Case: Electronic Privacy Information Center v. Department of Homeland Security

1:13-cv-00260 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: Feb. 27, 2013

Closed Date: 2016

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On February 27, 2013, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed this lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for failure to release information in response to EPIC's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The FOIA request was filed on July 10, 2012 regarding the disclosure of a communication shutdown procedure approved by DHS. EPIC claimed that DHS's failure to respond to an administrative appeal violated the statutory deadline imposed by FOIA. Additionally, EPIC clai…

On February 27, 2013, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed this lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for failure to release information in response to EPIC's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The FOIA request was filed on July 10, 2012 regarding the disclosure of a communication shutdown procedure approved by DHS. EPIC claimed that DHS's failure to respond to an administrative appeal violated the statutory deadline imposed by FOIA. Additionally, EPIC claims that DHS failed to make a reasonable effort to search for the documents requested and that DHS was unlawfully withholding said documents. The EPIC requested injunctive relief from the court to compel immediate disclosure of the relevant records.

The FOIA request was for disclosure of records related to a communication shutdown procedure called Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 303 described in the 2006-07 DHS Issue Review as codifying a "shutdown and restoration process for use by commercial and private wireless networks during national crises" to prevent the remote detonation of bombs.

On July 11, 2011 a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer in San Francisco shot and killed a homeless man. He later alleged that the homeless man had a knife and that the officer had shot him in self defense. This resulted in a major protest against BART. The second protest on August 12, 2011 was cut short when BART supposedly used the SOP 303 communication shutdown procedure to shut off all cellular service in several of its transit stations for three hours.

DHS responded to EPIC's FOIA request on August 21, 2012 notifying EPIC that DHS was unable to locate or identify the records requested. EPIC administratively appealed this response on September 13, 2012. DHS, which was statutorily required by FOIA to respond to an administrative appeal within 20 days, did not submit a timely response.

On May 20, 2013, Judge James E. Boasberg ordered the disclosure of any segregable portions of SOP 303. On June 28, 2013, DHS disclosed the document, but withheld portions under FOIA exemptions 6 and 7(C), 7(E), and 7(D) on the grounds that they included personal information of DHS officials, techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or endangered the life of any individual. At the same time, DHS moved for summary judgment and EPIC made a cross-motion for summary judgment. On November 12, 2013 Judge James E. Boasberg granted EPIC's motion for summary judgment on the grounds that DHS's invocation of exemptions 7(E) and 7(D) were improper, and stayed the order pending the defendant's appeal to the DC Circuit Court.

On June 1, 2015, The DC Circuit Court reversed and remanded the case to the district court to determine whether any segregable portions of SOP 303 could be disclosed.

On July 10, 2015, DHS submitted a redacted version of SOP 303 to Judge Boasberg, who decided consistent with the court of appeals' decision that DHS did not need to disclose any further information and entered judgment in favor DHS.

Afterwards, the parties litigated regarding DHS's payment of EPIC's attorney's fees. On July 18, 2016, the judge granted in part the motion for attorney's fees totaling $20,145.04.

The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Amanda Kenner (3/26/2017)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4211887/parties/electronic-privacy-information-center-v-department-of-homeland-security/


Judge(s)

Boasberg, James Emanuel (District of Columbia)

Randolph, Arthur Raymond (District of Columbia)

Rogers, Judith Ann Wilson (District of Columbia)

Sentelle, David Bryan (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Butler, Alan (District of Columbia)

Horwitz, Julia (District of Columbia)

McCall, Ginger P. (District of Columbia)

Rotenberg, Marc (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)

Machen, Ronald C (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Boasberg, James Emanuel (District of Columbia)

Randolph, Arthur Raymond (District of Columbia)

Rogers, Judith Ann Wilson (District of Columbia)

Sentelle, David Bryan (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Butler, Alan (District of Columbia)

Horwitz, Julia (District of Columbia)

McCall, Ginger P. (District of Columbia)

Rotenberg, Marc (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)

Machen, Ronald C (District of Columbia)

Sandberg, Justin Michael (District of Columbia)

Shapiro, Elizabeth J. (District of Columbia)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Jacobs, David (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:13-cv-00260

Docket

July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016

Docket

NCC Standard Operating Procedure 303

SOP 303 Redacted

No Court

Sept. 25, 2009

Sept. 25, 2009

Discovery Material/FOIA Release
1

1:13-cv-00260

Complaint for Injunctive Relief

Feb. 27, 2013

Feb. 27, 2013

Complaint
10

1:13-cv-00260

Motion for Summary Judgment

June 28, 2013

June 28, 2013

Pleading / Motion / Brief
11

1:13-cv-00260

Plaintiffs' Opporition

July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013

Pleading / Motion / Brief
12

1:13-cv-00260

Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment

July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013

Pleading / Motion / Brief
19

1:13-cv-00260

Memorandum Opinion

Nov. 12, 2013

Nov. 12, 2013

Order/Opinion
18

1:13-cv-00260

Order

Nov. 12, 2013

Nov. 12, 2013

Order/Opinion
23

14-05013

Judgment

U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

June 1, 2015

June 1, 2015

Order/Opinion
32

1:13-cv-00260

Order

July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4211887/electronic-privacy-information-center-v-department-of-homeland-security/

Last updated Sept. 6, 2022, 3:04 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ( Filing fee $ 350 receipt number 0090-3233293) filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER.(McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 02/27/2013)

Feb. 27, 2013

Feb. 27, 2013

RECAP
2

LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 02/27/2013)

Feb. 27, 2013

Feb. 27, 2013

RECAP
3

NOTICE of Civil Cover Sheet by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Summons)(McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 02/28/2013)

1 Summons

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Feb. 28, 2013

Feb. 28, 2013

RECAP
4

ELECTRONIC SUMMONS Issued (3) as to DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Notice of Consent, # 2 Consent Form)(md, ) (Entered: 03/15/2013)

1 Notice of Consent

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2 Consent Form

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March 15, 2013

March 15, 2013

RECAP
5

RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 3/18/2013. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 4/17/2013. (McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 03/18/2013)

March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013

RECAP
6

ANSWER to Complaint by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.(Sandberg, Justin) (Entered: 04/17/2013)

April 17, 2013

April 17, 2013

RECAP
7

ORDER requiring the parties to consult and file a joint proposed briefing schedule by May 17, 2013. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 4/17/2013. (lcjeb2) (Entered: 04/17/2013)

April 17, 2013

April 17, 2013

RECAP
8

MEET AND CONFER STATEMENT. (McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 05/17/2013)

May 17, 2013

May 17, 2013

RECAP
9

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Summary Judgment and Otherwise Amend Briefing Schedule by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Sandberg, Justin) (Entered: 06/13/2013)

June 13, 2013

June 13, 2013

PACER
10

MOTION for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Exhibit, # 3 Exhibit, # 4 Exhibit, # 5 Exhibit, # 6 Exhibit, # 7 Text of Proposed Order)(Sandberg, Justin) (Entered: 06/28/2013)

1 Exhibit

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2 Exhibit

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3 Exhibit

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4 Exhibit

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5 Exhibit

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6 Exhibit

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7 Text of Proposed Order

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June 28, 2013

June 28, 2013

RECAP
11

Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Exhibit, # 3 Statement of Facts, # 4 Exhibit, # 5 Text of Proposed Order)(McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 07/26/2013)

1 Exhibit

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2 Exhibit

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3 Statement of Facts

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4 Exhibit

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5 Text of Proposed Order

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July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013

RECAP
12

Memorandum in opposition to re 10 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Exhibit, # 3 Statement of Facts, # 4 Exhibit, # 5 Text of Proposed Order)(McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 07/26/2013)

1 Exhibit

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2 Exhibit

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3 Statement of Facts

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4 Exhibit

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5 Text of Proposed Order

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July 26, 2013

July 26, 2013

RECAP
13

Memorandum in opposition to re 11 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Sandberg, Justin) (Entered: 08/09/2013)

Aug. 9, 2013

Aug. 9, 2013

RECAP
14

REPLY to opposition to motion re 10 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Sandberg, Justin) (Entered: 08/09/2013)

Aug. 9, 2013

Aug. 9, 2013

RECAP
15

NOTICE of Appearance by Marc Rotenberg on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 08/22/2013)

Aug. 22, 2013

Aug. 22, 2013

RECAP
16

REPLY to opposition to motion re 11 Cross MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 08/23/2013)

Aug. 23, 2013

Aug. 23, 2013

RECAP
17

NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. Attorney Ginger P. McCall terminated. (McCall, Ginger) (Entered: 08/26/2013)

Aug. 26, 2013

Aug. 26, 2013

PACER
18

ORDER: As set forth in the accompanying Memorandum Opinion, the Court ORDERS that: (1) Defendant's 10 Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED; (2) Plaintiff's 11 Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED; (3) This Judgment is STAYED for 30 days; and (4) Should DHS notice an appeal by December 12, 2013, the stay shall remain in effect until the Court of Appeals rules on such appeal. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 11/12/13. (lcjeb1, ) (Entered: 11/12/2013)

Nov. 12, 2013

Nov. 12, 2013

RECAP
19

MEMORANDUM OPINION re 18 Order. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 11/12/13. (lcjeb1) (Entered: 11/12/2013)

Nov. 12, 2013

Nov. 12, 2013

RECAP
20

Unopposed MOTION Extension of Stay of Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Sandberg, Justin) (Entered: 11/22/2013)

1 Text of Proposed Order

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Nov. 22, 2013

Nov. 22, 2013

RECAP
21

NOTICE OF APPEAL TO DC CIRCUIT COURT as to 18 Order on Motion for Summary Judgment, 19 Memorandum & Opinion by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. Fee Status: No Fee Paid. Parties have been notified. (Sandberg, Justin) (Entered: 01/13/2014)

Jan. 13, 2014

Jan. 13, 2014

RECAP
22

Transmission of the Notice of Appeal, Order Appealed, and Docket Sheet to US Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals docketing fee was not paid because the fee was an Appeal by the Government re 21 Notice of Appeal to DC Circuit Court. (td, ) (Entered: 01/13/2014)

Jan. 13, 2014

Jan. 13, 2014

PACER
23

MANDATE of USCA (certified copy) as to 21 Notice of Appeal to DC Circuit Court filed by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the District Court's grant of summary judgment appealed from in this cause is hereby reversed and the case is remanded for the district court to determine whether any reasonably segregable portions of SOP 303 can be disclosed, in accordance with the opinion of the court filed herein this date. USCA Case Number 14-5013. (Attachments: # 1 USCA Opinion)(rd) (Entered: 06/02/2015)

1 USCA Opinion

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June 1, 2015

June 1, 2015

RECAP
24

NOTICE of Appearance by Alan Jay Butler on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Butler, Alan) (Entered: 06/18/2015)

June 18, 2015

June 18, 2015

PACER
25

NOTICE of In Camera Filing by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit SOP 303 Redacted)(Sandberg, Justin) (Entered: 07/06/2015)

July 6, 2015

July 6, 2015

PACER
26

NOTICE of Appearance by Thailam John Tran on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Tran, Thailam) (Entered: 04/05/2016)

April 5, 2016

April 5, 2016

PACER
27

Joint MOTION for Briefing Schedule by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Tran, Thailam) (Entered: 04/05/2016)

1

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April 5, 2016

April 5, 2016

RECAP
28

MOTION for Attorney Fees by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of T. John Tran, # 2 Exhibit Kavanaugh Declaration, # 3 Exhibit 2014 Real Rate Report, # 4 Exhibit Westlaw Billing Report, # 5 Exhibit Westlaw Billing Report, # 6 Exhibit LSI Laffey Matrix, # 7 Exhibit USAO Laffey Matrix, # 8 Exhibit Billing Records, # 9 Affidavit of M. Rotenberg, # 10 Affidavit of A. Butler, # 11 Affidavit of G. McCall, # 12 Affidavit of D. Jacobs, # 13 Affidavit of J. Horwitz, # 14 Affidavit of D. Husband, # 15 Affidavit of T. Tran, # 16 Affidavit of A. Thomson, # 17 Text of Proposed Order)(Tran, Thailam) (Entered: 04/25/2016)

1 Declaration of T. John Tran

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2 Exhibit Kavanaugh Declaration

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3 Exhibit 2014 Real Rate Report

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4 Exhibit Westlaw Billing Report

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5 Exhibit Westlaw Billing Report

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6 Exhibit LSI Laffey Matrix

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7 Exhibit USAO Laffey Matrix

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8 Exhibit Billing Records

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9 Affidavit of M. Rotenberg

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10 Affidavit of A. Butler

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11 Affidavit of G. McCall

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12 Affidavit of D. Jacobs

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13 Affidavit of J. Horwitz

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14 Affidavit of D. Husband

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15 Affidavit of T. Tran

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16 Affidavit of A. Thomson

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17 Text of Proposed Order

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April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016

RECAP
29

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 28 MOTION for Attorney Fees by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Sandberg, Justin) (Entered: 05/26/2016)

May 26, 2016

May 26, 2016

PACER
30

RESPONSE re 28 MOTION for Attorney Fees filed by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit, # 2 Exhibit, # 3 Exhibit)(Sandberg, Justin) (Entered: 06/03/2016)

June 3, 2016

June 3, 2016

PACER
31

REPLY to opposition to motion re 28 MOTION for Attorney Fees filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of T. John Tran, # 2 Exhibit Supplemental Billing Records, # 3 Affidavit of M. Rotenberg, # 4 Affidavit of A. Butler, # 5 Affidavit of T. Tran, # 6 Affidavit of A. Thomson)(Tran, Thailam) (Entered: 06/17/2016)

1 Declaration of T. John Tran

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2 Exhibit Supplemental Billing Records

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3 Affidavit of M. Rotenberg

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4 Affidavit of A. Butler

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5 Affidavit of T. Tran

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6 Affidavit of A. Thomson

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June 17, 2016

June 17, 2016

RECAP
32

ORDER GRANTING IN PART and DENYING IN PART 28 Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney Fees and Costs. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 7/18/16. (lcjeb2) (Entered: 07/18/2016)

July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016

PACER
33

Memorandum Opinion re 32 Order on Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney Fees and Costs. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 7/18/16. (lcjeb2) (Entered: 07/18/2016)

July 18, 2016

July 18, 2016

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

National Security

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Feb. 27, 2013

Closing Date: 2016

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is a nonprofit research organization that conducts government oversight and analyzes the effect of governmental actions on civil liberties and privacy interests.

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 Homeland Security (District of Columbia), 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)

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Confession of Judgment

Amount Defendant Pays: 20,145.04

Issues

General:

Phone

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues