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Case TitlePROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC. et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2017cv01728
Date Filed2017-08-24
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Emmet G. Sullivan
PlaintiffPROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC.
PlaintiffRYAN NOAH SHAPIRO
Case DescriptionProperty of the People and researcher Ryan Shapiro submitted FOIA requests to the FBI for records concerning Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. Property of the People and Shapiro also requested inclusion in the news media/educational institution fee category. The FBI denied their request for inclusion in the news media/educational institution category. Property of the People and Shapiro filed an administrative appeal with the Office of Information Policy. OIP acknowledged receipt of the appeal, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Property of the People and Shapiro filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantDEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
DefendantUS DEPT OF JUSTICE
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Opinion/Order [35]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Emmet Sullivan has ruled that the FBI must process a request from Property of the People for records concerning the FBI's allegation that the Russians were attempting to recruit then Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) as an agent of influence because Rohrabacher had publicly acknowledged the FBI's allegation. In May 2017, the New York Times published an article indicating that in 2012 the FBI told Rohrabacher that the Russians were trying to recruit him. The article also included an interview with Rohrabacher in which he confirmed the FBI meeting. As a result, Property of the People requested FBI records on Rohrabacher. The agency issued a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of records. Subsequently, the FBI modified its Glomar response by acknowledging that Rohrabacher had waived his privacy interests by making a public statement about the 2012 meeting and conducted a search for those records. The FBI disclosed 260 records, redacting or withholding records under Exemption 3 (other statues), Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy), and Exemption 7 (law enforcement records). After litigation had begun, Property of the People found out that Rohrabacher had also attended a 2013 meeting about Ukraine held in the District of Columbia with lobbyist Paul Manafort. As a result of the Manafort connection, the FBI also contacted the Special Counsel's Office, which told the FBI it had no responsive records. The FBI agreed to search for records about that incident and finally completed its response to Property of the People's request by disclosing records associated with Rohrabacher's official duties as a U.S. congressman. Property of the People challenged the adequacy of the agency's search, including its decision to use a certain cut-off date, the continued use of a Glomar response to limit its search, the use of Exemption 7(C) (invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records), including Property of the People's claim that the names of some individuals had been officially acknowledged. Sullivan found that Rohrabacher had more than a de minimis privacy interest in protecting the records. But Sullivan pointed out that "Plaintiffs seek the FBI's records concerning Congressman Rohrabacher to discover 'how the FBI handled the issue of threats posed by Russian intelligence in the U.S. political system.'" Sullivan indicated that "the Court cannot balance the competing interests at this level of generality." To shed further light on the balance, he ordered the FBI to provide a more detailed Vaughn index in order to ascertain more specifically what kinds of records the FBI had pertaining to Rohrabacher. Property of the People argued that the FBI had not adequately explained why it used a shorter cut-off date for its searches. Sullivan agreed, noting that "the FBI failed to notify Plaintiffs of the July 15, 2017 cutoff date until it filed its memorandum in opposition to Plaintiffs' cross-motion for summary judgment." He added that "the Court expresses no view on the propriety of the FBI's practice of employing cutoff dates, but the FBI's failure to give Plaintiffs advance notice of the cutoff date was inconsistent with D.C. Circuit precedent." Property of the People also challenged DOJ's failure to search the Office of General Counsel as well as the Office of Congressional Affairs. DOJ argued there was no evidence that OGC would have responsive records. Sullivan sided with Property of the People, noting that 'Plaintiffs correctly point out �" and DOJ does not contest �" that the older version of the FBI's policy clearly states that the Office of General Counsel responded to Congressional requests for FBI documents. Because Congressman Rohrabacher began his service in the House in 1989, it is reasonable to expect that the Office of General Counsel would have responded to requests from Congressman Rohrabacher under the older version of the FBI's policy. DOJ argues �" and the FBI's declarations do not aver �" that the Office of General Counsel would have no responsive records." Resolving the remaining issues, Sullivan agreed that the FBI had not provided enough detail to show that some aspects of its searches were adequate. He also rejected Property of the People's argument that the agency had not shown that its affiants had sufficient personal knowledge of the searches under Rule 56(c)(4).
Issues: Determination - Glomar response, Adequacy - Search
Opinion/Order [43]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Emmet Sullivan has ruled that the FBI properly issued a Glomar response neither confirming nor denying the existence of records about whether or not former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) was being recruited by Russia as an agent of influence. Property of the People and researcher Ryan Shapiro submitted a FOIA request to the FBI for records on Rohrabacher, after Rohrabacher confirmed a report in the New York Times that he had met with agency officials in 2012 about the claim that Russians considered him an agent of influence. At that time, the agency concluded that Rohrabacher had waived his privacy rights as to that meeting and conducted a search. The FBI disclosed 230 responsive pages and later released an additional 29 pages. While the litigation was ongoing, Property of the People subsequently learned that Rohrabacher had met with Paul Manafort and a lobbyist from Company A in 2013 pertaining to Ukraine. Rohrabacher confirmed that meeting as well. In an earlier opinion in the case, Sullivan had found that the FBI's assertions were too vague and ordered it to provide a more detailed Vaughn index. After weighing the competing interests in disclosure or non-disclosure, Sullivan concluded that the balance here weighed against disclosure. Sullivan started by noting that "it is significant to this analysis that Congressman Rohrabacher has not publicly confirmed that he was the subject of an investigation outside of the two meetings. The D.C. Circuit has 'consistently held that Exemption 7(C) authorizes Glomar responses to comparable FOIA requests seeking information about particular individuals' when the subject of an investigation has not acknowledged that the investigation occurred." Property of the People argued that Rohrabacher's waived his privacy by confirming that the meetings took place. But Sullivan indicated that "these statements, however, do not diminish Congressman Rohrabacher's privacy interests in the broad manner that plaintiffs assert. While his privacy interest in the 2012 and 2013 meetings 'evaporated' once he publicly acknowledged his involvement, his statements do not disclose that he was ever the target of an FBI investigation outside of his association with the two events. Despite his statements to the media, Mr. Rohrabacher therefore has more than a de minimis privacy interest in the existence of any FBI investigative records outside of the two meetings he has publicly acknowledged."
Issues: Determination - Glomar response, Exemption 7(C) - Invasion of privacy concerning law enforcement records
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2017-08-241COMPLAINT against DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-5088739) filed by PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC., RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Attachments: # 1 Summons, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 08/24/2017)
2017-08-242LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC. (Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 08/24/2017)
2017-08-25Case Assigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. (zsb) (Entered: 08/25/2017)
2017-08-253SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachment: # 1 Consent Form)(zsb) (Entered: 08/25/2017)
2017-08-254STANDING ORDER: The parties are directed to read the attached Standing Order Governing Civil Cases Before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in its entirety upon receipt. The parties are hereby ORDERED to comply with the directives in the attached Standing Order. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 08/25/17. (Attachment: # 1 Exhibit 1) (mac) (Entered: 08/25/2017)
2017-08-255AMENDED COMPLAINT against DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE filed by PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC., RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO.(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 08/25/2017)
2017-09-286RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE served on 9/6/2017, RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 09/06/2017., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 9/6/2017. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 10/6/2017.) (Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 09/28/2017)
2017-10-057Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 5 Amended Complaint by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 10/05/2017)
2017-10-06MINUTE ORDER granting 7 consent motion for extension of time to file answer to amended complaint. It is therefore ordered that defendant shall file its answer or other response by October 11, 2017. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 10/6/2017. (lcegs3) (Entered: 10/06/2017)
2017-10-06Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Answer or other response to amended complaint due by 10/11/2017. (zcdw) (Entered: 10/07/2017)
2017-10-118ANSWER to 5 Amended Complaint by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. Related document: 5 Amended Complaint filed by PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC., RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO.(Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 10/11/2017)
2017-12-05MINUTE ORDER. Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552. The parties are directed to meet and confer and propose a joint scheduling order for further proceedings in this case by no later than January 5, 2018. The parties' joint proposed scheduling order shall address the following: (1) The status of plaintiff's FOIA request; (2) The anticipated number of documents responsive to plaintiff's FOIA request; (3) The anticipated date(s) for release of documents responsive to plaintiff's FOIA request; (4) Whether a motion for an Open America stay is likely in this case; (5) Whether a Vaughn index will be required in this case; (6) Whether this case would benefit from referral to a magistrate judge or the District Court Mediation Program for purposes of settlement; and (7) A proposed briefing schedule for dispositive motions, if applicable. If the parties are unable to agree on a joint recommendation, the joint proposed scheduling order shall include each party's individual recommendations. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 12/5/2017. (lcegs3) (Entered: 12/05/2017)
2017-12-05Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Scheduling Order due by 1/5/2018. (mac) (Entered: 12/05/2017)
2018-01-059Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 01/05/2018)
2018-01-09MINUTE ORDER in view of 9 joint status report, it is hereby ordered that the parties shall adhere to the following schedule: defendant shall process and release, to the extent appropriate under FOIA, all requested records by January 31, 2018; defendant shall complete its records search and release any appropriate additional records by March 30, 2018; defendant's summary judgment motion shall be filed by April 30, 2018; plaintiffs' opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by May 31, 2018; defendant's reply memorandum in support of its motion and opposition memorandum shall be filed by June 29, 2018; plaintiffs' reply memorandum in support of its cross-motion shall be filed by July 16, 2018. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 1/9/2018. (lcegs3) (Entered: 01/09/2018)
2018-01-09Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Summary Judgment Motion due by 4/30/2018. Plaintiffs' Opposition And Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment due by 5/31/2018. Defendant's Reply Memorandum In Support Of Its Motion And Opposition Memorandum due by 6/29/2018. Plaintiffs' Reply Memorandum In Support OF Its Cross-Motion due by 7/16/2018. (mac) (Entered: 01/09/2018)
2018-04-3010Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 04/30/2018)
2018-05-02MINUTE ORDER granting 10 defendant's consent motion for an extension of time to file its motion for summary judgment. It is therefore ordered that the parties shall adhere to the following revised schedule: defendants summary judgment motion shall be filed by May 7, 2018; plaintiffs opposition to that motion and plaintiffs cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by June 7, 2018; defendants reply memorandum in support of its motion and opposition to plaintiffs cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by July 6, 2018; and plaintiffs reply memorandum in support of its cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by July 23, 2018. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 5/2/2018. (lcegs3) (Entered: 05/02/2018)
2018-05-02Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendants Summary Judgment Motion due by 5/7/2018. Plaintiff Opposition To Summary Judgment Motion And Plaintiffs Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 6/7/2018. Defendants Reply Memorandum In Support Of Its Motion And Opposition To Plaintiffs Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 7/6/2018. Plaintiffs Reply Memorandum in Support Of Its Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 7/23/2018. (mac) (Entered: 05/02/2018)
2018-05-0711Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 05/07/2018)
2018-05-1412Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 05/14/2018)
2018-05-16MINUTE ORDER granting 12 defendant's consent motion for a further extension of time to file its motion for summary judgment. The defendant shall therefore file its summary judgment motion by May 16, 2018; plaintiffs opposition to that motion and plaintiffs cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by June 18, 2018; defendants reply in support of its motion and in opposition to plaintiffs cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by July 16, 2018; and plaintiffs reply in support of its cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by August 1, 2018. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 5/16/2018. (lcegs3) (Entered: 05/16/2018)
2018-05-16Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant Summary Judgment Motion due by 5/16/2018. Plaintiff Opposition To Defendant's Summary Judgment And Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 6/18/2018. Defendants Reply In Support Of Its Motion And In Opposition To Plaintiffs Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 7/16/2018. Plaintiffs Reply In Support OF Its Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 8/1/2018. (mac) (Entered: 05/16/2018)
2018-05-1613Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 05/16/2018)
2018-05-2114Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 05/21/2018)
2018-05-22MINUTE ORDER granting 14 defendant's consent motion for extension of time to file defendant's motion for summary judgment. The government shall therefore file its motion for summary judgment by May 22, 2018; plaintiff shall file its opposition to that motion and its cross-motion for summary judgment by no later than June 26, 2018; defendant's reply memorandum and opposition shall be filed by July 24, 2018; and plaintiff's reply memorandum shall be filed by August 7, 2018. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 5/22/2018. (lcegs3) (Entered: 05/22/2018)
2018-05-2215WITHDRAWN PURSUANT TO ENTRY 15 .....MOTION for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Hardy Declaration)(Haynes, Fred) Modified on 9/10/2018 (zjf). (Entered: 05/22/2018)
2018-05-23Set/Reset Deadlines: Plaintiffs' opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross-Motion due by 6/26/2018. Defendant's reply in support of its Motion for Summary Judgment and opposition to Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion due by 7/24/2018. Plaintiffs' reply in support of its Cross-Motion due by 8/7/2018. (hmc) (Entered: 05/23/2018)
2018-06-2616Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC., RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 06/26/2018)
2018-06-2617Memorandum in opposition to re 15 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC., RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Exhibit, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 06/26/2018)
2018-07-2118Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Oppositon to Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Its Reply Memorandum in Support of Its Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 07/21/2018)
2018-07-24MINUTE ORDER granting 18 defendant's consent motion for an extension to file to file opposition. The defendant shall therefore file its memorandum in opposition to plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment and reply memorandum in support of its motion for summary judgment by no later than September 6, 2018. Plaintiff's reply memorandum shall be filed by September 27, 2018. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 7/24/2018. (lcegs3) (Entered: 07/24/2018)
2018-07-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant Memorandum In Opposition To Plaintiff's Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment And Reply Memorandum In Support Of Its Motion For Summary Judgment due by 9/6/2018. Plaintiff's Reply Memorandum due by 9/27/2018. (mac) (Entered: 07/24/2018)
2018-09-0619WITHDRAWAL of Motion by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE re 15 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE . (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 09/06/2018)
2018-09-10MINUTE ORDER in view of 19 notice of withdrawal of motion for summary judgment, the parties' motions for summary judgment are hereby withdrawn. The defendant is directed to submit a status report by no later than October 9, 2018 advising the Court as to its search efforts and proposing a schedule for further proceedings. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 9/10/2018. (lcegs3) (Entered: 09/10/2018)
2018-10-0920Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 10/09/2018)
2018-10-11MINUTE ORDER in view of 20 joint status report, the parties shall adhere to the following summary judgment briefing schedule: defendant's summary judgment motion shall be filed by November 26, 2018; plaintiff's opposition to that motion and plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by December 17, 2018; defendant's reply memorandum in support of its motion and opposition to plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by January 18, 2019; and plaintiff's reply memorandum in support of its cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by February 4, 2019. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 10/11/2018. (lcegs3) (Entered: 10/11/2018)
2018-10-12Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Summary Judgment Motion due by 11/26/2018. Plaintiff's Opposition To Motion And Plaintiff's Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 12/17/2018. Defendant's Reply Memorandum In Support Of Its Motion And Opposition To Plaintiff's Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 1/18/2019. Plaintiff's Reply Memorandum In Support Of Its Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 2/4/2019. (mac) (Entered: 10/12/2018)
2018-11-2621Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 11/26/2018)
2018-11-28MINUTE ORDER granting 21 defendant's consent motion for extension of time. The defendant's renewed summary judgment motion shall therefore be filed by December 3, 2018. The plaintiff's opposition to that motion and plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by January 3, 2019; defendant's reply memorandum in support of its motion and opposition to plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by January 31, 2019; and plaintiff's reply memorandum in support of its cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by February 21, 2019. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 11/28/2018. (lcegs3) (Entered: 11/28/2018)
2018-11-29Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Renewed Summary Judgment Motion due by 12/3/2018. Plaintiff's Opposition And Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 1/3/2019. Defendant's Reply Memorandum In Support Of Motion And Opposition To Plaintiff's Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 1/31/2019. Plaintiff's Reply Memorandum In Support Of Its Cross Motion For Summary Judgment due by 2/21/2019. (mac) (Entered: 11/29/2018)
2018-12-0322Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 12/03/2018)
2018-12-06MINUTE ORDER granting 22 defendant's consent motion for extension of time to file defendant's renewed motion for summary judgment. Defendant shall therefore file its renewed motion by no later than December 7, 2018. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 12/6/2018. (lcegs3) (Entered: 12/06/2018)
2018-12-07Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant Renewed Motion For Summary Judgment due by 12/7/2018. (mac) (Entered: 12/07/2018)
2018-12-1023Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 12/10/2018)
2018-12-11MINUTE ORDER granting 23 defendant's consent motion for extension of time to file its renewed motion for summary judgment. The defendant shall therefore file its renewed motion for summary judgment by no later than December 12, 2018. The Court sua sponte extends the rest of the briefing schedule, in light of the two extensions granted since issuing its scheduling order on November 28, 2018. The plaintiff's opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed by January 14, 2019. The defendant's opposition and reply shall be filed by February 14, 2019. The plaintiff's reply shall be filed by March 7, 2019. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 12/11/2018. (lcegs3) (Entered: 12/11/2018)
2018-12-12Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant Renewed Motion For Summary Judgment due by 12/12/2018. Plaintiff's Opposition And Cross-Motion For Summary Judgment due by 1/14/2019. Defendant's Opposition And Reply due by 2/14/2019. Plaintiff's Reply due by 3/7/2019. (mac) (Entered: 12/12/2018)
2018-12-1324Second MOTION for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Seidel Declarsation)(Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 12/13/2018)
2019-01-1525Memorandum in opposition to re 24 Second MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC., RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Exhibit Index, # 3 Exhibit 1-14, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 01/15/2019)
2019-01-1526Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC., RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Exhibit Index, # 3 Exhibit 1-14, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 01/15/2019)
2019-02-1427Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 26 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment and to File a Reply Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 02/14/2019)
2019-02-15MINUTE ORDER granting 27 Defendant's Consent Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 26 Cross Motion for Summary Judgment and to File a Reply Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment. The parties are directed to adhere to the following revised schedule:(1) Defendant shall file its reply memorandum in support of its renewed summary judgment motion and its opposition to Plaintiffs' second motion for summary judgment by no later than March 15, 2019; and (2) Plaintiffs shall file their reply memorandum in support of their second motion for summary judgment by no later than April 8, 2019. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 2/15/2019. (lcegs3) (Entered: 02/15/2019)
2019-02-19Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant Reply Memorandum In Support Of Its Renewed Summary Judgment Motion And Its Opposition To Plaintiffs' Second Motion For Summary Judgment due by 3/15/2019. Plaintiffs Reply Memorandum In Support Of Their Second Motion For Summary Judgment due by 4/8/2019. (mac) (Entered: 02/19/2019)
2019-03-1528Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's Second Motion for Summary Judgment and Defendant's Reply Memorandum in Support of Its Seconfd Motion for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 03/15/2019)
2019-03-18MINUTE ORDER granting 28 Consent Motion for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's Second Motion for Summary Judgment and Defendant's Reply Memorandum in Support of Its Second Motion for Summary Judgment. The parties shall adhere to the following revised schedule: (1) Defendant shall file its Reply Memorandum in support of its Renewed Summary Judgment Motion and its Opposition to Plaintiffs second Motion for Summary Judgment by no later than March 25, 2019; and (2) Plaintiffs shall file their Reply Memorandum in support of their second Motion for Summary Judgment by no later than April 18, 2019. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 3/18/2019. (lcegs3) (Entered: 03/18/2019)
2019-03-18Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant's Reply Memorandum In Support Of Its Renewed Summary Judgment Motion And Its Opposition To Plaintiffs Second Motion For Summary Judgment due by 3/25/2019. Plaintiffs Reply Memorandum In Support Of Their Second Motion For Summary Judgment due by 4/18/2019. (mac) (Entered: 03/18/2019)
2019-03-2529Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Defendant's Reply Memorandum in Support of Its Summary Judgment Motion by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 03/25/2019)
2019-03-26MINUTE ORDER granting 29 Defendant's Consent Motion for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Defendant's Reply Memorandum in Support of Its Summary Judgment Motion. The parties shall adhere to the following revised schedule: (1) Defendant shall file its reply memorandum in support of its renewed summary judgment motion and its opposition to Plaintiffs' second motion for summary judgment by no later than March 27, 2019; and (2) Plaintiffs shall file their reply memorandum in support of their second motion for summary judgment by no later than April 22, 2019. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 3/26/2019. (lcegs3) (Entered: 03/26/2019)
2019-03-27Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant Reply Memorandum In Support Of Its Renewed Summary Judgment Motion And Its Opposition To Plaintiffs' Second Motion For Summary Judgment due by 3/27/2019. Plaintiff Reply Memorandum In Support Of Their Second Motion For Summary Judgment due by 4/22/2019. (mac) (Entered: 03/27/2019)
2019-03-2730Memorandum in opposition to re 26 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A Second Declaration of David Hardy with Exhibit)(Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 03/27/2019)
2019-03-2731REPLY to opposition to motion re 24 Second MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Haynes, Fred) (Entered: 03/27/2019)
2019-04-1832REPLY to opposition to motion re 26 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC., RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 04/18/2019)
2019-07-0233NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Kenneth A. Adebonojo on behalf of DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Substituting for attorney Fred Elmore Haynes (Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 07/02/2019)
2019-09-2434ORDER granting in part and denying in part 24 Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment; granting in part, denying in part, and holding in abeyance in part 26 Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. It is FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant shall submit amended declarations or affidavits as to the adequacy of the FBI's searches consistent with the Memorandum Opinion by no later than October 24, 2019. It is FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant shall submit a Vaughn index that identifies each document or group of documents for its withholdings under Exemptions 6 and 7(C) consistent with the Memorandum Opinion by no later than November 25, 2019. It is FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant shall submit an amended declaration that addresses the balance between the privacy and public interests in light of the FBI's partial Glomar response consistent with the Memorandum Opinion by no later than November 25, 2019. It is FURTHER ORDERED that the issues of segregability and the applicability of the "official acknowledgement" doctrine with respect to the redactions in Bates-stamped pages 15, 175, 185, 186, 190, 197, and 221 are DEFERRED until further Order of this Court. It is FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall submit a joint status report with a recommendation for further proceedings by no later than December 23, 2019. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 9/24/2019. (lcegs3) (Entered: 09/24/2019)
2019-09-2435MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 9/24/2019. (lcegs3) (Entered: 09/24/2019)
2019-09-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant Amended Declarations Or Affidavits As To The Adequacy Of The FBI's Searches due by 10/24/2019. Defendant Vaughn Index due by 11/25/2019, Defendant Amended Declaration That Addresses The Balance Between The Privacy And Public Interests In Light Of The FBI's Partial Glomar Response Consistent With The Memorandum Opinion due by 11/25/2019. Joint Status Report due by 12/23/2019. (mac) (Entered: 09/24/2019)
2019-10-2236Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Amended Declarations and Vaughn Index by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 10/22/2019)
2019-10-24MINUTE ORDER granting 36 Consent Motion for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Amended Declarations and Vaughn Index. Defendant shall file the amended declarations by no later than November 24, 2019. Defendant shall file the Vaughn index by no later than December 24, 2019. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 10/24/2019. (lcegs3) (Entered: 10/24/2019)
2019-10-24Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant Amended Declarations due by 11/24/2019. Defendant Vaughn Index due by 12/24/2019. (mac) (Entered: 10/24/2019)
2019-11-2537NOTICE of Filing of Third Declaration of David M. Hardy, Esq. by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 11/25/2019)
2019-12-2438Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Defendants' Vaughn Index by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 12/24/2019)
2019-12-26MINUTE ORDER granting 38 Consent Motion for Extension of Time to File Defendant's Vaughn Index. Defendant shall file the Vaughn index by no later than January 10, 2020. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 12/26/2019. (lcegs3) (Entered: 12/26/2019)
2019-12-26Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Vaughn Index due by 1/10/2020. (zcdw) (Entered: 12/26/2019)
2020-01-1039MOTION for Reconsideration re 34 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment,,,,,,,,,,, 35 Memorandum & Opinion by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support)(Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 01/10/2020)
2020-01-1540Memorandum in opposition to re 39 MOTION for Reconsideration re 34 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment,,,,,,,,,,, 35 Memorandum & Opinion filed by PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC., RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 01/15/2020)
2020-01-23MINUTE ORDER denying without prejudice 39 Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration re 34 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment for failure to comply with Local Civil Rule 7(m). See LCvR 7(m) ("Before filing any nondispositive motion in a civil action, counsel shall discuss the anticipated motion with opposing counsel in a good-faith effort to determine whether there is any opposition to the relief sought and, if there is, to narrow the areas of disagreement.... A party shall include in its motion a statement that the required discussion occurred, and a statement as to whether the motion is opposed."). Defendant is reminded to comply with this Court's Standing Order and the Local Civil Rules. See Standing Order, ECF No. 4 at 1. The parties shall file a joint status report with a recommendation for further proceedings by no later than February 12, 2020. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 1/23/2020. (lcegs3) (Entered: 01/23/2020)
2020-01-23Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 2/12/2020. (mac) (Entered: 01/23/2020)
2020-01-2941Joint MOTION for Order by PROPERTY OF THE PEOPLE, INC., RYAN NOAH SHAPIRO (Light, Jeffrey) (Entered: 01/29/2020)
2020-01-30MINUTE ORDER granting 41 Joint Motion for Order. The Court will issue a ruling on the Glomar issue on the present record. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 1/30/2020. (lcegs3) (Entered: 01/30/2020)
2021-12-2342ORDER denying 26 Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment as to the Glomar issue. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 12/23/2021. (lcegs3) (Entered: 12/23/2021)
2021-12-2343MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 12/23/2021. (lcegs3) (Entered: 12/23/2021)
2021-12-23MINUTE ORDER. In view of 42 Order, the parties are directed to file a joint status report with a recommendation for further proceedings, including a recommendation regarding any remaining disputes, by no later than January 13, 2022. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 12/23/2021. (lcegs3) (Entered: 12/23/2021)
2021-12-23Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 1/13/2022 (mac) (Entered: 12/23/2021)
2022-01-1344Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File the Parties' Joint Status Report by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 01/13/2022)
2022-01-19MINUTE ORDER granting 44 consent motion for extension of time to file joint status report. The parties shall file their joint status report by no later than January 31, 2022. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 1/19/2022. (lcegs3) (Entered: 01/19/2022)
2022-01-20Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 1/31/2022 (mac) (Entered: 01/20/2022)
2022-02-0145Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 02/01/2022)
2022-02-22MINUTE ORDER. In view of 45 joint status report, Defendant shall submit amended declarations or affidavits as to the adequacy of the FBI's searches consistent with the 35 Memorandum Opinion by no later than April 1, 2022; Defendant shall submit a Vaughn index that identifies each document or group of documents for its withholdings under Exemptions 6 and 7(C) consistent with the 35 Memorandum Opinion by no later than April 1, 2022; and Defendant shall file a status report stating whether the FBI is planning to voluntarily re-evaluate application of the official acknowledgment doctrine to Bates-stamped pages 15, 175, 185, 186, 190, 197, and 221 by no later than April 1, 2022. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 2/22/2022. (lcegs3) (Entered: 02/22/2022)
2022-02-23Set/Reset Deadlines: Defendant Amended Declarations Or Affidavits due by 4/1/2022. Defendant Vaughn Index due by 4/1/2022. April 1, 2022. Defendant Status Report due by 4/1/2022.(mac) (Entered: 02/23/2022)
2022-04-0146STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 04/01/2022)
2022-05-05MINUTE ORDER. In view of 46 status report, the parties are directed to file a joint status report with recommendation for further proceedings by no later than May 20, 2022. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 5/5/2022. (lcegs3) (Entered: 05/05/2022)
2022-05-05Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 5/20/2022 (mac) (Entered: 05/05/2022)
2022-05-2047Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 05/20/2022)
2022-08-04MINUTE ORDER. In view of 47 joint status report, in which the parties report that the issue pertaining to the official acknowledgement doctrine has been resolved by agreement of the parties, the Court hereby FINDS AS MOOT Plaintiffs' cross-motion for summary judgment with regard to the official acknowledgment issue. With respect to the temporal limitation of the FBI's searches, the Court in its September 24, 2019 Memorandum Opinion concluded that the "FBI's temporal limitation of its searches was improper" because the FBI had failed to give Plaintiffs advance notice of the cutoff date. Mem. Op., ECF No. 35 at 37. In so ruling, the Court did not comment "on the propriety of the FBI's practice of employing cutoff dates." Id. In view of this holding, DOJ submitted a new declaration addressing the temporal limitation for its search. See Decl., ECF No. 37-1 at 3-4. Plaintiffs, however, argue that Defendant has run afoul of the Court's ruling by "refus[ing] to conduct any new searches." JSR, ECF No. 45 at 2. Defendant disagrees and argues that it has complied with this Court's 2019 Order by filing a new declaration from the FBI addressing the adequacy of its search. Id. While DOJ indeed filed a new declaration in compliance with this Court's Order, see ECF No. 37-1, the declaration did not sufficiently address the Court's temporal limitation holding. For example, the declaration incorrectly stated that the Court had "found the FBI's application of a search cut-off date to be improper" and included arguments for why the FBI's cut-off policy should be upheld. Decl., ECF No. 37-1 at 3-4. But, as stated above, the Court's holding centered on whether there was proper notice to Plaintiffs, not whether the actual cut-off date employed was reasonable. See Mem. Op., ECF No. 35 at 35-37. Because DOJ's declaration failed to make the "extraordinary showing" as to why the agency was not required to inform Plaintiffs of the temporal scope of its records search, the FBI's unpublicized temporal limitation remains invalid. See McGehee v. CIA, 697 F.2d 1095, 1105 (D.C. Cir. 1983). Defendant is therefore ORDERED to conduct a supplemental search for records within 45 days using the date of the search as a cut-off date, and Defendant shall inform Plaintiffs of said cutoff date. See, e.g., In Defense of Animals v. Nat'l Insts. Of Health, 543 F. Supp. 2d 83, 99 (D.D.C. 2008) ("[A]s Defendants have not met their burden in demonstrating the reasonableness of a February 5, 2004 search cut-off date, the Court shall require NIH's supplemental search for records located at the APF to incorporate a cut-off date not earlier than the date of the Order accompanying this Memorandum Opinion, and that Defendants shall inform Plaintiff of said cutoff date."); see also McGehee, 697 F.2d at 1105 n.43 (stating, with respect to agency's unpublicized temporal limitation on search, that the general goal of any relief "should be to put the appellant... in the position he would have occupied had the agency acted reasonably"). With regard to the adequacy of the search, Plaintiffs argue that Defendant's new declaration "failed to demonstrate that [the FBI] has searched all locations reasonably likely to contain responsive records," and request that they be "permitted to file a brief on the issue of the adequacy of the search within 30 days." JSR, ECF No. 45 at 3. Defendant argues that "[t]he record is sufficient for the Court to rule without the need for any additional briefing" and "Plaintiffs had their opportunity [to] respond to Defendant's declaration and waived it." Id. The Court agrees with Plaintiffs. Defendant provides no support for its assertion that Plaintiffs have "waived" any opposition to the declaration, and to the extent that Plaintiffs object to the statements made in the declaration, the Court shall permit them an opportunity to respond. The parties are therefore ORDERED to file a proposed briefing schedule regarding the search adequacy issue by no later than August 19, 2022. In view of the above, the Court shall also defer ruling on segregability until all issues pertaining to the adequacy of the search have been settled. Finally, Plaintiffs request that the Court "entertain a renewed Motion for Summary Judgment by Plaintiffs and a Motion for Reconsideration of the [O]rder denying Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment regarding the Glomar issue." JSR, ECF No. 45 at 4. Plaintiffs state that they believe reconsideration is warranted because "in its December 23, 2021 Memorandum Opinion, this Court sua sponte 'consider[ed] anew the merits of the parties' arguments regarding the balance of the competing interests' [ECF dkt: 43] at 16 and reversed its previous holding that it was not possible to 'balance the competing interests at th[e] level of generality' presented in the FBI's affidavits [ECF dkt: 32]." Id. However, prior to the Court's ruling on the Glomar issue in its December 23, 2021 Memorandum Opinion, Plaintiffs joined Defendant in filing a motion requesting that the Court issue a ruling on the Glomar issue on the present record. See Joint Mot., ECF No. 41 at 2; see also id. at 1-2 (arguing that, "under D.C. Circuit case law, resolution of the issue on the current record is necessary before the agency can be required to submit a Vaughn index" (citing ACLU v. CIA, 710 F.3d 422, 432 (D.C. Cir. 2013)). The Court granted that motion. See Min. Order (Jan. 30, 2020). Therefore, the Court shall not now permit Plaintiffs to file a renewed motion supplementing their arguments with regard to the Glomar issue. To the extent Plaintiffs wish to file a motion for reconsideration of the Court's Order denying Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, Plaintiffs may do so consistent with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 8/4/2022. (lcegs3) (Entered: 08/04/2022)
2022-08-05Set/Reset Deadlines: Parties Proposed Briefing Schedule due by 8/19/2022 (mac) (Entered: 08/05/2022)
2022-08-2248Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 08/22/2022)
2022-08-30MINUTE ORDER. In view of 48 joint status report, the parties are directed to file another joint status report with a recommendation for further proceedings by no later than October 4, 2022. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 8/30/2022. (lcegs3) (Entered: 08/30/2022)
2022-08-30Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 10/4/2022. (zalh) (Entered: 08/30/2022)
2022-10-0449Joint STATUS REPORT by US DEPT OF JUSTICE. (Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 10/04/2022)
2022-11-22MINUTE ORDER. In view of 49 joint status report, the parties are directed to file another joint status report with a recommendation for further proceedings by no later than January 13, 2023. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 11/22/2022. (lcegs1) (Entered: 11/22/2022)
2022-11-22Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 1/13/2023 (mac) (Entered: 11/22/2022)
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