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Case TitleDocumented NY v. United States Department of State et al
DistrictSouthern District of New York
CityFoley Square
Case Number1:2020cv01946
Date Filed2020-03-04
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Alison J. Nathan
PlaintiffDocumented NY
Case DescriptionDocumented NY submitted FOIA requests to the Department of State, the Department of Health and Human Services, and OMB for records concerning the impact of the public charge rule. Documented NY also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. All three agencies acknowledged receipt of the requests. The Department of State granted Documented NY's request for a fee waiver but denied its request for expedited processing. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Documented NY filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Public Interest Fee Waiver, Expedited processing, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantUnited States Department of State
DefendantUnited States Department of Health and Human Services
DefendantOffice of Management and Budget
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Opinion/Order [14]
Opinion/Order [16]
Opinion/Order [17]
Opinion/Order [29]
Opinion/Order [38]
Opinion/Order [41]
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2020-03-041FILING ERROR - DEFICIENT PLEADING - SIGNATURE ERROR - COMPLAINT against Office of Management and Budget, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of State. (Filing Fee $ 400.00, Receipt Number ANYSDC-19009327)Document filed by Documented NY. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3).(Schwarz, Ghita) Modified on 3/5/2020 (sj). (Entered: 03/04/2020)
2020-03-042CIVIL COVER SHEET filed..(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 03/04/2020)
2020-03-043REQUEST FOR ISSUANCE OF SUMMONS as to UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, and OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, re: 1 Complaint,. Document filed by Documented NY..(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 03/04/2020)
2020-03-05***NOTICE TO ATTORNEY REGARDING DEFICIENT PLEADING. Notice to Attorney Ghita Schwarz to RE-FILE Document No. 1 Complaint. The filing is deficient for the following reason(s): the pleading was not signed. Re-file the pleading using the event type Complaint found under the event list Complaints and Other Initiating Documents - attach the correct signed PDF - select the individually named filer/filers - select the individually named party/parties the pleading is against. (sj) (Entered: 03/05/2020)
2020-03-05CASE OPENING INITIAL ASSIGNMENT NOTICE: The above-entitled action is assigned to Judge Alison J. Nathan. Please download and review the Individual Practices of the assigned District Judge, located at https://nysd.uscourts.gov/judges/district-judges . Attorneys are responsible for providing courtesy copies to judges where their Individual Practices require such. Please download and review the ECF Rules and Instructions, located at https://nysd.uscourts.gov/rules/ecf-related-instructions . .(sj) (Entered: 03/05/2020)
2020-03-05Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox is so designated. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 636(c) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 73(b)(1) parties are notified that they may consent to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge. Parties who wish to consent may access the necessary form at the following link: https://nysd.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/2018-06/AO-3.pdf . (sj) (Entered: 03/05/2020)
2020-03-05Case Designated ECF. (sj) (Entered: 03/05/2020)
2020-03-054ELECTRONIC SUMMONS ISSUED as to Office of Management and Budget, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of State. (sj) (Entered: 03/05/2020)
2020-03-055NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by Susan Joan Cameron on behalf of Documented NY..(Cameron, Susan) (Entered: 03/05/2020)
2020-03-086COMPLAINT against Office of Management and Budget, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of State. Document filed by Documented NY. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3).(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 03/08/2020)
2020-03-247AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE of Summons and Complaint,. Office of Management and Budget served on 3/9/2020, answer due 3/30/2020; United States Department of Health and Human Services served on 3/9/2020, answer due 3/30/2020; United States Department of State served on 3/9/2020, answer due 3/30/2020. Service was accepted by DEREK MAYERS. Document filed by Documented NY..(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 03/24/2020)
2020-04-038LETTER MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer addressed to Judge Alison J. Nathan from Emily Bretz dated April 3, 2020. Document filed by Office of Management and Budget, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of State..(Bretz, Emily) (Entered: 04/03/2020)
2020-04-069ORDER granting 8 Letter Motion for Extension of Time to Answer: The above request is hereby granted. Defendants' time to answer otherwise respond to the Complaint is extended to May 8, 2020. (Office of Management and Budget answer due 5/8/2020; United States Department of Health and Human Services answer due 5/8/2020; United States Department of State answer due 5/8/2020.) (Signed by Judge Alison J. Nathan on 4/6/2020) (jwh) (Entered: 04/06/2020)
2020-04-2010AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE of Summons and Complaint,. Service was made by MAIL. Document filed by Documented NY..(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 04/20/2020)
2020-04-2011AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE of Summons and Complaint,. Service was made by MAIL. Document filed by Documented NY..(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 04/20/2020)
2020-04-2212NOTICE OF INITIAL PRETRIAL CONFERENCE: Parties ordered to submit via ECF proposed case management plan and joint letter seven days before conference. (As further set forth in this Order.) Initial Conference set for 7/10/2020 at 03:30 PM in Courtroom 906, 40 Centre Street, New York, NY 10007 before Judge Alison J. Nathan. (Signed by Judge Alison J. Nathan on 4/22/2020) (jca) (Entered: 04/22/2020)
2020-05-0813ANSWER to 6 Complaint,. Document filed by Office of Management and Budget, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of State. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3).(Bretz, Emily) (Entered: 05/08/2020)
2020-06-3014ORDER: In light of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the Court will not hold the upcoming initial pretrial conference in this case in person. By July 6, 2020 at 6 p.m., the parties shall submit a joint letter indicating whether they can do without a conference altogether. If so, the Court may enter their case management plan and scheduling order and the parties need not appear. If not, the Court will hold the initial pretrial conference by telephone, albeit perhaps at a different time than the currently scheduled time. To that end, counsel should indicate in their joint letter all times on the date of the scheduled conference that they would be available for a telephone conference. In either case, counsel should review and comply with the Court's Emergency Individual Rules and Practices in Light of COVID-19, available at https://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/hon-alison-j-nathan. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Alison J. Nathan on 6/30/2020) (ks) (Entered: 06/30/2020)
2020-07-0615JOINT PRE-CONFERENCE STATEMENT . Document filed by Documented NY. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Plaintiff's Exhibit 1).(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 07/06/2020)
2020-07-0916ORDER: In light of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the Court will hold the initial pre-trial conference by telephone, at 3:30 p.m. on July 10, 2020. At start of the conference, the parties shall call into the Court's dedicated conference line at (888) 363-4749, and enter Access Code 9196964, followed by the pound (#) key. Counsel should review and comply with the Court's Emergency Individual Rules and Practices in Light of COVID-19, available at https://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/hon-alison-j-nathan. (Signed by Judge Alison J. Nathan on 7/9/2020) (rro) (Entered: 07/09/2020)
2020-07-1017ORDER: Due to the unavailability of the Court, the initial pre-trial conference currently scheduled for today is hereby adjourned sine die. Instead, the parties should submit briefing on the processing order issue. Plaintiff's submission should be filed on or before July 16, 2020. Defendant's submission is due on or before July 22, 2020. Plaintiff may file a reply on or before July 24, 2020. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Alison J. Nathan on 7/10/2020) (kv) (Entered: 07/10/2020)
2020-07-1518NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by Peter Max Aronoff on behalf of Office of Management and Budget, United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States Department of State..(Aronoff, Peter) (Entered: 07/15/2020)
2020-07-1619FIRST MOTION to Expedite Release of Responsive Documents . Document filed by Documented NY. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order).(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 07/16/2020)
2020-07-1620MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: 19 FIRST MOTION to Expedite Release of Responsive Documents . . Document filed by Documented NY..(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 07/16/2020)
2020-07-1621DECLARATION of Ghita Schwarz in Support re: 19 FIRST MOTION to Expedite Release of Responsive Documents .. Document filed by Documented NY. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1).(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 07/16/2020)
2020-07-2222MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Opposition re: 19 FIRST MOTION to Expedite Release of Responsive Documents . . Document filed by United States Department of State..(Aronoff, Peter) (Entered: 07/22/2020)
2020-07-2223DECLARATION of Susan C. Weetman in Opposition re: 19 FIRST MOTION to Expedite Release of Responsive Documents .. Document filed by United States Department of State..(Aronoff, Peter) (Entered: 07/22/2020)
2020-07-2424REPLY MEMORANDUM OF LAW in Support re: 19 FIRST MOTION to Expedite Release of Responsive Documents . . Document filed by Documented NY..(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 07/24/2020)
2020-07-2525REPLY AFFIDAVIT of Ghita Schwarz in Opposition re: 19 FIRST MOTION to Expedite Release of Responsive Documents .. Document filed by Documented NY. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 2, # 2 Exhibit 3, # 3 Exhibit 4, # 4 Exhibit 5, # 5 Exhibit 6).(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 07/25/2020)
2020-07-2826ORDER denying 19 Letter Motion to Expedite. Accordingly, the Court denies Plaintiff's motion and adopts the Department of State's proposal to "work in good faith to achieve 300 pages per month of processing." Dkt. No. 22 at 14. It further sets September 11, 2020 as the deadline by which the Department of State must submit a status report with an updated proposal. The Court expects that by September, the Department of State will develop a clearer picture of both its overall processing capacities and the number of documents and pages that will need to be processed for this case. Indeed, it is imperative that the Department of State does so, given the delays in this matter. In its September status update, the Department of State should give a firm estimate as to the number of documents and pages that must be processed in this case and its updated processing proposal should put forth a firm, specific monthly rate that the Department of State believes is practicable. The update should also describe any processing or production commitments made by the Department of State or imposed upon it that are in force at the time of the update. Additionally, if the Department of State is unable to meet the 300-page processing rate for August, it should explain with specificity why and indicate whether it was able to meet that rate in other litigation cases. Plaintiff may renew its request for a processing order if it finds the Department of State's updated proposal to be inadequate. This resolves Dkt. No. 19. (Signed by Judge Alison J. Nathan on 7/28/2020) (rro) (Entered: 07/28/2020)
2020-09-1127STATUS REPORT. Document filed by United States Department of State. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Table summarizing State's obligations in other FOIA cases).(Aronoff, Peter) (Entered: 09/11/2020)
2020-09-1728SECOND LETTER MOTION to Expedite addressed to Judge Alison J. Nathan from Ghita Schwarz dated 09/17/2020. Document filed by Documented NY. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Defendant's First Production, # 2 Exhibit Sample SDNY Production Orders).(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 09/17/2020)
2020-09-1829ORDER: Defendants shall file a response to Plaintiff's second letter motion to expedite (Dkt. No. 28) by September 23, 2020. Plaintiff may file a reply by September 25, 2020. (Responses due by 9/23/2020, Replies due by 9/25/2020.) (Signed by Judge Alison J. Nathan on 9/18/2020) (cf) (Entered: 09/18/2020)
2020-09-2330LETTER RESPONSE in Opposition to Motion addressed to Judge Alison J. Nathan from Peter Aronoff dated 9/23/2020 re: 28 SECOND LETTER MOTION to Expedite addressed to Judge Alison J. Nathan from Ghita Schwarz dated 09/17/2020. . Document filed by United States Department of State..(Aronoff, Peter) (Entered: 09/23/2020)
2020-09-2331DECLARATION of Eric F. Stein in Opposition re: 28 SECOND LETTER MOTION to Expedite addressed to Judge Alison J. Nathan from Ghita Schwarz dated 09/17/2020.. Document filed by United States Department of State..(Aronoff, Peter) (Entered: 09/23/2020)
2020-09-2532LETTER REPLY to Response to Motion addressed to Judge Alison J. Nathan from Ghita Schwarz dated 09/25/2020 re: 28 SECOND LETTER MOTION to Expedite addressed to Judge Alison J. Nathan from Ghita Schwarz dated 09/17/2020. . Document filed by Documented NY..(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 09/25/2020)
2021-05-0633NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by Susan Elizabeth Welber on behalf of Documented NY..(Welber, Susan) (Entered: 05/06/2021)
2021-05-0634NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by Susan Elizabeth Welber on behalf of Documented NY..(Welber, Susan) (Entered: 05/06/2021)
2021-05-0635NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by Susan Elizabeth Welber on behalf of Documented NY..(Welber, Susan) (Entered: 05/06/2021)
2021-05-0636FIRST MOTION for Susan Joan Cameron to Withdraw as Attorney . Document filed by Documented NY..(Cameron, Susan) (Entered: 05/06/2021)
2021-05-1237MEMO ENDORSEMENT granting 36 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. ENDORSEMENT: SO ORDERED. (Attorney Susan Joan Cameron terminated.) (Signed by Judge Alison J. Nathan on 5/12/2021) (rro) (Entered: 05/12/2021)
2021-08-2638ORDER: On September 11, 2020, the Government filed a status update that stated its capability to process and produce records in response to Plaintiff's FOIA request was limited, in part, by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dkt. No. 27. Plaintiff filed on September 17, 2020, a motion to expedite the Government's production. Dkt. No. 28. The Government's response to that motion filed September 23, 2020, again indicated that its capabilities were limited by the pandemic. Dkt. No. 30. The Government shall file by September 3, 2021, a status update to indicate whether its production capabilities have since changed. Plaintiff shall file a response, if any, by September 7, 2021. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Alison J. Nathan on 8/26/2021) (rj) (Entered: 08/26/2021)
2021-09-0339STATUS REPORT. as directed by the Court's August 26 order Document filed by United States Department of State..(Aronoff, Peter) (Entered: 09/03/2021)
2021-09-0740LETTER addressed to Judge Alison J. Nathan from Ghita Schwarz dated September 7, 2021 re: Defendants' Status Report. Document filed by Documented NY..(Schwarz, Ghita) (Entered: 09/07/2021)
2021-09-1641MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: re: 28 SECOND LETTER MOTION to Expedite addressed to Judge Alison J. Nathan from Ghita Schwarz dated 09/17/2020 filed by Documented NY. For the reasons above, the Court DENIES IN PART Plaintiff's motion and orders State to process a minimum of 400 pages per month and produce relevant documents to Plaintiff each month. State's document production shall not extend past March 31, 2022, without consent of the Court. The parties are further ordered to jointly file a status update every other month that details: (1) State's processing rate, (2) State's efforts to improve its processing rate, (3) a specific explanation for State's failure, if any, to process at least 400 pages that month, and (4) the quantity of pages produced to Plaintiff. The first such update shall be filed by October 31, 2021. Additionally, Defendants shall produce an index as specified in Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F.2d 820 (D.C. Cir. 1973), by the earlier of October 8, 2021, or 21 days after the completion of production of documents to Plaintiff. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Alison J. Nathan on 9/16/2021) (ama) (Entered: 09/16/2021)
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