Case: Protect Democracy Project v. Office of Management and Budget

1:17-cv-00814 | 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 lawsuit 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, includi…

On May 2, 2017, the Protect Democracy Project filed this lawsuit 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 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that will shed light on the degree to which (if at all) any federal agencies were consulted prior and subsequent to the implementation of President Trump's Jan. 27 Executive Order 13769, which restricted travel to the U.S. by nationals of seven majority-Muslim countries.

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

1. Whether any federal agency personnel reviewed the EO before it was issued, including whether DOJ reviewed it for lawfulness or deemed it lawful or unlawful;

2. Whether the EO was transmitted to any federal agency for review, comment, or awareness, including but not limited to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or DOJ;

3. Whether there was a decision to seek or not seek input from federal agency personnel on the creation or implementation of the EO, including but not limited to DHS or DOJ;

4. Whether there was any process for obtaining agency input regarding the EO.

The complaint further alleged that, to date, plaintiff had not received a substantive response from OMB. 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 Judge Amit P. Mehta.

That same day, plaintiff filed another, similar, FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Justice, described here. On June 9, OMB filed an unopposed motion to consolidate the two cases; Judge Mehta granted the motion on June 12. The cases have now been consolidated and continue on this page.

OMB and DOJ both answered plaintiff's complaint on June 21. The parties filed a joint status report on July 10. Judge Mehta set the next status report to be due on Aug. 8, and every month subsequent until a further Court order.

On Aug. 8, the parties filed the next joint status report. OMB anticipated releasing the requested records in September, and DOJ would provide a progress update in a subsequent status report.

In the subsequent status report, on Sept. 12, OMB anticipated completing its records search by Sept. 22. DOJ reported that it had located and released only one responsive record so far, and would release more documents on a rolling schedule beginning in October.

This case was reassigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly on Sept. 19.

In the parties' Oct. 10 joint status report, DOJ reported that it had found approximately 5,500 records responsive either to plaintiff's FOIA request or to the FOIA requests submitted by others seeking records related to the same general subject matter. DOJ anticipated beginning rolling releases of this material within the month of October.

In the next status report of Nov. 14, OMB reported that it had completed its processing. DOJ reported that it had produced some documents in October and would continue to do so on a rolling basis.

In the Dec. 12, 2017 status report, DOJ added that it had produced more documents in November and would continue to produce documents approximately monthly. All subsequent status reports have stated the same.

Monthly status reports continued for the next 1.5 years except the month of January and February of 2019, for which an unopposed motion to stay due to the lapse of appropriations was granted. In the latest status report on April 9, 2019, the defendant indicated that they have continued to make monthly productions. The documents released by the government are available through this case page, below.

On May 7, 2019 the parties filed a joint stipulation of voluntary dismissal with prejudice, with each party bearings its own attorneys’ fees and costs.

Summary Authors

Ava Morgenstern (4/21/2018)

Virginia Weeks (9/26/2018)

Averyn Lee (6/6/2020)

Related Cases

Protect Democracy Project v. U.S. Department of Justice, District of Columbia (2017)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6085674/parties/protect-democracy-project-inc-v-office-of-management-and-budget/


Judge(s)

Kelly, Timothy James (District of Columbia)

Mehta, Amit Priyavadan (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Florence, Justin (District of Columbia)

Murphy, Allison F. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Andrapalliyal, Vinita (District of Columbia)

Berns, Matthew (District of Columbia)

Hunt, Joseph H. (District of Columbia)

Readler, Chad Andrew (District of Columbia)

Shapiro, Elizabeth J. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Kelly, Timothy James (District of Columbia)

Mehta, Amit Priyavadan (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Florence, Justin (District of Columbia)

Murphy, Allison F. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Andrapalliyal, Vinita (District of Columbia)

Berns, Matthew (District of Columbia)

Hunt, Joseph H. (District of Columbia)

Readler, Chad Andrew (District of Columbia)

Shapiro, Elizabeth J. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:17-cv-00814

Docket [PACER]

Protect Democracy Project, INC. v. Office of Management and Budget

May 7, 2019

May 7, 2019

Docket
1

1:17-cv-00814

Complaint

The Protect Democracy Project, INC. v. The Office of Management and Budget

May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017

Complaint
1-1

1:17-cv-00814

FOIA Request from Project Democracy [Exhibit A to the Complaint]

May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017

FOIA Request
9

1:17-cv-00814

Notice of Appearance

June 9, 2017

June 9, 2017

Pleading / Motion / Brief
11

1:17-cv-00814

Unopposed Motion to Consolidate Related Cases

The Protect Democracy project v. Office of Management and Budget

June 9, 2017

June 9, 2017

Pleading / Motion / Brief
15

1:17-cv-00814

Joint Status Report

The Protect Democracy Project v. Office of Management and Budget

July 6, 2017

July 6, 2017

Pleading / Motion / Brief

1:17-cv-00814

[FOIA Release]

The Protect Democracy v. Office of Management and Budget

Aug. 7, 2017

Aug. 7, 2017

Discovery Material/FOIA Release
16

1:17-cv-00814

Joint Status Report

Protect Democracy Project v. OMB and DOJ

Aug. 8, 2017

Aug. 8, 2017

Pleading / Motion / Brief

1:17-cv-00814

[FOIA Release]

The Protect Democracy Project v. OMB

Sept. 22, 2017

Sept. 22, 2017

Discovery Material/FOIA Release
18

1:17-cv-00814

Joint Status Report

The Protect Democracy Project v. Office of Management and Budget

Oct. 10, 2017

Oct. 10, 2017

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6085674/protect-democracy-project-inc-v-office-of-management-and-budget/

Last updated Aug. 15, 2022, 3:05 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4937287) filed by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Civil Cover Sheet, # 4 Summons)(Murphy, Allison) (Entered: 05/02/2017)

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

3 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

4 Summons

View on PACER

May 2, 2017

May 2, 2017

RECAP
2

NOTICE Certificate LCvR 7.1 by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. re 1 Complaint, (Murphy, Allison) (Entered: 05/03/2017)

May 3, 2017

May 3, 2017

PACER
3

SUMMONS (1) Issued Electronically as to OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Attachment: # 1 Consent Forms)(jd) (Entered: 05/03/2017)

May 3, 2017

May 3, 2017

PACER
4

LCvR 7.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.;(See docket entry no. 2 to view document.) (td) (Entered: 05/04/2017)

May 3, 2017

May 3, 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.. (Attachments: # 1 Complaint)(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 (jf) (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 5/25/2017. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 6/24/2017.), 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. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET served on 5/23/2017 (Murphy, Allison) (Main Document 8 replaced on 6/5/2017) (jf). (Entered: 06/02/2017)

June 2, 2017

June 2, 2017

PACER
9

NOTICE of Appearance by Matthew Joseph Berns on behalf of OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 06/09/2017)

June 9, 2017

June 9, 2017

PACER
10

NOTICE OF RELATED CASE by All Defendants. Case related to Case No. 1:17-cv-00815. (Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 06/09/2017)

June 9, 2017

June 9, 2017

PACER
11

Unopposed MOTION to Consolidate Cases by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 06/09/2017)

June 9, 2017

June 9, 2017

PACER
12

ANSWER to Complaint by OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET.(Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 06/21/2017)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
13

ANSWER to Complaint filed in Docket No. 1:17-cv-815 by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.(Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 06/21/2017)

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

PACER
14

ORDER: Both a Complaint and Answers are now before the court in this FOIA case. It is hereby ordered that the parties shall meet and confer and file a Joint Status Report on or before July 6, 2017. See attached Order for additional details. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 06/22/2017. (lcapm3) (Entered: 06/22/2017)

June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017

PACER
15

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 07/06/2017)

July 6, 2017

July 6, 2017

RECAP
16

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 08/08/2017)

Aug. 8, 2017

Aug. 8, 2017

RECAP
17

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 09/12/2017)

Sept. 12, 2017

Sept. 12, 2017

PACER

Case directly reassigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly. Judge Amit P. Mehta is no longer assigned to the case. (ztnr)

Sept. 19, 2017

Sept. 19, 2017

PACER
18

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 10/10/2017)

Oct. 10, 2017

Oct. 10, 2017

PACER
19

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 11/14/2017)

Nov. 14, 2017

Nov. 14, 2017

PACER
20

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Berns, Matthew) (Entered: 12/12/2017)

Dec. 12, 2017

Dec. 12, 2017

PACER
21

Joint STATUS REPORT by PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.. (Murphy, Allison) (Entered: 01/08/2018)

Jan. 8, 2018

Jan. 8, 2018

PACER
22

NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Vinita Balakrishnan Andrapalliyal on behalf of DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET Substituting for attorney Matthew J. Berns (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 02/08/2018)

Feb. 8, 2018

Feb. 8, 2018

PACER
23

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 02/13/2018)

Feb. 13, 2018

Feb. 13, 2018

PACER
24

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 03/13/2018)

March 13, 2018

March 13, 2018

PACER
25

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 04/10/2018)

April 10, 2018

April 10, 2018

PACER
26

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 05/08/2018)

May 8, 2018

May 8, 2018

PACER
27

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 06/12/2018)

June 12, 2018

June 12, 2018

PACER
28

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 07/10/2018)

July 10, 2018

July 10, 2018

PACER
29

NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF APPEARANCE as to PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC.. Attorney Allison F. Murphy terminated. (Murphy, Allison) (Entered: 08/01/2018)

Aug. 1, 2018

Aug. 1, 2018

PACER
30

NOTICE of Appearance by Justin G. Florence on behalf of PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. (Florence, Justin) (Entered: 08/01/2018)

Aug. 1, 2018

Aug. 1, 2018

PACER
31

NOTICE of Appearance by Justin G. Florence on behalf of PROTECT DEMOCRACY PROJECT, INC. (Florence, Justin) (Entered: 08/14/2018)

Aug. 14, 2018

Aug. 14, 2018

PACER
32

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 08/14/2018)

Aug. 14, 2018

Aug. 14, 2018

PACER
33

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

Sept. 11, 2018

Sept. 11, 2018

PACER
34

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 10/05/2018)

Oct. 5, 2018

Oct. 5, 2018

PACER
35

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 11/13/2018)

Nov. 13, 2018

Nov. 13, 2018

PACER
36

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 12/11/2018)

Dec. 11, 2018

Dec. 11, 2018

PACER
37

Unopposed MOTION to Stay Joint Status Report Deadline in Light of Lapse of Appropriations by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 01/04/2019)

Jan. 4, 2019

Jan. 4, 2019

PACER

MINUTE ORDER granting Defendants' 37 Consent Motion to Stay. These cases shall be stayed until further order of the Court. It is further ordered that the parties shall file a joint status report within three days after funding is restored for the Department of Justice. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 1/7/2019. (lctjk1)

Jan. 7, 2019

Jan. 7, 2019

PACER
38

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 01/30/2019)

Jan. 30, 2019

Jan. 30, 2019

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: In light of the parties' Joint Status Report, it is hereby ORDERED that the parties shall file their next joint status report on or before March 12, 2019. It is further ORDERED that the parties shall continue to file joint status reports on the second Tuesday of every month thereafter pursuant to the Court's July 10, 2017 minute order. It is further ORDERED that the stay in these cases is LIFTED. Signed by Judge Timothy J. Kelly on 1/31/2019. (lctjk1)

Jan. 31, 2019

Jan. 31, 2019

PACER
39

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 03/12/2019)

March 12, 2019

March 12, 2019

PACER
40

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

April 9, 2019

April 9, 2019

PACER
41

STIPULATION of Dismissal Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(ii) by DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. (Andrapalliyal, Vinita) (Entered: 05/07/2019)

May 7, 2019

May 7, 2019

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

National Security

Special Collection(s):

Trump Administration FOIA cases

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

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. Office of Management and Budget, 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: Unknown

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal

Issues

General:

Confidentiality

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues

Discrimination-basis:

National origin discrimination

Religion discrimination

Type of Facility:

Government-run

Immigration/Border:

Admission - criteria

Admission - procedure

Asylum - criteria

Asylum - procedure

Status/Classification

Visas - criteria

Visas - procedures

National Origin/Ethnicity:

Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern