH) (Entered: 05/22/2020)
2020-07-0320MOTION for Summary Judgment , filed by Defendants United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order) Noting Date 8/21/2020, (Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 07/03/2020)
2020-07-0321DECLARATION of Patrick Howard - Search Decl. filed by Defendants United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security re 20 MOTION for Summary Judgment (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1)(Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 07/03/2020)
2020-07-0322DECLARATION of Patrick Howard - Exemption Decl. filed by Defendants United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security re 20 MOTION for Summary Judgment (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4)(Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 07/03/2020)
2020-07-2423CROSS-MOTION AND RESPONSE re 20 MOTION for Summary Judgment ., filed by Plaintiff Council on American-Islamic Relations-Washington. Oral Argument Requested. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order) Noting Date 8/21/2020, (Korthuis, Aaron) (Entered: 07/24/2020)
2020-07-2424Second DECLARATION of Sydney Maltese filed by Plaintiff Council on American-Islamic Relations-Washington re 23 CROSS-MOTION AND RESPONSE re 20 MOTION for Summary Judgment . (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Exhibit E, # 6 Exhibit F, # 7 Exhibit G, # 8 Exhibit H, # 9 Exhibit I, # 10 Exhibit J, # 11 Exhibit K)(Korthuis, Aaron) (Entered: 07/24/2020)
2020-08-1425RESPONSE, by Defendants United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security, to 20 MOTION for Summary Judgment , 23 CROSS-MOTION AND RESPONSE re 20 MOTION for Summary Judgment .. (Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 08/14/2020)
2020-08-1426Third DECLARATION of Patrick Howard filed by Defendants United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security re 20 MOTION for Summary Judgment , 23 CROSS-MOTION AND RESPONSE re 20 MOTION for Summary Judgment . (Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 08/14/2020)
2020-08-2127REPLY, filed by Plaintiff Council on American-Islamic Relations-Washington, TO RESPONSE to 23 CROSS-MOTION AND RESPONSE re 20 MOTION for Summary Judgment . (Korthuis, Aaron) (Entered: 08/21/2020)
2020-08-2128Third DECLARATION of Sydney Maltese filed by Plaintiff Council on American-Islamic Relations-Washington re 23 CROSS-MOTION AND RESPONSE re 20 MOTION for Summary Judgment . (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Korthuis, Aaron) (Entered: 08/21/2020)
2020-10-0529ORDER denying Defendants' 20 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting in part and denying in part Plaintiff's 23 Cross Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendants are to conduct an adequate search. To extent they have not done so already, they must search the emails of (1) Adele Fasano, (2) the Seattle Field Office Assistant Director, (3) Randy Howe, and (4) the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Mark A. Morgan. The parties are to meet and confer and to submit to the Court within the next seven (7) days a Joint Status Report on the production of any additional materials. Court directs redactions (see order) which are to be accomplished in the next 30 days. Any anticipated issues are to be included in the Joint Status Report. Defendants' in camera review records due within the next seven (7) days. Signed by Judge Ricardo S. Martinez. (PM) (Entered: 10/05/2020)
2020-10-1330JOINT STATUS REPORT signed by all parties. Estimated Trial Days: 0. (Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 10/13/2020)
2020-10-1531NOTICE of Defendants' Filing of Supplemented Vaughn Index re 29 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment,,,, Order on Cross Motion,,,, Set Deadlines,,, ; filed by Defendants United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Department of Homeland Security. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B)(Lambert, Michelle) (Entered: 10/15/2020)
2020-12-1432ORDER RE: DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR IN CAMERA REVIEW. The Court finds that portions of the documents were not properly withheld under Exemption 7(E) and orders their production to Plaintiff. These changes and production to Plaintiff are to be accomplished in the next 14 days. Signed by Judge Ricardo S. Martinez. (PM) (Entered: 12/14/2020)
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by FOIA Project Staff
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