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Case TitleCODEBREAKER FILMS LLC v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION et al
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2020cv02776
Date Filed2020-09-30
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Tanya S. Chutkan
PlaintiffCODEBREAKER FILMS LLC
Case DescriptionCodebreaker Films, a documentary film production company, submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records concerning audio or video images related to the agency's investigation of Reality Winner. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request. The agency denied the request under Exemption 7(A) (interference with ongoing investigation or proceeding). Codebreaker Films filed an administrative appeal of the denial. The FBI then reversed its position, saying Exemption 7(A) was no longer applicable. The agency indicated that the request fell within the unusual circumstances exception and would take time to process. Codebreaker also submitted a Privacy Act waiver from Winner. After hearing nothing further from the agency, Codebreaker Films filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation - Attorney's fees, Adequacy - Search

DefendantFEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
DefendantUNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2020-09-301COMPLAINT against FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number ADCDC-7655827) filed by CODEBREAKER FILMS LLC. (Attachments: # 1 Summons, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet)(Townsend, KatieLynn) (Entered: 09/30/2020)
2020-09-302LCvR 26.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by CODEBREAKER FILMS LLC (Townsend, KatieLynn) (Entered: 09/30/2020)
2020-09-30Case Assigned to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan. (zmd) (Entered: 09/30/2020)
2020-09-303SUMMONS (4) Issued Electronically as to FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Notice and Consent) (zmd) (Entered: 09/30/2020)
2020-10-134RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION served on 10/13/2020; UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE served on 10/6/2020, RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 10/6/2020. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 11/5/2020.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 10/6/20. (Townsend, KatieLynn) (Entered: 10/13/2020)
2020-10-235NOTICE of Appearance by Kathleene A. Molen on behalf of All Defendants (Molen, Kathleene) (Entered: 10/23/2020)
2020-11-056ANSWER to Complaint by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.(Molen, Kathleene) (Entered: 11/05/2020)
2020-11-067NOTICE of Appearance by Adam Alexander Marshall on behalf of CODEBREAKER FILMS LLC (Marshall, Adam) (Entered: 11/06/2020)
2020-11-098NOTICE of Appearance by Gunita Singh on behalf of CODEBREAKER FILMS LLC (Singh, Gunita) (Entered: 11/09/2020)
2020-11-12MINUTE ORDER: Before the Court in this FOIA case are a complaint and an answer. The requirements of LCvR 16.3 and Rule 26(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil procedure appear to be inapplicable. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties shall meet and confer and propose a schedule for proceeding in this matter. The schedule shall address the status of Plaintiff's FOIA request, the anticipated number of documents responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA request, the anticipated date(s) for release of the documents requested by Plaintiff, whether a motion for an Open America stay is likely in this case, whether a Vaughn index will be required in this case, whether and when either party anticipates filing a dispositive motion, and any other pertinent issues. The parties shall file a joint status report that addresses these issues no later than 1/5/2021. The joint status report shall be accompanied by a proposed order. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 11/12/2020. (DJS) (Entered: 11/12/2020)
2020-11-16Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 1/5/2021. (tb) (Entered: 11/16/2020)
2021-01-059Joint STATUS REPORT by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Plaintiff, # 2 Text of Proposed Order Defendant)(Molen, Kathleene) (Entered: 01/05/2021)
2021-01-29MINUTE ORDER: A telephonic status conference is hereby scheduled for 02/10/2021 at 11:00 a.m. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 01/29/2021. (lcac) (Entered: 01/29/2021)
2021-02-01Set/Reset Hearings: Telephone Conference set for 2/10/2021 at 11:00 AM in Telephonic/VTC before Judge Tanya S. Chutkan. (tb) (Entered: 02/01/2021)
2021-02-10Minute Entry: Status Conference held on 2/10/2021 before Judge Tanya S. Chutkan: Parties discussed production of document issues. The Court orders that the FBI review the transcripts along with the audio files and by the end of the month the parties shall meet and confer and filed a joint status report by March 5, 2021. (Court Reporter Nancy Meyer) (tb) (Entered: 02/10/2021)
2021-02-10MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of the parties' January 5, 2021, Joint Status Report 9 , and the points raised in the February 10, 2021, telephonic status conference, the court hereby ORDERS Defendant FBI to process the two hours of prioritized audio files for production to Plaintiff no later than 9 a.m. on Monday, March 1, 2021. The court further ORDERS that the parties shall meet and confer, either in person or telephonically, following the production of these prioritized files and shall submit a Joint Status Report no later than March 5, 2021. The report shall be accompanied by a proposed order. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 02/10/2021. (lcac) (Entered: 02/10/2021)
2021-02-11Set/Reset Deadlines: FBI to process the two hours of prioritized audio files for production to Plaintiff by 3/1/2021. (tb) (Entered: 02/11/2021)
2021-02-2610TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS before Judge Tanya S. Chutkan held on 02/10/2021. Page Numbers: 1-17. Date of Issuance: 02/24/2021. Court Reporter: Nancy J. Meyer. Telephone Number: 202-354-3118. Transcripts may be ordered by submitting the Transcript Order Form For the first 90 days after this filing date, the transcript may be viewed at the courthouse at a public terminal or purchased from the court reporter referenced above. After 90 days, the transcript may be accessed via PACER. Other transcript formats, (multi-page, condensed, CD or ASCII) may be purchased from the court reporter. NOTICE RE REDACTION OF TRANSCRIPTS: The parties have 21 days to file with the court and the court reporter any request to redact personal identifiers from this transcript. If no such requests are filed, the transcript will be made available to the public via PACER without redaction after 90 days. The policy, which includes the five personal identifiers specifically covered, is located on our website at www.dcd.uscourts.gov. Redaction Request due 3/19/2021. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 3/29/2021. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 5/27/2021.(Meyer, Nancy) (Entered: 02/26/2021)
2021-03-0511Joint STATUS REPORT by FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Michael G. Seidel, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Molen, Kathleene) (Entered: 03/05/2021)
2021-03-17MINUTE ORDER: Having considered the parties' joint status report 11 , it is hereby ordered that the Defendant Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shall prioritize the processing of photos. The FBI shall make its next release of non-exempt information by 4/1/21. By 4/15/21, the parties shall meet, confer, and file a joint status report, accompanied by a proposed order. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 3/17/21. (DJS) (Entered: 03/17/2021)
2021-03-18Set/Reset Deadlines: Attorney Meet and Confer Conference due by 4/15/2021. Joint Status Report due by 4/15/2021. (tb) (Entered: 03/18/2021)
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