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Case TitleLEOPOLD et al v. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL et al
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2020cv00722
Date Filed2020-03-13
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
PlaintiffJASON LEOPOLD
PlaintiffBUZZFEED, INC.
Case DescriptionBuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold submitted FOIA requests to the Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Leopold's FOIA request to CDC asked for emails mentioning coronavirus. He also asked for expedited processing and a fee waiver. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request and told Leopold his request was too broad. Leopold filed an administrative appeal. The agency then agreed to conduct a search. CDC also granted Leopold's request for expedited processing. Leopold then narrowed the request but did not hear anything further from the agency. Leopold's FOIA request to FEMA asked for any contingency plans for coronavirus. Leopold also requested expedited processing. FEMA granted Leopold's request for expedited processing. Leopold narrowed his request to contingency plans in the possession of FEMA and emails pertaining to such plans. After hearing nothing further from either agency, Leopold filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantCENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL
DefendantCENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL
DefendantU.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
DefendantFEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
DefendantU.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
DefendantFOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
DefendantNATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Complaint attachment 5
Complaint attachment 6
Complaint attachment 7
Complaint attachment 8
Complaint attachment 9
Complaint attachment 10
Complaint attachment 11
Complaint attachment 12
Complaint attachment 13
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2020-03-131COMPLAINT against All Defendants ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number ADCDC-6918354) filed by JASON LEOPOLD, BUZZFEED, INC.. (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, # 12 Summons, # 13 Civil Cover Sheet)(Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 03/13/2020)
2020-03-132NOTICE of Appearance by Matthew Topic on behalf of BUZZFEED, INC., JASON LEOPOLD (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 03/13/2020)
2020-03-133LCvR 26.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by BUZZFEED, INC., JASON LEOPOLD (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 03/13/2020)
2020-03-16Case assigned to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. (zmc) (Entered: 03/16/2020)
2020-03-164SUMMONS (6) Issued Electronically as to CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachment: # 1 Notice and Consent)(zmc) (Entered: 03/16/2020)
2020-03-165ENTERED IN ERROR.....ERRATA Correcting the Defendant's Name in the Complaint to "CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION." by BUZZFEED, INC., JASON LEOPOLD. (Topic, Matthew) Modified on 3/16/2020 (jf). (Entered: 03/16/2020)
2020-03-166ERRATA Correcting the Defendant's Name in the Complaint to "CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION." by BUZZFEED, INC., JASON LEOPOLD. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 03/16/2020)
2020-03-16NOTICE OF CORRECTED DOCKET ENTRY: Document No. re 5 Errata was entered in error and refiled by counsel. (See Docket Entry [] to view document)(jf) (Entered: 03/16/2020)
2020-03-207ORDER ESTABLISHING PROCEDURES FOR CASES ASSIGNED TO JUDGE COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 03/20/20. (DM) (Entered: 03/20/2020)
2020-04-148AMENDED COMPLAINT against CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH filed by JASON LEOPOLD, BUZZFEED, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A-E, # 2 Exhibit F-J, # 3 Exhibit K-O, # 4 Exhibit P-T, # 5 Exhibit U-Y, # 6 Exhibit Z-CC, # 7 Summons)(Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 04/14/2020)
2020-04-179SUMMONS (2) Issued Electronically as to FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH. (Attachments: # 1 Summons)(ztd) (Entered: 04/17/2020)
2020-04-2910NOTICE of Appearance by Kevin Matthew Snell on behalf of All Defendants (Snell, Kevin) (Entered: 04/29/2020)
2020-04-2911ANSWER to 8 Amended Complaint, by CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (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)(Snell, Kevin) (Entered: 04/29/2020)
2020-04-3012ORDER requiring parties to file Joint Status Report by no later than MAY 28, 2020 . See Order for details. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on April 30, 2020. (lccck1) (Entered: 04/30/2020)
2020-04-3013WITHDRAWN PURSUANT TO MINUTE ORDER FILED 7/10/2020..... MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by BUZZFEED, INC., JASON LEOPOLD (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Leopold Declaration, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Topic, Matthew) Modified on 7/10/2020 (kt). (Entered: 04/30/2020)
2020-04-30Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Meet & Confer Statement due by 5/28/2020. (dot) (Entered: 04/30/2020)
2020-04-30MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received Plaintiffs' 13 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. The Court has scheduled a teleconference for tomorrow, MAY 1, 2020 at 10:00 AM, to discuss a briefing schedule for this Motion. Information about how to access the teleconference will be emailed to counsel. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on April 30, 2020. (lccck1) (Entered: 04/30/2020)
2020-04-3014NOTICE of Appearance by Elizabeth J. Shapiro on behalf of All Defendants (Shapiro, Elizabeth) (Entered: 04/30/2020)
2020-04-30Set/Reset Hearings: Telephone Conference on the record set for 5/1/2020 at 10:00 AM via Telephonic before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. (dot) (Entered: 04/30/2020)
2020-05-01MINUTE ORDER: The Court held a teleconference in this matter on May 1, 2020. During the teleconference, the Court discussed with the parties the current status of Plaintiff's FOIA requests and a schedule for further proceedings in relation to the 13 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. To begin with, counsel for Plaintiff agreed to send a list outlining Plaintiff's priorities among the FOIA requests at issue in this case by end of day MAY 1, 2020. Counsel for Defendants also agreed to discuss, to the extent possible, the current status of the FOIA requests, whether the requests are duplicative of other FOIA requests in the expedited queue, and potential timelines for production with the agency Defendants. Counsel for Defendants agreed to send an email to Chambers by no later than 4:00 PM on MAY 6, 2020 with updates regarding the placement of Plaintiff's FOIA requests in the expedited request queue for each agency. The information in the email will be put on the record at a later point. The parties further agreed to meet and confer regarding clarification and/or potential narrowing of certain of Plaintiff's FOIA requests and other matters as appropriate. Accordingly, the Court set a further teleconference for next Friday MAY 8, 2020 at 10:00 AM to discuss the results of the parties' efforts and to set a schedule for further proceedings. In the meantime, the Court HOLDS IN ABEYANCE Plaintiff's 13 Motion for Preliminary Injunction, to which Plaintiff consented. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on May 1, 2020. (lccck1) (Entered: 05/01/2020)
2020-05-01Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly: Telephone Conference on the record held on 5/1/2020. Status Conference set for 5/8/2020 at 10:00 AM via Telephonic before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. (Court Reporter Lisa Edwards.) (dot) (Entered: 05/01/2020)
2020-05-08Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly: Telephone Conference on the record held on 5/8/2020. The Preliminary Injunction is held in abeyance. Joint Status Report due by 5/19/2020. Telephone Conference set for 5/21/2020 at 10:00 AM via Telephonic before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. (Court Reporter Lisa Edwards.) (dot) (Entered: 05/08/2020)
2020-05-11MINUTE ORDER. The Court held a teleconference in this matter on May 8, 2020 to discuss Defendants' response to Plaintiff's FOIA request. Defendants are still in the process of determining how many documents are responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA request. The parties are ORDERED to file a Joint Status Report on MAY 19, 2020 informing the Court on Defendants' progress in responding to Plaintiff's FOIA request. The Court further sets a teleconference in this matter for MAY 21, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in order to discuss any remaining issues. Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction continues to be held in abeyance. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on 5-11-2020. (lcckk3) (Entered: 05/11/2020)
2020-05-1915Joint STATUS REPORT by CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Snell, Kevin) (Entered: 05/19/2020)
2020-05-20MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received the parties' 15 Joint Status Report, in which the parties indicate the status of Plaintiffs' FOIA requests. The parties further indicate their belief that, in light of their ongoing discussions, the May 21, 2020 status hearing is currently unnecessary. Accordingly, upon consideration of the Joint Status Report, the Court ADOPTS the parties' suggestion and VACATES the May 21, 2020 status hearing in this matter. The Court FURTHER VACATES the May 28, 2020 deadline for the parties to file a joint status report set in the Court's 12 Order. Instead, the parties shall submit a joint status report with updates on the status of the FOIA requests at issue by no later than JUNE 5, 2020 . The Court also schedules a telephone status conference for JUNE 9, 2020 at 10:00 AM . In the meantime, the Court continues to hold Plaintiff's 13 Motion for a Preliminary Injunction in abeyance. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on May 20, 2020. (lccck1) (Entered: 05/20/2020)
2020-05-20Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Joint Status Report due by 6/5/2020. Status Conference set for 6/9/2020 at 10:00 AM via Telephonic before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. (dot) (Entered: 05/20/2020)
2020-06-0516Joint STATUS REPORT by CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Snell, Kevin) (Entered: 06/05/2020)
2020-06-05MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received the parties' 16 Joint Status Report, in which the parties indicate the status of Plaintiffs' FOIA requests. The parties further indicate their belief that, in light of their ongoing discussions, the June 9, 2020 status hearing is currently unnecessary. Accordingly, upon consideration of the Joint Status Report, the Court ADOPTS the parties' suggestion and VACATES the June 9, 2020 status hearing in this matter. The Court further ADOPTS the parties' suggestion that they submit a further Joint Status Report with updates on the status of the FOIA requests at issue by no later than JULY 9, 2020 . In the meantime, with the parties' consent, the Court continues to hold Plaintiff's 13 Motion for a Preliminary Injunction in abeyance. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on June 5, 2020. (lccck1) (Entered: 06/05/2020)
2020-06-1717RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL served on 4/28/2020 (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 06/17/2020)
2020-06-1718RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY served on 4/29/2020 (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 06/17/2020)
2020-06-1719RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY served on 4/27/2020 (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 06/17/2020)
2020-06-1720RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES served on 4/28/2020 (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 06/17/2020)
2020-06-1721RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 4/29/2020. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 06/17/2020)
2020-06-1722RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 4/29/2020. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 5/29/2020. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 06/17/2020)
2020-07-0923Joint STATUS REPORT by CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Snell, Kevin) (Entered: 07/09/2020)
2020-07-10MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received the parties' 23 Joint Status Report, in which the parties indicate the status of Plaintiffs' FOIA requests. Plaintiffs also indicate that in light of the progress made and ongoing cooperation from Defendants, they withdraw their 13 Motion for a Preliminary Injunction as Moot. Accordingly, that Motion is WITHDRAWN. The Court further adopts the parties' suggestion that they submit a further Joint Status Report with updates on the status of the FOIA requests at issue by no later than SEPTEMBER 9, 2020 . Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on July 10, 2020. (lccck1) (Entered: 07/10/2020)
2020-07-10Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 9/9/2020. (kt) (Entered: 07/10/2020)
2020-07-2124RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION served on 6/18/2020 (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 07/21/2020)
2020-09-0925Joint STATUS REPORT by CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Snell, Kevin) (Entered: 09/09/2020)
2020-09-1026MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received the parties' 25 Joint Status Report. The Court notes that Defendants are respectively in the stages of responding to Plaintiffs' document requests and processing responsive documents. The parties shall submit another report by or before NOVEMBER 9, 2020, to update the Court on the status of these outstanding requests and any other related issues. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on September 10, 2020. (lcckk1) (Entered: 09/10/2020)
2020-09-10Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 11/9/2020, to update the Court on the status of these outstanding requests and any other related issues. (dot) (Entered: 09/10/2020)
2020-11-0927Joint STATUS REPORT by CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Snell, Kevin) (Entered: 11/09/2020)
2020-11-09MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received the parties' 27 Joint Status Report. Therein, the parties note that document production and review remains ongoing in this action. As proposed, the parties shall submit another joint status report by or before JANUARY 14, 2021. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on November 9, 2020. (lcckk1) (Entered: 11/09/2020)
2020-11-09Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 1/4/2021. (dot) (Entered: 11/09/2020)
2021-01-1428Joint STATUS REPORT by CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Snell, Kevin) (Entered: 01/14/2021)
2021-01-15MINUTE ORDER: The Court has received the parties' 28 Joint Status Report. As proposed therein, the parties shall file a further joint status report on or before April 14, 2021. The parties shall then continue to file joint status reports every 60 days thereafter, until further order from the Court. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly on January 15, 2021 (lcckk1) (Entered: 01/15/2021)
2021-01-15Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 4/14/2021, and every 60 days thereafter, until further order from the Court. (dot) (Entered: 01/15/2021)
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