Case: Electronic Frontier Foundation v. Department of Justice

1:07-cv-00403 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: Feb. 27, 2007

Closed Date: 2008

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On February 27, 2007, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed this individual lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552. The plaintiff, representing itself, sought injunctive and monetary relief, claiming that the defendant wrongfully withheld agency records requested by the plaintiff. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed the defendant withheld records concerning o…

On February 27, 2007, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed this individual lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. § 552. The plaintiff, representing itself, sought injunctive and monetary relief, claiming that the defendant wrongfully withheld agency records requested by the plaintiff. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed the defendant withheld records concerning orders by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) that allegedly authorized surveillance of international communications where there was a probable cause to believe one of the communicants is a member or agent of al Qaeda or an associated terrorist organization, as referenced in a letter written by the then acting Attorney General dated January 17, 2007. Additionally, the plaintiff requested any related FISC rules and guidelines associated with such orders, as referenced by the then White House Press Secretary during a press briefing on January 17, 2007.

The defendants moved for summary judgment on May 11, 2007 on the grounds that the plaintiff’s requested material was exempted from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. § 552(b) exemption 1, which exempts matters specifically authorized by an Executive order be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy, and exemption 3, which exempts records or information that could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.

On July 26, 2007, Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment on grounds that defendant sufficiently met its burden of showing with reasonable specificity the above exemptions applied to the documents at issue. In the same opinion, Chief Judge Hogan denied plaintiff’s motion for an in camera review of the documents at issue as the court found the defendant’s declarations sufficient to conduct a de novo review and to verify the applicability of the asserted FOIA exemptions.

The plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration on August 8, 2007. The plaintiff claimed that an August 3, 2007 article in the Washington Post offered new evidence that supported a motion for in camera review, as the article suggested that the documents at issue may primarily constitute legal analyses, and therefore, the documents at issue would not need to be classified. This motion was denied by Chief Judge Hogan on January 29, 2008, as the court found that the details discussed within the August 3, 2007 article did not provide any new evidence relevant to the documents referenced in the January 17, 2007 letter or press briefing. The case is now closed. 532 F.Supp.2d 22.

Summary Authors

Cade Boland (9/28/2017)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4206715/parties/electronic-frontier-foundation-v-department-of-justice/


Judge(s)

Hogan, Thomas Francis (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hofmann, Marcia (District of Columbia)

Sobel, David L. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Tumlin−Bhattacharyya, Tracy Rupa (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Hogan, Thomas Francis (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hofmann, Marcia (District of Columbia)

Sobel, David L. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Tumlin−Bhattacharyya, Tracy Rupa (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Jan. 29, 2008 Docket
1

Complaint for Injunctive Relief

Feb. 27, 2007 Complaint
17

Memorandum Opinion

Aug. 14, 2007 Order/Opinion
23

Memorandum Opinion

Jan. 29, 2008 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4206715/electronic-frontier-foundation-v-department-of-justice/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ( Filing fee $ 350 receipt number 4616002563)filed by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION.(lc, )

Feb. 27, 2007 RECAP
2

LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (lc, )

Feb. 27, 2007 RECAP
3

NOTICE of Appearance by Rupa Bhattacharyya on behalf of DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Bhattacharyya, Rupa)

March 23, 2007 RECAP
4

ANSWER to Complaint by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. Related document: [1] Complaint filed by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION.(Bhattacharyya, Rupa)

March 23, 2007 RECAP
5

ORDER setting an initial scheduling conference to take place on May 8, 2007, at 10:30 AM in Courtroom 25A before Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan. Signed by Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan on April 17, 2007. (lctfh2)

April 17, 2007 RECAP
6

SCHEDULING ORDER attached setting deadlines for depositive motions and scheduling a hearing to present oral arguments regarding same. Dispositive Motions due by 5/11/2007, Response to Dispositive Motions due by 6/4/2007, Reply to Dispositive Motions due by 6/25/2007, Cross Motions due by 6/4/2007, Response to Cross Motions due by 5/25/2007, Reply to Cross Motions due by 7/2/2007, Motion Hearing set for 7/25/2007 11:00 AM in Courtroom 25A before Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan. Signed by Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan on May 9, 2007.

May 9, 2007 RECAP
7

MOTION for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # (1) Exhibit A -- Declaration of Matthew G. Olsen# (2) Statement of Facts)(Bhattacharyya, Rupa)

May 11, 2007 RECAP
8

ERRATA by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE [7] MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # (1))(Bhattacharyya, Rupa)

May 11, 2007 RECAP
9

Memorandum in opposition to re [7] MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION. (Attachments: # (1) Exhibit A# (2) Exhibit B# (3) Exhibit C# (4) Exhibit D# (5) Exhibit E# (6) Exhibit F)(Sobel, David)

June 4, 2007 RECAP
10

Cross MOTION for In Camera Review by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (Attachments: # (1) Exhibit A# (2) Exhibit B# (3) Exhibit C# (4) Exhibit D# (5) Exhibit E# (6) Exhibit F)(Sobel, David)

June 4, 2007 RECAP
11

Memorandum in opposition to re [10] Cross MOTION for In Camera Review and Reply in Support of [7] Motion for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # (1) Exhibit Ex. A - Redacted Olsen Declaration)(Bhattacharyya, Rupa)

June 25, 2007 RECAP
12

NOTICE of Lodging of Classified Exhibit for Court's In Camera, Ex Parte Review by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE re [11] Memorandum in Opposition (Bhattacharyya, Rupa)

June 25, 2007 RECAP
13

REPLY to opposition to motion re [7] MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (see docket entry [11] to view documents) (lc, )

June 25, 2007 PACER
14

REPLY to opposition to motion re [10] Cross MOTION for In Camera Review filed by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION. (Sobel, David)

July 2, 2007 RECAP
15

Consent MOTION to Continue Motion Hearing by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # (1) Text of Proposed Order)(Bhattacharyya, Rupa)

July 4, 2007 RECAP
16

MOTION for Reconsideration by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (Attachments: # (1) Exhibit A)(Sobel, David)

Aug. 3, 2007 RECAP
17

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan on August 14, 2007. (lctfh2)

Aug. 14, 2007 RECAP
18

ORDER granting [7] Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and denying [10] Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for In Camera Review. Signed by Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan on August 14, 2007. (lctfh2)

Aug. 14, 2007 RECAP
19

Memorandum in opposition to re [16] MOTION for Reconsideration filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Bhattacharyya, Rupa)

Aug. 14, 2007 RECAP
20

CLERK'S JUDGMENT; in favor of The Department of Justice, against Electronic Frontier Foundation ordered by Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan on 8/14/07. (hs,)

Aug. 17, 2007 RECAP
21

NOTICE of Change of Address by Marcia Clare Hofmann (Hofmann, Marcia)

Sept. 18, 2007 RECAP
22

NOTICE of Relevant Authority by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE re [16] MOTION for Reconsideration, [19] Memorandum in Opposition (Attachments: # (1) FISC Order)(Bhattacharyya, Rupa)

Dec. 14, 2007 RECAP
23

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan on January 29, 2008. (lctfh2)

Jan. 29, 2008 RECAP
24

ORDER re [16] Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan on January 29, 2008. (lctfh2)

Jan. 29, 2008 RECAP

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

National Security

Special Collection(s):

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Key Dates

Filing Date: Feb. 27, 2007

Closing Date: 2008

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Not-for-profit corporation that focuses on civil liberties issues related to technology, and to act as a defender of those liberties.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Department of Justice, Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Confidentiality

Records Disclosure

Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues