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Case TitleAVILA et al v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DistrictDistrict of Columbia
CityWashington, DC
Case Number1:2017cv02685
Date Filed2017-12-15
Date ClosedOpen
JudgeJudge Rudolph Contreras
PlaintiffVICTOR AVILA
PlaintiffJUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
Case DescriptionVictor Avila and Judicial Watch submitted a FOIA request to the Department of State for records concerning Avila. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Avila and Judicial Watch filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Adequacy - Search, Litigation - Vaughn index, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantU.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Opinion/Order [56]
FOIA Project Annotation: Judge Rudolph Contreras has ruled that the Department of State has not yet justified its response to a FOIA request from Victor Avila, a retired special agent for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement who was seriously wounded in an ambush by Mexican drug cartel members while transporting equipment to Mexico City in February 2011 with fellow ICE special agent Jaime Zapata, who was killed in the ambush. The cartel members chased the agents by car, forced them off the highway, and fired nearly 100 bullets at their vehicle. Avila originally submitted several FOIA requests to ICE and the Department of Homeland Security for various documents without success. Avila, along with co-plaintiff Judicial Watch, submitted a FOIA/PA request to the Department of State, asking for records about himself, particularly focused on communications between DOS, ICE and DHS that related to Avila, starting in January 2011 to the present. The agency acknowledged receipt of the request, but after hearing nothing further from the agency, Avila filed suit. DOS contacted Avila and asked him if he would consider narrowing the scope of the request to exclude records about extradition, and records concerning custodians and the time frame of the request. Avila agreed to exclude extradition-related documents but would not agree to limit the custodians or time frame of the request. After searching for documents, DOS located 138 response documents. It released 22 documents in full, 85 documents in part, and withheld 30 documents in full. DOS also referred one document each to the FBI and the DEA. Avila challenged the adequacy of the search, arguing that different DOS components used different search terms and that using Avila's name as the only search term created an unreasonably narrow search. Explaining that some components used other terms such as "Fast and Furious" and "Zapata," Contreras found multiple search terms sufficient. But as to whether only using Avila's name as a search term was adequate, Contreras indicated that it was not. Contreras noted that "for starters, using 'Victor Avila' alone 'may have missed documents that do not identify him by his full name.' A search that includes the terms 'Avila, Jr." and "Avila,' for example, would likely cover more responsive records. This defect raises concerns about whether the search process produced all responsive documents." Contreras continued: "The State Department's problems do not end there. More significantly, Plaintiffs point out that the State Department's search unduly focused on Agent Avila's name while ignoring the broader scope of the request. Recall that Plaintiffs requested 'all records concerning Victor Avila, Jr.' including 'communications among State Department personnel that refer or relate to Mr. Avila and communications between the State Department and ICE and/or DHS personnel that refer or relate to Mr. Avila. The State Department's search plainly covered documents that 'refer' to Mr. Avila, but not necessarily records that 'concern' or 'relate to' Mr. Avila. The State Department's use of the sole search term 'Victor Avila' would miss records of the attack that do not specifically mention Agent Avila's name, but are nonetheless responsive to this request." Contreras pointed to Nation Magazine v. U.S. Customs Service,71 F.3d 885 (D.C. Cir. 1995), in support of his ruling. He noted that there "the court explained that the 'explicit' use of the words 'pertaining to' alerted the agency that appellants sought information about [Ross] Perot, even if it was not indexed under his name.' So too, here. The words 'concerning' and "relate to" show that Plaintiffs seek more than just records that have Agent Avila's name on them. Thus, the State Department's use of only Agent Avila's names as the search term was inadequate." Contreras observed that "the State Department argues that it was reasonable to interpret the FOIA request as 'excluding all records that did not name 'Avila' and that Plaintiffs should 'know better' if they 'wanted a broader range of documents than the request explicitly sought.' But the State Department 'had a duty to construe a FOIA request liberally.' Read in context, Plaintiffs' letter plainly seeks information about the February 15, 2011 attack that severely wounded Agent Avila. The letter describes the attack in detail, including the date, location, victims, circumstances, and the government program that allegedly sourced the weapons used in the attack. Immediately following this description " and still on the first page " the letter states Plaintiffs' search request. Given this context, and the broad meaning of the words 'concerning' and 'relate to,' it is 'improbable' to read the letter as solely seeking records with Agent Avila's name on them. Read as a whole, the letter is 'reasonably susceptible to the broader reading.'" The State Department also argued that Kowalczyk v. Dept of Justice, 73 F.3d 386 (D.C. Cir. 1996), stood for the proposition that an agency was not required to read into a request a meaning that was not there in the plain language. Contreras, however, noted that "while an agency is not obliged to look beyond the four corners of the request for lead to the location of responsive documents,' Plaintiffs' request for records that 'relate to' and 'concern' Agent Avila fall squarely within the request itself. The request describes Agent Avila's relation to the attack, and by extension, the State Department " i.e., it did not request documents concerning Agent Avila devoid of context. The State Department's cramped interpretation, by contrast, would 'read the just-quoted phrase out of the letter.'" The State Department withheld documents under Exemption 1 (national security), Exemption 3 (other statutes), and Exemption 5 (privileges). While Contreras showed concerns about some of the descriptions provided by the State Department, by in large, he found the Department's exemption claims were appropriate.
Issues: Adequacy - Search
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2017-12-151COMPLAINT against U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-5250137) filed by VICTOR AVILA, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons for U.S. Attny for D.C., # 3 Summons for U.S. Attny General, # 4 Summons for U.S. Dept. of State)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 12/15/2017)
2017-12-152LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 12/15/2017)
2017-12-153MOTION Relief from Local Civil Rule 11.1 re 1 Complaint, by VICTOR AVILA, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 12/15/2017)
2017-12-15Case Assigned to Judge Rudolph Contreras. (jd) (Entered: 12/19/2017)
2017-12-194SUMMONS (2) Issued Electronically as to U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachment: # 1 Notice and Consent)(jd) (Entered: 12/19/2017)
2017-12-28MINUTE ORDER granting 3 Plaintiff's Motion for Relief from Local Civil Rule 11.1: It is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff shall be permitted to redact his residence address in the caption of his complaint filed on the public docket. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 12/28/2017. (lcrc3) (Entered: 12/28/2017)
2018-01-085RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 12/26/2017. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 1/25/2018.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 12/26/17., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE served on 12/26/2017 (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 (U.S. Attny. for D.C.), # 2 Exhibit 2 (U.S. Attny. Gen.), # 3 Exhibit 3 (U.S. Dept. of State))(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 01/08/2018)
2018-01-226NOTICE of Appearance by Melanie Dyani Hendry on behalf of U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 01/22/2018)
2018-01-227Consent MOTION to Stay Deadline to Respond to Complaint by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 01/22/2018)
2018-01-238NOTICE by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE re 7 Consent MOTION to Stay Deadline to Respond to Complaint (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 01/23/2018)
2018-01-23MINUTE ORDER denying as moot 7 Motion to Stay. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 1/23/2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 01/23/2018)
2018-01-249ANSWER to 1 Complaint by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE.(Hendry, Melanie) Modified to add link on 1/25/2018 (znmw). (Entered: 01/24/2018)
2018-01-25MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall meet, confer, and submit a proposed briefing schedule on or before February 8, 2018. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 1/25/2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 01/25/2018)
2018-02-0810Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 02/08/2018)
2018-02-12MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 10 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a joint status report on or before March 8, 2018, updating the Court about the status of Defendant's search and to propose a schedule for the processing and release of responsive non-exempt documents to Plaintiffs. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 2/12/2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 02/12/2018)
2018-02-12Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 3/8/2018. (tj) (Entered: 02/12/2018)
2018-03-0811Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 03/08/2018)
2018-03-08MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 11 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties file a joint status report on or before June 15, 2018, reporting the status of the processing and release of responsive non-exempt documents to Plaintiffs. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 3/8/2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 03/08/2018)
2018-03-09Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 6/15/2018 (tj) (Entered: 03/09/2018)
2018-06-1412ENTERED IN ERROR.....Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Hendry, Melanie) Modified on 6/18/2018 (zjf). (Entered: 06/14/2018)
2018-06-1513Joint STATUS REPORT by VICTOR AVILA, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 06/15/2018)
2018-06-15MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 13 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a joint status report on or before July 16, 2018. The Court will schedule a status hearing, if necessary, upon review of that joint status report. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on June 15, 2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 06/15/2018)
2018-06-18NOTICE OF CORRECTED DOCKET ENTRY: Document No re 12 Status Report was entered in error and refiled by counsel in the correct case.(jf) (Entered: 06/18/2018)
2018-06-18Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 7/16/2018 (tj) (Entered: 06/18/2018)
2018-07-1614Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 07/16/2018)
2018-07-17MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall appear for a status hearing on August 2, 2018 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 14 before Judge Rudolph Contreras. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on July 17, 2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 07/17/2018)
2018-07-17Set/Reset Hearings: Status Conference set for 8/2/2018 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 14 before Judge Rudolph Contreras. (tj) (Entered: 07/17/2018)
2018-08-01MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that on August 2, 2018, the parties shall arrive at the courthouse at 9:30 AM and have a face-to-face discussion concerning all outstanding issues. The Court will then conduct the 10:00 AM status hearing. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on August 1, 2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 08/01/2018)
2018-08-02Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Rudolph Contreras: Status Conference held on 8/2/2018. Order forthcoming. (Court Reporter: Jeff Hook.) (hmc) (Entered: 08/02/2018)
2018-08-02MINUTE ORDER: As discussed on the record at today's status hearing, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a joint status report on or before August 30, 2018. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on August 2, 2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 08/02/2018)
2018-08-03Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 8/30/2018 (hs) (Entered: 08/03/2018)
2018-08-3015Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 08/30/2018)
2018-08-31MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 15 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file another joint status report on or before September 28, 2018. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on August 31, 2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 08/31/2018)
2018-08-31Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 9/28/2018 (tj) (Entered: 08/31/2018)
2018-09-2816Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 09/28/2018)
2018-09-28MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 16 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file another joint status report on or before October 31, 2018. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on September 28, 2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 09/28/2018)
2018-10-3117Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 10/31/2018)
2018-10-31MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 17 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file another joint status report on or before November 30, 2018. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on October 31, 2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 10/31/2018)
2018-11-3018Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 11/30/2018)
2018-11-30MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 18 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file another joint status report on or before January 7, 2019. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on November 30, 2018. (lcrc3) (Entered: 11/30/2018)
2019-01-0419Unopposed MOTION to Stay in Light of Lapse in Appropriations by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 01/04/2019)
2019-01-23MINUTE ORDER granting 19 Defendant's Unopposed Motion to Stay. It is hereby ORDERED that this action is stayed until appropriations are restored to the Department of Justice. It is FURTHER ORDERED that the joint status report previously due on January 7, 2019 shall now be due within 7 days of Congress restoring appropriations. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on January 23, 2019. (lcrc3) (Entered: 01/23/2019)
2019-02-0120NOTICE of Appearance by Paul J. Orfanedes on behalf of VICTOR AVILA, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. (Orfanedes, Paul) (Entered: 02/01/2019)
2019-02-0121Joint STATUS REPORT by VICTOR AVILA, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Orfanedes, Paul) (Entered: 02/01/2019)
2019-02-01MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 21 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file another joint status report on or before March 8, 2019. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on February 1, 2019. (lcrc3) (Entered: 02/01/2019)
2019-02-06Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 3/8/2019 (tj) (Entered: 02/06/2019)
2019-03-0822Joint STATUS REPORT by VICTOR AVILA, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Orfanedes, Paul) (Entered: 03/08/2019)
2019-03-08MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 22 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file another joint status report on or before April 8, 2019. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on March 8, 2019. (lcrc3) (Entered: 03/08/2019)
2019-03-11Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 4/8/2019 (tj) (Entered: 03/11/2019)
2019-04-0823Joint STATUS REPORT by VICTOR AVILA, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Orfanedes, Paul) (Entered: 04/08/2019)
2019-04-08MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 23 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file another joint status report on or before May 17, 2019. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on April 8, 2019. (lcrc3) (Entered: 04/08/2019)
2019-04-08Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 5/17/2019. (tj) (Entered: 04/08/2019)
2019-05-1724Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 05/17/2019)
2019-05-20MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 24 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file another joint status report on or before June 25, 2019, to update the Court concerning the status of their efforts and to propose a briefing schedule for summary judgment motions, if necessary. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on May 20, 2019. (lcrc3) (Entered: 05/20/2019)
2019-05-21Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 6/25/2019. (tj) (Entered: 05/21/2019)
2019-06-2525Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Hendry, Melanie) (Entered: 06/25/2019)
2019-06-26MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 25 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file another joint status report on or before September 10, 2019. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on June 26, 2019. (lcrc3) (Entered: 06/26/2019)
2019-06-26Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 9/10/2019 (tj) (Entered: 06/26/2019)
2019-08-0726NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by John Moustakas on behalf of U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Substituting for attorney Melanie Hendry (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 08/07/2019)
2019-09-1027Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 09/10/2019)
2019-09-1228TRANSCRIPT OF STATUS CONFERENCE before Judge Rudolph Contreras held on August 2, 2018. Page Numbers: 1 - 13. Date of Issuance: September 12, 2019. Court Reporter: Jeff Hook. Telephone number: 202-354-3373. 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 r eferenced 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 twenty-one 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 10/3/2019. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 10/13/2019. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 12/11/2019.(Hook, Jeff) (Entered: 09/12/2019)
2019-09-16MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 27 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file a further joint status report on or before October 10, 2019. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on September 16, 2019. (lcrc3) (Entered: 09/16/2019)
2019-10-1029Joint STATUS REPORT by VICTOR AVILA, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 10/10/2019)
2019-10-10MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 29 the parties' joint status report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file their next joint status report on or before December 10, 2019. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on October 10, 2019. (lcrc3) (Entered: 10/10/2019)
2019-12-1030Joint STATUS REPORT by VICTOR AVILA, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 12/10/2019)
2019-12-11MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 30 the parties' joint status report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file their next joint status report on or before April 10, 2020. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on December 11, 2019. (lcrc3) (Entered: 12/11/2019)
2019-12-11Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 4/10/2020 (tj) (Entered: 12/11/2019)
2020-04-0931Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration Declaration of Eric Stein)(Moustakas, John) (Entered: 04/09/2020)
2020-04-09MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 31 the parties' joint status report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit a further joint status report on or before June 9, 2020, or no later than two weeks after a resumption of normal operations at State, whichever comes sooner. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on April 9, 2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 04/09/2020)
2020-04-09Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 6/9/2020 (tj) (Entered: 04/09/2020)
2020-06-0932Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 06/09/2020)
2020-06-09MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 32 the parties' joint status report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit a further joint status report on or before August 7, 2020, or no later than two weeks after a resumption of normal operations at the Department of State, whichever comes sooner. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 06/09/2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 06/09/2020)
2020-06-09Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 8/7/2020. (tj) (Entered: 06/09/2020)
2020-08-0733Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 08/07/2020)
2020-08-07MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 33 the parties' joint status report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit another joint status report on or before October 9, 2020. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 08/07/2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 08/07/2020)
2020-08-07Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 10/9/2020. (tj) (Entered: 08/07/2020)
2020-10-0934Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 10/09/2020)
2020-10-13MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 34 the parties' joint status report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit another joint status report on or before December 9, 2020. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 10/13/2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 10/13/2020)
2020-10-13Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 12/9/2020 (tj) (Entered: 10/13/2020)
2020-12-0935Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 12/09/2020)
2020-12-10MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 35 the parties' joint status report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit another joint status report on or before January 11, 2021. It is FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall appear before the Court for a telephone conference on January 14, 2021 at 10:00 A.M. Specific call-in instructions will follow via email. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 12/10/2020. (lcrc3) (Entered: 12/10/2020)
2020-12-10Set/Reset Deadlines:( Status Report due by 1/11/2021; Telephone Conference set for 1/14/2021 at 10:00 AM in Telephonic/VTC before Judge Rudolph Contreras. (tj) (Entered: 12/10/2020)
2021-01-1136Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 01/11/2021)
2021-01-12MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 36 the parties' joint status report, it is hereby ORDERED that the telephone conference scheduled for January 14, 2021 is VACATED. It is FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall appear before the Court for a telephone conference on January 21, 2021 at 10:30 A.M. Specific call-in instructions will follow via email. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 1/12/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 01/12/2021)
2021-01-21Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Rudolph Contreras: Telephone Conference held on 1/21/2021. Parties inform the court of the status of this action. Meet & Confer due by 2/22/2021; Summary Judgment motions due by 4/5/2021. (Court Reporter: Elizabeth Saint Loth.) (tj) (Entered: 02/02/2021)
2021-02-2237Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 02/22/2021)
2021-02-23MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 37 the parties' joint status report, it is hereby ORDERED that the following schedule shall govern proceedings: Defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment on or before April 5, 2021; Plaintiffs shall file their opposition and cross motion for summary judgment on or before May 11, 2021; Defendant shall file its reply and opposition on or before June 14, 2021; and Plaintiffs shall file their reply on or before July 13, 2021. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 2/23/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 02/23/2021)
2021-02-23Set/Reset Deadlines: Cross Motions due by 5/11/2021. Response to Cross Motions due by 6/14/2021. Reply to Cross Motions due by 7/13/2021. Summary Judgment motions due by 4/5/2021. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 5/11/2021. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 6/14/2021. (tj) (Entered: 02/23/2021)
2021-03-2438MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 03/24/2021)
2021-04-15MINUTE ORDER granting 38 Motion for Extension of Time to File over Plaintiffs' objection (written objection not filed). It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment on or before May 20, 2021; Plaintiffs shall file their opposition and cross motion for summary judgment on or before June 25, 2021; Defendant shall file its reply and opposition on or before July 29, 2021; and Plaintiffs shall file their reply on or before August 27, 2021. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 4/15/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 04/15/2021)
2021-04-15Set/Reset Deadlines: Cross Motions due by 6/25/2021. Response to Cross Motions due by 7/29/2021. Reply to Cross Motions due by 8/27/2021. Summary Judgment motions due by 5/20/2021. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 6/25/2021. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 7/29/2021. (tj) (Entered: 04/15/2021)
2021-05-2039MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 05/21/2021)
2021-05-29MINUTE ORDER granting 39 Motion for Extension of Time to File. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its motion for summary judgment on or before June 10, 2021; Plaintiffs shall file their opposition and cross motion for summary judgment on or before July 15, 2021; Defendant shall file its reply and opposition on or before August 19, 2021; and Plaintiffs shall file their reply on or before September 23, 2021. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 5/29/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 05/29/2021)
2021-05-29Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motion due 6/10/21. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross Motion for Summary Judgment 7/15/2021. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment and Response to Cross Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/19/2021. Reply to Cross Motion for Summary Judgment due by 9/23/2021. (zgdf) (Entered: 06/01/2021)
2021-06-1140MOTION for Extension of Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 06/11/2021)
2021-06-28MINUTE ORDER granting 40 Defendant's Motion to Extend Time to File Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court assumes that this motion is unopposed because Plaintiff has not responded. It is hereby ORDERED that the following schedule shall govern summary judgment briefing: Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before August 16, 2021; Plaintiff's Opposition and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before September 20, 2021; Defendant's Reply and Opposition shall be filed on or before October 4, 2021; Plaintiff's Reply shall be filed on or before October 18, 2021. Given that the trial in Donahue v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security was rescheduled to the fall, and Defendant justified its extension request based on the demands of that trial, the Court expects these new deadlines to be met. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 6/28/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 06/28/2021)
2021-08-1741MOTION for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 08/17/2021)
2021-08-1742ERRATA by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE re 41 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration (Declaration of Angela D. Hertel))(Moustakas, John) (Entered: 08/17/2021)
2021-09-1543Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 41 MOTION for Summary Judgment by VICTOR AVILA, JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 09/15/2021)
2021-09-15MINUTE ORDER granting 43 Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time. It is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff's opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment shall be filed on or before October 26, 2021; Defendant's opposition and reply shall be filed on or before November 9, 2021; and Plaintiff's reply shall be filed on or before December 3, 2021. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 9/15/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 09/15/2021)
2021-10-2744Memorandum in opposition to re 41 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit Victor Avila, # 2 Affidavit)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 10/27/2021)
2021-10-2745Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit Victor Avila, # 2 Affidavit, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 10/27/2021)
2021-11-0846Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and in Opposition to Plaintiff's Cross Motion for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 11/08/2021)
2021-11-09MINUTE ORDER granting 46 Consent Motion for Extension of Time. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant's Reply in Support of Summary Judgment and Opposition to Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before November 23, 2021; and Plaintiff's Reply in Support of Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before December 22, 2021. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 11/9/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 11/09/2021)
2021-11-09Set/Reset Deadlines: Reply in support of Cross Motion due by 12/22/2021. Defendant's Response to Cross Motion due by 11/23/2021. Reply in support of to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 11/23/2021. (hs) (Entered: 11/09/2021)
2021-11-2347MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 11/23/2021)
2021-11-24MINUTE ORDER granting 47 Motion for Extension of Time. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant's Reply in Support of Summary Judgment and Opposition to Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before December 7, 2021; and Plaintiff's Reply in Support of Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before January 6, 2022. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 11/24/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 11/24/2021)
2021-12-0748MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 12/07/2021)
2021-12-08MINUTE ORDER granting 48 Motion for Extension of Time. It is hereby ORDERED that Defendant's Reply in Support of Summary Judgment and Opposition to Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before December 10, 2021; and Plaintiff's Reply in Support of Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment shall be filed on or before January 10, 2022. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 12/8/2021. (lcrc3) (Entered: 12/08/2021)
2021-12-08Set/Reset Deadlines: Response to Cross Motions due by 12/10/2021. Reply to Cross Motions due by 1/10/2022. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 12/10/2021. (tj) (Entered: 12/08/2021)
2021-12-1049REPLY to opposition to motion re 45 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Moustakas, John) (Entered: 12/10/2021)
2021-12-1051Memorandum in opposition to re 45 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (See Docket Entry 49 to view document) (ztth) (Entered: 12/14/2021)
2021-12-1150ERRATA by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE re 49 Reply to opposition to Motion filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A: Reply to Opposition and Cross-Motion, # 2 Exhibit B: Declaration of Susan C. Weetman, # 3 Exhibit C: Response to Plaintiff's Statement of Undisputed)(Moustakas, John) (Entered: 12/11/2021)
2021-12-14NOTICE OF ERROR re 49 Reply to opposition to Motion; emailed to john.moustakas@usdoj.gov, cc'd 4 associated attorneys -- The PDF file you docketed contained errors: 1. Two-part docket entry, 2. Please do not refile. In future, be sure to docket all parts of the pleading. (ztth, ) (Entered: 12/14/2021)
2022-01-0652MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 45 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 01/06/2022)
2022-01-06MINUTE ORDER granting 52 Motion for Extension of Time. It is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiffs shall file their reply in support of Plaintiffs' cross-motion for summary judgment on or before February 10, 2022. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 1/6/2022. (lcrc3) (Entered: 01/06/2022)
2022-02-1153REPLY to opposition to motion re 41 MOTION for Summary Judgment , 45 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 02/11/2022)
2022-02-1154MOTION Accept Reply as Timely Filed re 53 Reply to opposition to Motion by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 02/11/2022)
2022-02-11MINUTE ORDER granting 54 Plaintiffs' Motion to Accept Opposition Brief as Timely Filed. It is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiffs' reply to Defendant's opposition to Plaintiffs' cross-motion for summary judgment is accepted as timely filed. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 2/11/2022. (lcrc3) (Entered: 02/11/2022)
2022-06-1055ORDER granting in part and denying in part 41 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, and granting in part and denying in part 45 Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 6-10-2022. (lcrc3) (Entered: 06/10/2022)
2022-06-1056MEMORANDUM OPINION granting in part and denying in part 41 Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, and granting in part and denying in part 45 Plaintiffs' Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 6-10-2022. (lcrc3) (Entered: 06/10/2022)
2022-08-0957STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 08/09/2022)
2022-08-0958ERRATA Replacing Status Replacing Status Report to Include Revised/Supplemental Vaughn Index by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit August 9, 2022 Status Report Attaching Revised Vaughn Index, # 2 Exhibit Revised/Supplemental Vaughn Index)(Moustakas, John) (Entered: 08/09/2022)
2022-09-01MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit a joint status report before or on September 9, 2022. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 9-1-2022. (lcrc3) (Entered: 09/01/2022)
2022-09-0959Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 09/09/2022)
2022-09-12MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit a joint status report before or on October 12, 2022. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 9-12-2022. (lcrc3) (Entered: 09/12/2022)
2022-10-1260Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 10/12/2022)
2022-10-13MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 60 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit another joint status report the earlier of (i) 21 days of the Departments final release or (ii) January 10, 2023. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 10-13-2022. (lcrc3) (Entered: 10/13/2022)
2023-01-1061Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 01/10/2023)
2023-01-11MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 61 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit another joint status report on or before April 10, 2023. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 1-11-2023. (lcrc3) (Entered: 01/11/2023)
2023-04-0762Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 04/07/2023)
2023-04-10MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 62 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit another joint status report on or before July 10, 2023. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 4-10-2023. (lcrc3) (Entered: 04/10/2023)
2023-04-21Set/Reset Deadlines: Status Report due by 7/10/2023 (tj) (Entered: 04/21/2023)
2023-07-1063Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 07/10/2023)
2023-07-11MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 63 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit another joint status report on or before September 15, 2023. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 7-11-2023. (lcrc3) (Entered: 07/11/2023)
2023-09-1564Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 09/15/2023)
2023-09-15MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 64 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit another joint status report on or before December 14, 2023. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 9-15-2023. (lcrc3) (Entered: 09/15/2023)
2023-12-1465Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 12/14/2023)
2023-12-1466Joint STATUS REPORT by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE. (Moustakas, John) (Entered: 12/14/2023)
2023-12-15MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 65 66 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit another joint status report on or before February 12, 2024. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 12-15-2023. (lcrc3) (Entered: 12/15/2023)
2024-02-0967Joint STATUS REPORT by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.. (Burke, Lauren) (Entered: 02/09/2024)
2024-02-09MINUTE ORDER: Upon consideration of 67 the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall submit another joint status report on or before April 15, 2024. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 2-9-2024. (lcrc3) (Entered: 02/09/2024)
2024-03-0168NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Kenneth A. Adebonojo on behalf of U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Substituting for attorney John Moustakas (Adebonojo, Kenneth) (Entered: 03/01/2024)
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