Case: Electronic Frontier Foundation v. Department of Justice

1:10-cv-00755 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: May 11, 2010

Closed Date: 2011

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 11th, 2010, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit corporation based out of California focused on civil liberties issues relating to technology, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the Department of Justice (DOJ), specifically the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The plaintiff, representing itself, sought injunctive relief, claiming that the FBI had wrongfully wi…

On May 11th, 2010, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit corporation based out of California focused on civil liberties issues relating to technology, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the Department of Justice (DOJ), specifically the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The plaintiff, representing itself, sought injunctive relief, claiming that the FBI had wrongfully withheld agency records requested by the plaintiff under FOIA pertaining to the re-authorization of three provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the FBI had failed to comply with the statutory time limit for processing FOIA requests and that the plaintiff had exhausted all administrative remedies in trying to obtain the requested records. The plaintiff requested that the FBI immediately process the requested records in their entirety, disclose the requested records and make copies available to plaintiff upon completion of processing, and to do so in a timely and expedited manner.

Subsequently, on June 14th, 2010, District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the parties to confer and propose a schedule for proceeding, specifically addressing, among other things, the status of the plaintiff’s FOIA request, the anticipated number of documents responsive to the request, and the anticipated date of the documents’ release.

On June 28th, 2010, the parties submitted their status report from their conference. The defendant reported that it had completed its search for all potentially responsive documents to plaintiff’s FOIA request, and they amounted to around 1,700 pages. The defendant reported that it had forwarded all potentially responsive documents for processing and classification review, and that it expected to be finished processing all 1,700 pages by November 15th, 2010.

On November 30th, 2010, the parties submitted their updated status report. The defendant reported that it had completed processing plaintiff’s FOIA request and had released all responsive, non-exempt information to plaintiff. Thus, on December 2nd, 2010, Judge Kollar-Kotelly ordered the defendant to submit its motion for summary judgment and all parties to submit their motions and cross-motions.

On March 4th, 2011, the defendant moved for summary judgment. It claimed that, because that the FBI had satisfied its burden under FOIA and had released all reasonable, segregable information that was neither exempt nor not subject to FOIA to the plaintiff, the lawsuit should be resolved.

However, on April 5th, 2011, the plaintiff filed a memorandum, partially opposing the defendant's motion for summary judgment, and supporting its own cross-motion for summary judgment, submitted on the same day. In it, the plaintiff supported most of the defendant’s motion, but disputed the FBI’s continued withholding of five pages of material showing charts and statistical information related to the FBI’s use of expiring Patriot Act provisions. The plaintiff claimed that this information was non-exempt, responsive material to its FOIA request, and the defendant had not sufficiently proved that it legitimately withheld this information because the material did not pertain to national security or law enforcement.

On April 22nd, 2011, the defendant answered the plaintiff’s cross-motion for summary judgment. It claimed that the FBI was no longer withholding any material the plaintiff referenced in its cross-motion. Apparently, five out of six of the pages the plaintiff was seeking had already been inadvertently released to the plaintiff when the other responsive material was being processed, and the FBI just decided to voluntarily release the last remaining page, though the defendant maintained that these documents would have been exempt from FOIA under the deliberative process privilege. Because there was no longer any live issue at dispute, the defendant re-asserted that summary judgment should be granted.

On June 16th, 2011, the parties reached a settlement agreement to satisfy the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees, expenses, and litigation costs. The defendant agreed to pay the plaintiff $4,000 for the costs associated with the lawsuit. In return, the plaintiff agreed to seek dismissal of the case with prejudice. The case was dismissed on June 16th, 2011.

Summary Authors

Sarah Du (10/17/2017)

People


Judge(s)

Wilkins, Robert Leon (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hofmann, Marcia (California)

Sobel, David L. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Braswell, Marina Utgoff (District of Columbia)

Freeny, Kyle Renee (District of Columbia)

Tyler, John Russell (District of Columbia)

West, Tony (District of Columbia)

Zimpleman, Thomas David (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Wilkins, Robert Leon (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Hofmann, Marcia (California)

Sobel, David L. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Braswell, Marina Utgoff (District of Columbia)

Freeny, Kyle Renee (District of Columbia)

Tyler, John Russell (District of Columbia)

West, Tony (District of Columbia)

Zimpleman, Thomas David (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:10-cv-00755

Docket

June 16, 2011

June 16, 2011

Docket
1

1:10-cv-00755

Complaint for Injunctive Relief

May 11, 2010

May 11, 2010

Complaint
24

1:10-cv-00755

Settlement Agreement and Release

June 14, 2011

June 14, 2011

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 16, 2022, 3:19 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ( Filing fee $ 350, receipt number 4616029607) filed by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION.

May 11, 2010

May 11, 2010

2

LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION identifying Corporate Parent NONE for ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION. (td, ) (Entered: 05/12/2010)

May 11, 2010

May 11, 2010

3

Case randomly reassigned to Judge Colleen Kollar−Kotelly. Judge Paul L. Friedman no longer assigned to the case. (gt, ) (Entered: 05/14/2010)

May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010

4

ORDER Establishing Procedures for Electronic Filing for Cases Assigned to Judge Colleen Kollar−Kotelly, signed on May 19, 2010. (SM) (Entered: 05/19/2010)

May 19, 2010

May 19, 2010

5

NOTICE of Appearance by Marina Utgoff Braswell on behalf of DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 05/20/2010)

May 20, 2010

May 20, 2010

6

NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. Attorney Marina Utgoff Braswell terminated. (Braswell, Marina) (Entered: 06/09/2010)

June 9, 2010

June 9, 2010

7

NOTICE of Appearance by Kyle Renee Freeny on behalf of DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Freeny, Kyle) (Entered: 06/10/2010)

June 10, 2010

June 10, 2010

8

ANSWER to 1 Complaint by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.(Freeny, Kyle) (Entered: 06/10/2010)

June 10, 2010

June 10, 2010

9

ORDER. The parties shall confer and propose a schedule for proceeding in this matter. The schedule should address the status of Plaintiff's FOIA request, the anticipated number of documents responsive to Plaintiff's FOIA request, the anticipated date(s) for release of the documents requested by Plaintiff, whether a motion for an Open America stay is likely in this case, whether a Vaughn index will be required in this case, etc. The parties shall file the schedule not later than June 28, 2010. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar−Kotelly on June 14, 2010. (lcckk1) (Entered: 06/14/2010)

June 14, 2010

June 14, 2010

10

STATUS REPORT (Joint) by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Freeny, Kyle) (Entered: 06/28/2010)

June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010

MINUTE ORDER (paperless). The parties have filed a 10 Joint Status Report and Schedule indicating that Defendant will complete processing of Plaintiffs FOIA request on or before November 15, 2010. Following the completion of processing, the parties shall confer in an effort to narrow any disputed issues and submit a further Joint Status Report with a proposed schedule for proceeding by no later than November 30, 2010. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar−Kotelly on June 30, 2010.(lcckk1) (Entered: 06/30/2010)

June 30, 2010

June 30, 2010

11

STATUS REPORT and Proposed Schedule (Joint) by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Freeny, Kyle) (Entered: 11/30/2010)

Nov. 30, 2010

Nov. 30, 2010

12

ORDER: Pursuant to the Joint Status Report and Proposed Schedule filed by the parties on November 30, 2010, the Court approves the proposed schedule which is adopted and incorporated in the attached Scheduling Order. Accordingly, Defendant's motion for summary judgment shall be due on or before February 28, 2011; Plaintiff's opposition and cross−motion for summary judgment shall be due on or before March 30, 2011; Defendant's reply and opposition brief shall be due on or before April 19, 2011; and Plaintiff's reply brief shall be due on or before May 9, 2010. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar−Kotelly on December 2, 2010. (SM, ) (Entered: 12/02/2010)

Dec. 2, 2010

Dec. 2, 2010

Set/Reset Deadlines: Plaintiff's Cross Motions due by 3/30/2011. Response to Cross Motions due by 4/19/2011. Reply to Cross Motions due by 5/9/2011. Defendant's Summary Judgment motions due by 2/28/2011. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 3/30/2011. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 4/19/2011. (dot ) (Entered: 12/18/2010)

Dec. 2, 2010

Dec. 2, 2010

Case reassigned to U.S. District Judge Robert L. Wilkins. Judge Colleen Kollar−Kotelly no longer assigned to the case. (ds) (Entered: 01/20/2011)

Jan. 20, 2011

Jan. 20, 2011

MINUTE ORDER granting 13 Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time. Accordingly, the deadlines set in the briefing schedule on December 2, 2010, have been extended as follows: Defendant shall have until March 4, 2011, to file its Motion for Summary Judgment; Plaintiff shall have until April 5, 2011, to file its Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross Motion for Summary Judgment; Defendant shall have until April 25, 2011, to file its Reply in support of its Motion for Summary Judgment and Opposition to Plaintiff's Cross Motion for Summary Judgment; and Plaintiff shall have until May 13, 2011, to file its Reply in support of its Cross Motion for Summary Judgment. Set/Reset Deadlines: Motion for Summary Judgment due by 3/4/2011; Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 4/5/2011; Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 4/25/2011. Cross Motion for Summary Judgment due by 4/5/2011; Response to Cross Motion due by 4/25/2011; Reply to Cross Motion due by 5/13/2011. Signed by Judge Colleen Kollar−Kotelly on February 23, 2011, on behalf of newly appointed Judge Wilkins. (SM) (Entered: 02/23/2011)

Feb. 23, 2011

Feb. 23, 2011

14

MOTION for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Facts, # 2 Affidavit Declaration of David M. Hardy, # 3 Exhibit Exhibits to Declaration (Pt. 1), # 4 Exhibit Exhibits to Declaration (Pt. 2), # 5 Exhibit Exhibits to Declaration (Pt. 3), # 6 Errata Exhibits to Declaration (Pt. 4), # 7 Exhibit Exhibits to Declaration (Pt. 5), # 8 Exhibit Exhibits to Declaration (Pt. 6), # 9 Exhibit Exhibits to Declaration (Pt. 7), # 10 Exhibit Exhibits to Declaration (Pt. 8), # 11 Exhibit Exhibits to Declaration (Pt. 9), # 12 Exhibit Exhibits to Declaration (Pt. 10), # 13 Text of Proposed Order)(Freeny, Kyle) (Entered: 03/04/2011)

March 4, 2011

March 4, 2011

15

Memorandum in opposition to re 14 MOTION for Summary Judgment (Partial) filed by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Statement of Facts, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Sobel, David) (Entered: 04/05/2011)

April 5, 2011

April 5, 2011

16

Cross MOTION for Partial Summary Judgment by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Statement of Facts, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Sobel, David) (Entered: 04/05/2011)

April 5, 2011

April 5, 2011

17

REPLY to opposition to motion re 14 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 (Declaration of Dennis J. Argall), # 2 Exhibit 2)(Freeny, Kyle) (Entered: 04/22/2011)

April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011

18

Memorandum in opposition to re 16 Cross MOTION for Partial Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 (Declaration of Dennis J. Argall), # 2 Exhibit 2)(Freeny, Kyle) (Entered: 04/22/2011)

April 22, 2011

April 22, 2011

19

NOTICE of Appearance by Thomas David Zimpleman on behalf of DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Zimpleman, Thomas) (Entered: 05/11/2011)

May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011

20

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Reply by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Sobel, David) (Entered: 05/11/2011)

May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011

21

ORDER granting 20 Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Reply; it is further ordered that plaintiff shall have until June 7,2011, to file its reply in support of plaintiffs cross−motion for partial summary judgment. Signed by Judge Robert L. Wilkins on 5/12/2011. (tcb) (Entered: 05/12/2011)

May 12, 2011

May 12, 2011

22

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Reply by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Sobel, David) (Entered: 06/07/2011)

June 7, 2011

June 7, 2011

23

ORDER granting 22 Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Reply; and plaintiff shall have until June 28,2011, to file its reply in support of plaintiffs cross−motion for partial summary judgment. Signed by Judge Robert L. Wilkins on 6/8/2011. (tcb) (Entered: 06/08/2011)

June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011

25

STIPULATION of Dismissal by ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION. (Sobel, David) (Entered: 06/16/2011)

June 16, 2011

June 16, 2011

Case Details

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

National Security

Special Collection(s):

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- All Matters

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 11, 2010

Closing Date: 2011

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit corporation based in California that provides information pertaining to civil liberties issues related to technology

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

United States, Federal

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Conditional Dismissal

Amount Defendant Pays: $4,000

Content of Injunction:

Required disclosure

Issues

General:

Records Disclosure