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Case TitleBUZZFEED INC. v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES et al
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2020cv02704
Date Filed2020-09-22
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Randolph D. Moss
PlaintiffBUZZFEED INC.
Case DescriptionBuzzFeed submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institute of Health for records concerning communications to Anthony Fauci pertaining to a project entitled Understanding the Risk of Bat Coronavirus Emergence. BuzzFeed also requested expedited processing. The agency acknowledged receipt of the requests. The agency granted expedited processing but denied the request under Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). BuzzFeed filed an administrative appeal. After hearing nothing further from the agency, BuzzFeed filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantU.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
DefendantNATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Complaint attachment 5
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2020-09-221COMPLAINT against NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number ADCDC-7624281) filed by BUZZFEED INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A-E, # 2 Exhibit F-J, # 3 Exhibit K-M, # 4 Civil Cover Sheet, # 5 Summons)(Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 09/22/2020)
2020-09-222NOTICE of Appearance by Matthew Topic on behalf of BUZZFEED INC. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 09/22/2020)
2020-09-223LCvR 26.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by BUZZFEED INC. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 09/22/2020)
2020-09-23Case Assigned to Judge Randolph D. Moss. (zsb) (Entered: 09/23/2020)
2020-09-244STANDING ORDER: The parties are hereby ORDERED to comply with the directives set forth in the attached Standing Order. See document for details. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 9/24/2020. (lcrdm2) (Entered: 09/24/2020)
2020-09-245SUMMONS (4) Issued Electronically as to NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachment: # 1 Notice and Consent)(adh, ) (Entered: 09/24/2020)
2020-10-266RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES served on 10/13/2020 (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 10/26/2020)
2020-10-267RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 10/13/2020. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 10/26/2020)
2020-10-268RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 10/13/2020. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 11/12/2020. (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 10/26/2020)
2020-11-129NOTICE of Appearance by James O. Bickford on behalf of NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (Bickford, James) (Entered: 11/12/2020)
2020-11-1210Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint, by NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Bickford, James) (Entered: 11/12/2020)
2020-11-13MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of Defendants' motion for extension of time to file their answer, Dkt. 10 , it is hereby ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED. Defendants shall answer or otherwise respond to the complaint on or before November 13, 2020. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 11/13/2020. (lcrdm2) (Entered: 11/13/2020)
2020-11-1311ANSWER to Complaint by NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.(Bickford, James) (Entered: 11/13/2020)
2020-11-16MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that, on or before December 8, 2020, the parties shall confer and file a joint status report addressing (1) any documents still to be produced pursuant to FOIA; (2) an anticipated schedule for processing and producing any such documents; and (3) any substantive areas of disagreement between the parties. It is further ORDERED that the parties shall appear telephonically for an Initial Scheduling Conference on December 15, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. The courtroom deputy clerk will provide the parties with the teleconference information. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 11/16/2020. (lcrdm2) (Entered: 11/16/2020)
2020-12-0812Joint STATUS REPORT by NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Bickford, James) (Entered: 12/08/2020)
2020-12-15Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Randolph D. Moss: Telephonic Initial Scheduling Conference held on 12/15/2020. Joint Status Report due by 1/15/2021. (Court Reporter: Jeff Hook.) (kt) (Entered: 12/15/2020)
2020-12-2213RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH served on 10/28/2020 (Topic, Matthew) (Entered: 12/22/2020)
2021-01-1514Joint STATUS REPORT by NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Bickford, James) (Entered: 01/15/2021)
2021-01-18MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the parties' joint status report, Dkt. 14 , it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a further joint status report on or before February 19, 2021. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 1/18/2021. (lcrdm2) (Entered: 01/18/2021)
2021-02-1915Joint STATUS REPORT by NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Bickford, James) (Entered: 02/19/2021)
2021-02-22MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the parties' joint status report, Dkt. 15 , it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a further joint status report on or before March 5, 2021. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 2/22/2021. (lcrdm2) (Entered: 02/22/2021)
2021-03-0516Joint STATUS REPORT by NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Bickford, James) (Entered: 03/05/2021)
2021-03-10MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the parties' joint status report, Dkt. 16 , it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a further joint status report on or before April 5, 2021. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 3/10/2021. (lcrdm2) (Entered: 03/10/2021)
2021-04-0517Joint STATUS REPORT by NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Bickford, James) (Entered: 04/05/2021)
2021-04-05MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the parties' joint status report, Dkt. 17 , it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a further joint status report on or before June 18, 2021. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 4/5/2021. (lcrdm2) (Entered: 04/05/2021)
2021-06-1718Joint STATUS REPORT by NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Bickford, James) (Entered: 06/17/2021)
2021-06-21MINUTE ORDER: Due to the termination of a family trust, Judge Moss's spouse will soon receive a distribution including stock in Comcast Corporation, which has a significant interest in Buzzfeed, Inc. This stock will be sold promptly after it is received to avoid any conflict of interest in this case and any other case. See Advisory Opinion No. 69, Committee on Codes of Conduct, Judicial Conference of the United States ("[D]isqualification is not required if the judge (or the judge's spouse or minor child) divests the interest that provides the grounds for the disqualification." (quoting Canon 3C(4))). If any party to this action would like further information regarding the distribution and disposition of the stock or would like to discuss the matter with the Court, counsel are directed to jointly contact the Deputy Clerk to schedule a telephonic status conference. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 06/21/2021. (lcrdm1) (Entered: 06/21/2021)
2021-07-1919Joint STATUS REPORT by NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Bickford, James) (Entered: 07/19/2021)
2021-07-28MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the parties' joint status report, Dkt. 18 , it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a further joint status report on or before August 24, 2021. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 7/28/2021. (lcrdm2) (Entered: 07/28/2021)
2021-08-17MINUTE ORDER: As a follow up to the Court's Order of June 21, 2021, the shares in Comcast Corporation were transferred to Judge Moss's spouse from the trust account on July 27, 2021, and were promptly sold on July 28, 2021. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 08/17/2021. (lcrdm2) (Entered: 08/17/2021)
2021-08-2420Joint STATUS REPORT by NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (Bickford, James) (Entered: 08/24/2021)
2021-08-24MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the parties' joint status report, Dkt. 20 , it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a further joint status report on or before September 24, 2021. Signed by Judge Randolph D. Moss on 08/24/2021. (lcrdm2) (Entered: 08/24/2021)
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by FOIA Project Staff
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