Case: Protect Democracy Project v. U.S. Department of Justice

1:17-cv-00815 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: May 2, 2017

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 2, 2017, the Protect Democracy Project filed this suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). According to the complaint, plaintiff is an organization seeking to "protect our democracy from descending into a more autocratic form of government by preventing those in power from depriving Americans of a free, fair, and fully-informed opportunity to exercise ultimate sovereignty." As part of its activities, plaintiff aims to inform the public about executive branch activity, including …

On May 2, 2017, the Protect Democracy Project filed this suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). According to the complaint, plaintiff is an organization seeking to "protect our democracy from descending into a more autocratic form of government by preventing those in power from depriving Americans of a free, fair, and fully-informed opportunity to exercise ultimate sovereignty." As part of its activities, plaintiff aims to inform the public about executive branch activity, including by filing FOIA requests and releasing the results on its website.

Plaintiff sought disclosure of agency records by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that will shed light on the degree to which (if at all) the agency was consulted prior and subsequent to the implementation of President Trump's Jan. 27 Executive Order 13769, the order restricting travel by nationals of 7 majority-Muslim countries.

The complaint alleged that on Feb. 15, 2017, plaintiff submitted a FOIA request to DOJ seeking copies of records that memorialized the following:

1. Whether DOJ reviewed the EO before it was issued;

2. Whether the EO was transmitted to DOJ for review, comment, or awareness;

3. Whether there was any decision to seek or not seek input from DOJ on creating or implementing the EO;

4. Whether there was any process to obtain DOJ review of the EO;

5. Whether any other federal agency personnel reviewed the EO before it was issued.

The complaint further alleged that, to date, plaintiff had not received a substantive response from DOJ. Plaintiff sought a disclosure order under FOIA and sought legal fees.

The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and was assigned to Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell.

That same day, plaintiff filed another, similar, FOIA lawsuit against the Office of Management and Budget, described here. On June 9, DOJ filed an unopposed motion to consolidate the two cases; Judge Howell granted the motion on June 12. The case was re-assigned to Judge Amit P. Mehta on June 15. The cases have now been consolidated and continue at NS-DC-0112 in this Clearinghouse.

Summary Authors

Ava Morgenstern (7/30/2017)

Related Cases

Protect Democracy Project v. Office of Management and Budget, District of Columbia (2017)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6057867/parties/protect-democracy-project-inc-v-department-of-justice/


Judge(s)

Howell, Beryl Alaine (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Murphy, Allison F. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Berns, Matthew (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Howell, Beryl Alaine (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Murphy, Allison F. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Berns, Matthew (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:17-cv-00815

Docket [PACER]

Protect Democracy Project, INC. v. Department of Justice

June 12, 2017

June 12, 2017

Docket
1

1:17-cv-00815

Complaint

The Protect Democracy Project v. The Department of Justice

May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017

Complaint
1-1

1:17-cv-00815

FOIA Request from Project Democracy

Protect Democracy Project v. Department of Justice

May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017

FOIA Request

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6057867/protect-democracy-project-inc-v-department-of-justice/

Last updated June 4, 2022, 3 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4937291) filed by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Civil Cover Sheet, # 5 Summons, # 6 Certificate Rule LCvR 7.1)(Murphy, Allison) (Entered: 05/03/2017)

May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017

PACER
2

LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. (md) (Entered: 05/03/2017)

May 3, 2017

May 3, 2017

PACER

Case Assigned to Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell. (md)

May 3, 2017

May 3, 2017

PACER
3

SUMMONS Issued Electronically as to DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Attachments: # 1 Notice of Consent) (md) (Entered: 05/03/2017)

May 3, 2017

May 3, 2017

PACER

SUMMONS Not Issued as to U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney General. (SUMMONS WERE NOT SUBMITTED AT THE TIME COMPLAINT WAS FILED) (md)

May 3, 2017

May 3, 2017

PACER
4

STANDING ORDER. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on May 4, 2017. (lcbah2) (Entered: 05/04/2017)

May 4, 2017

May 4, 2017

PACER
5

REQUEST FOR SUMMONS TO ISSUE re 1 Complaint, filed by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.. Related document: 1 Complaint, filed by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC..(Murphy, Allison) (Entered: 05/13/2017)

May 13, 2017

May 13, 2017

PACER
6

REQUEST FOR SUMMONS TO ISSUE re 1 Complaint, filed by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.. Related document: 1 Complaint, filed by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC..(Murphy, Allison) (Entered: 05/13/2017)

May 13, 2017

May 13, 2017

PACER
7

SUMMONS (2) Issued Electronically as to U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (znmw) (Entered: 05/15/2017)

May 15, 2017

May 15, 2017

PACER
8

RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 5/22/2017. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 6/21/2017.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 5/22/2017., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE served on 5/22/2017 (Murphy, Allison) (Main Document 8 replaced on 6/5/2017) (znmw). (Entered: 06/02/2017)

June 2, 2017

June 2, 2017

PACER
9

NOTICE of Appearance by Matthew Joseph Berns on behalf of DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 06/09/2017)

June 9, 2017

June 9, 2017

PACER
10

NOTICE OF RELATED CASE by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. Case related to Case No. 1:17-cv-00814. (Attachments: # 1 Copy of Unopposed Motion to Consolidate Related Cases (filed in 1:17-cv-00814))(Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 06/09/2017)

June 9, 2017

June 9, 2017

PACER

CASES CONSOLIDATED. Case 17-cv-814 and 17-cv-815 have been consolidated pursuant to Minute Order filed 6/12/17. From this date forward all pleadings shall be filed ONLY in lead case number 17-cv-814 APM. The parties are advised NOT to elect to SPREAD text when filing in ECF, as this will result in repetitive docketing and emails. (td)

June 12, 2017

June 12, 2017

PACER
11

Case directly reassigned to Judge Amit P. Mehta as related. Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell is no longer assigned to the case. (ztnr) (Entered: 06/15/2017)

June 15, 2017

June 15, 2017

PACER
12

ENTERED IN ERROR.....Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) Modified on 5/8/2018 (jf). (Entered: 05/08/2018)

May 8, 2018

May 8, 2018

PACER

NOTICE OF CORRECTED DOCKET ENTRY: Document No. re 12 Status Report was entered in error and will be refiled in 17cv0814. (jf)

May 8, 2018

May 8, 2018

PACER
13

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 09/11/2018)

Sept. 11, 2018

Sept. 11, 2018

PACER
14

Case Reassigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly as there is an earlier related case. Judge Amit P. Mehta is no longer assigned to the case. (rj) (Entered: 09/20/2018)

Sept. 20, 2018

Sept. 20, 2018

PACER
15

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 04/09/2019)

April 9, 2019

April 9, 2019

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

National Security

Special Collection(s):

Trump Administration FOIA cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 2, 2017

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiff is an organization seeking to "protect our democracy from descending into a more autocratic form of government by preventing those in power from depriving Americans of a free, fair, and fully-informed opportunity to exercise ultimate sovereignty." As part of its activities, plaintiff aims to inform the public about executive branch activity, including by filing FOIA requests and releasing the results on its website.

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

U.S. 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)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Issues

General:

Confidentiality

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues

Discrimination-basis:

National origin discrimination

Religion discrimination

Immigration/Border:

Admission - criteria

Admission - procedure

Asylum - criteria

Asylum - procedure

Status/Classification

Visas - criteria

Visas - procedures

National Origin/Ethnicity:

Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern