Case: James Madison Project (Daily Beast) v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security

1:17-cv-01281 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: June 29, 2017

Closed Date: April 19, 2019

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 29, 2017, the James Madison Project, Noah Shachtman, and Betsy Woodruff sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The James Madison Project (JMP) is an organization established in 1998 "to promote government accountability and the reduction of secrecy, as well as [to educate] the public on issues relating to intelligence and national security." Noah Schactman is the current Editor-in-Chief (previously the Executive Editor) of The Daily B…

On June 29, 2017, the James Madison Project, Noah Shachtman, and Betsy Woodruff sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The James Madison Project (JMP) is an organization established in 1998 "to promote government accountability and the reduction of secrecy, as well as [to educate] the public on issues relating to intelligence and national security." Noah Schactman is the current Editor-in-Chief (previously the Executive Editor) of The Daily Beast, and Betsy Woodruff was a politics reporter for the publication at the time. Private counsel represented plaintiffs, who filed their complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Plaintiffs sought disclosure of agency records by DHS and its subordinate entities: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Specifically, plaintiffs sought the disclosure of records clarifying the extent to which U.S. lawful permanent residents (LPRs) were coerced into surrendering their residency statuses, once DHS began implementing President Trump's Jan. 27 Executive Order 13769 but before DHS stopped enforcing it on Feb. 4. According to plaintiffs, lawyers for some travelers affected by the EO claimed their clients were, during this implementation period, pressured to sign I-407 forms surrendering their LPR status.

The complaint alleged that on Mar. 3, 2017, plaintiffs submitted a FOIA request to the defendant federal agencies seeking copies of records memorializing:

1. Instructions or guidelines – including verbal instructions memorialized in writing – provided to CBP officials with respect to agency practice for presenting I-407 forms to individuals impacted by the EO;

2. Communications between CBP officials – including verbal communications memorialized in writing – mentioning I-407 forms between Jan. 27 and Feb. 5;

3. Any documentation tabulating or calculating the number of individuals who signed I-407 forms between Jan. 27 and Feb. 5;

4. Copies of the actual I-407 forms signed between Jan. 27 and Feb. 5.

The complaint further alleged that, to date, the plaintiffs had not received a substantive response from any of the defendant agencies, and that the plaintiffs had constructively exhausted all required administrative remedies. The plaintiffs sought a disclosure order under FOIA, legal fees, and expedited action.

(Plaintiff James Madison Project also has two similar FOIA cases in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, summarized in this Clearinghouse: one by the Daily Beast against the Department of Justice (NS-DC-0106) and one by Politico against DHS (NS-DC-0107).

On June 29, the case was assigned to Judge James E. Boasberg.

On Sept. 7, the parties reported that USCIS and CBP were searching for records responsive to plaintiff's request and needed another month to prepare a list. On Oct. 10, the parties reported the following: TSA had located no responsive documents; USCIS had located no responsive records for some requests and had withheld responsive records for other requests due to privacy; and CBP had located a few responsive records.

Judge Boasberg then ordered defendant (USCIS and CBP) to provide its first production of non-exempt portions of responsive records by Nov. 6 and its second production by Dec. 7.

On Nov. 6, the parties reported that defendants were following the schedule ordered by Judge Boasberg.

The following status report, of Jan. 5, 2018, noted that USCIS and CBP had both produced more responsive non-exempt records and informed plaintiff that the search was completed. The parties agreed to meet to confer on next steps.

The Feb. 1 status report stated that the parties needed more time to discuss search declarations, before deciding whether to brief motions. A status report filed on Apr. 13 informed the Court that plaintiffs accepted TSA's productions and the sufficiency of USCIS's and CBP's searches, but would challenge denials and redactions of some of USCIS's and CBP's productions. Status reports filed October through December indicated the production was ongoing.

Though the documents released by the government are not available online, this news article references some of their contents.

On June 15, 2018, the defendants submitted a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the I-407 forms in question were exempt and properly withheld. The plaintiffs responded to the motion on July 16, claiming that the categorical refusal to produce the I-407 forms was improper and that their redactions were unjustified. After a conference call on October 3, the defendant submitted a status report on October 5, with the defendant’s agreement to respond to the plaintiff’s FOIA requests and a proposed schedule. The court, as agreed in the report, ordered the defendant to provide rolling productions every 60 days of the I-407 forms and a joint status report every 45 days.

Production followed the next few months. On December 26, 2018, the defendant moved for a stay of production schedule due to lapse of appropriations, which resulted in a temporary prohibition of DOJ’s work. Two days later, the court granted the motion. According to the February 1, 2019 status report, the funding was restored and the defendants had completed their required production on December 18, 2018. The parties then continued to provide status reports regarding attorney fees.

On April 19, 2019, the plaintiffs submitted a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice, and the court ordered dismissal the same day. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Ava Morgenstern (4/21/2018)

Virginia Weeks (12/4/2018)

Averyn Lee (6/6/2020)

Related Cases

James Madison Project (Daily Beast) v. U.S. Department of Justice, District of Columbia (2017)

James Madison Project (Politico) v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, District of Columbia (2017)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6082694/parties/james-madison-project-v-department-of-homeland-security/


Judge(s)

Boasberg, James Emanuel (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Moss, Bradley Prescott (District of Columbia)

Zaid, Mark S. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Drezner, Michael Leon (District of Columbia)

Hunt, Joseph H. (District of Columbia)

Readler, Chad Andrew (District of Columbia)

Shapiro, Elizabeth J. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Boasberg, James Emanuel (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Moss, Bradley Prescott (District of Columbia)

Zaid, Mark S. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Drezner, Michael Leon (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-01281

Docket [PACER]

James Madison Project v. DHS

April 19, 2019

April 19, 2019

Docket
1

1:17-cv-01281

Complaint

James Madison Project, Shachtman, and Woodruff v. DHS

June 29, 2017

June 29, 2017

Complaint
7

1:17-cv-01281

Joint Status Report

James Madison Project v. Department of Homeland Security

Oct. 10, 2017

Oct. 10, 2017

Pleading / Motion / Brief
8

1:17-cv-01281

Joint Status Report

The James Madison Project v. Department of Homeland Security

Nov. 6, 2017

Nov. 6, 2017

Pleading / Motion / Brief
9

1:17-cv-01281

Joint Status Report

James Madison Project (Daily Beast) v. DHS

Jan. 5, 2018

Jan. 5, 2018

Pleading / Motion / Brief
10

1:17-cv-01281

Joint Status Report

James Madison Project (Daily Beast) v. DHS

Feb. 1, 2018

Feb. 1, 2018

Pleading / Motion / Brief
11

1:17-cv-01281

Joint Status Report

James Madison Project v. Department of Homeland Security

April 13, 2018

April 13, 2018

Pleading / Motion / Brief
15

1:17-cv-01281

Joint Status Report

The James Madison Project v. Department of Homeland Security

Oct. 5, 2018

Oct. 5, 2018

Pleading / Motion / Brief
18

1:17-cv-01281

Motion for a Stay of Production Schedule in Light of Lapse of Appropriations

The James Madison Project v. Department of Homeland Security

Dec. 26, 2018

Dec. 26, 2018

Pleading / Motion / Brief
19

1:17-cv-01281

Joint Motion to Enter Scheduling Order

The James Madison Project v. Department of Homeland Security

Feb. 1, 2019

Feb. 1, 2019

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6082694/james-madison-project-v-department-of-homeland-security/

Last updated Aug. 30, 2022, 3:02 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-5012498) filed by THE JAMES MADISON PROJECT, BETSY WOODRUFF, NOAH SHACHTMAN. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Exhibit Rule 7.1 certification, # 3 Summons DHS, # 4 Summons USADC, # 5 Summons USAG)(Moss, Bradley) (Entered: 06/29/2017)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

2 Exhibit Rule 7.1 certification

View on PACER

3 Summons DHS

View on PACER

4 Summons USADC

View on PACER

5 Summons USAG

View on PACER

June 29, 2017

June 29, 2017

RECAP

Case Assigned to Judge James E. Boasberg. (sth)

June 29, 2017

June 29, 2017

PACER
2

SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Summons, # 2 Summons, # 3 Summons)(sth) (Entered: 06/29/2017)

June 29, 2017

June 29, 2017

PACER
3

NOTICE of Appearance by Michael Leon Drezner on behalf of All Defendants (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 08/08/2017)

Aug. 8, 2017

Aug. 8, 2017

PACER
4

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to Answer or Respond to the Complaint by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 08/08/2017)

Aug. 8, 2017

Aug. 8, 2017

PACER

MINUTE ORDER GRANTING 4 Motion for Extension of Time to File. The Court ORDERS that Defendant shall file any Answer/Response to the Complaint on or before August 23, 2017. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 8/9/2017. (lcjeb3)

Aug. 9, 2017

Aug. 9, 2017

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Answer due by 8/23/2017. (nbn)

Aug. 9, 2017

Aug. 9, 2017

PACER
5

ANSWER to Complaint by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.(Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 08/23/2017)

Aug. 23, 2017

Aug. 23, 2017

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that the parties shall meet, confer, and submit a joint proposed briefing schedule by September 7, 2017. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 8/24/2017. (lcjeb3)

Aug. 24, 2017

Aug. 24, 2017

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Proposed Briefing Schedule due by 9/7/2017 (lsj)

Aug. 24, 2017

Aug. 24, 2017

PACER
6

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 09/07/2017)

Sept. 7, 2017

Sept. 7, 2017

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: Per the parties' 6 Joint Status Report, the Court ORDERS that the parties shall submit a joint status report on or before October 7, 2017, updating the Court as to the status of the case, and shall submit a subsequent joint status report on or before November 6, 2017. Signed by Judge James E. Boasberg on 9/7/2017. (lcjeb2)

Sept. 7, 2017

Sept. 7, 2017

PACER
7

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 10/10/2017)

Oct. 10, 2017

Oct. 10, 2017

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: Pursuant to the parties' 7 Joint Status Report, the Court ORDERS that: 1) Defendant shall provide its first production on or before November 6, 2017; 2) Defendant shall provide its second production on or before December 7, 2017, if needed; 3) the parties shall file a Joint Status Report on or before November 6, 2017; and 4) the parties shall file additional Joint Status Reports every 60 days thereafter. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 10/11/2017. (lcjeb3)

Oct. 11, 2017

Oct. 11, 2017

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: First production due by 11/6/2017. Second production due by 12/7/2017. Joint Status Report due by 11/6/2017. (nbn)

Oct. 11, 2017

Oct. 11, 2017

PACER
8

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 11/06/2017)

Nov. 6, 2017

Nov. 6, 2017

PACER
9

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 01/05/2018)

Jan. 5, 2018

Jan. 5, 2018

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: Per the parties' 9 Joint Status Report, the Court ORDERS that they shall file a further Joint Status Report on or before February 2, 2018. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 1/5/2018. (lcjeb3)

Jan. 5, 2018

Jan. 5, 2018

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 2/2/2018. (nbn)

Jan. 5, 2018

Jan. 5, 2018

PACER
10

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 02/01/2018)

Feb. 1, 2018

Feb. 1, 2018

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: Per the parties' suggestion, the Court ORDERS that they shall file a further Joint Status Report on or before April 13, 2018. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 2/1/2018. (lcjeb3)

Feb. 1, 2018

Feb. 1, 2018

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 4/13/2018 (lsj)

Feb. 2, 2018

Feb. 2, 2018

PACER
11

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 04/13/2018)

April 13, 2018

April 13, 2018

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: Pursuant to the parties' 11 Joint Status Report, the Court ORDERS that: 1) Defendant shall file its Motion for Summary Judgment on or before June 15, 2018; 2) Plaintiffs shall file their Response on or before July 16, 2018; and 3) Defendant shall file its Reply on or before August 17, 2018. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 4/13/2018. (lcjeb3)

April 13, 2018

April 13, 2018

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Summary Judgment motions due by 6/15/2018. Response to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 7/16/2018. Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 8/17/2018. (znbn)

April 13, 2018

April 13, 2018

PACER
12

MOTION for Summary Judgment by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Statement of Facts, # 3 Viker Declaration, # 4 Viker Decl. Exhibit 1, # 5 Viker Decl. Exhibit 2, # 6 Viker Decl. Exhibit 3, # 7 Howard Declaration, # 8 Howard Decl. Ex. 1, # 9 Text of Proposed Order)(Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 06/15/2018)

7

View on RECAP

8

View on RECAP

June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018

PACER
13

Memorandum in opposition to re 12 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by JAMES MADISON PROJECT, NOAH SHACHTMAN, BETSY WOODRUFF. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - Moss Declaration, # 2 Statement of Facts Response, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Moss, Bradley) (Entered: 07/16/2018)

July 16, 2018

July 16, 2018

PACER
14

REPLY to opposition to motion re 12 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 08/17/2018)

Aug. 17, 2018

Aug. 17, 2018

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that a conference call in Chambers is hereby set for Wednesday, October 3, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the status of the narrowed dispute. The Court ORDERS that the parties shall dial into Chambers' toll-free conference-call number, (877) 402-9753, at this time (in Chambers). Chambers will contact the parties via email with the dial-in code. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 10/1/2018. (lcjeb3)

Oct. 1, 2018

Oct. 1, 2018

PACER

Set/Reset Hearings: Telephone Conference set for 10/3/2018 at 09:30 AM in Chambers before Judge James E. Boasberg. (znbn)

Oct. 1, 2018

Oct. 1, 2018

PACER
15

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 10/05/2018)

Oct. 5, 2018

Oct. 5, 2018

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: The Court ADOPTS the parties' 15 Joint Status Report and ORDERS that they shall file a proposed production schedule on or before October 19, 2018. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 10/5/2018. (lcjeb2)

Oct. 5, 2018

Oct. 5, 2018

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Proposed Production Schedule due by 10/19/2018 (lsj)

Oct. 5, 2018

Oct. 5, 2018

PACER
16

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 10/19/2018)

Oct. 19, 2018

Oct. 19, 2018

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: Per the parties' 16 Joint Status Report, the Court ORDERS that: 1) Defendant shall provide rolling productions every 60 days of those I-407 forms which have been fully processed; 2) The parties shall submit a joint status report by December 3, 2018; and 3) The parties shall file additional joint status reports every 45 days thereafter. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 10/19/2018. (lcjeb3)

Oct. 19, 2018

Oct. 19, 2018

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 12/3/2018. (znbn)

Oct. 19, 2018

Oct. 19, 2018

PACER
17

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 12/03/2018)

Dec. 3, 2018

Dec. 3, 2018

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: The Court ADOPTS the parties' 17 Joint Status Report and ORDERS that they shall file another joint status report on or before January 17, 2019. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 12/3/2018. (lcjeb3)

Dec. 3, 2018

Dec. 3, 2018

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 1/17/2019. (znbn)

Dec. 3, 2018

Dec. 3, 2018

PACER
18

Consent MOTION to Stay by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 12/26/2018)

Dec. 26, 2018

Dec. 26, 2018

PACER

MINUTE ORDER GRANTING Consent 18 Motion to Stay. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 12/26/2018. (lcjeb1)

Dec. 26, 2018

Dec. 26, 2018

PACER
19

Joint MOTION for Scheduling Order by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 02/01/2019)

Feb. 1, 2019

Feb. 1, 2019

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: The Court ORDERS that the Joint 19 Motion is GRANTED, and that the parties shall file a status report setting forth their progress on an agreement concerning attorney fees and costs and, if necessary, proposing a briefing schedule on this issue by March 15, 2019. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 2/1/2019. (lcjeb3)

Feb. 1, 2019

Feb. 1, 2019

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Proposed Briefing Schedule due by 3/15/2019. (znbn)

Feb. 1, 2019

Feb. 1, 2019

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: Given the resolution of the underlying issues in the case, as explained in the parties' 19 Motion for Scheduling Order, the Court ORDERS that Defendant's 12 Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED as moot. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 2/4/2019. (lcjeb3)

Feb. 4, 2019

Feb. 4, 2019

PACER
20

Joint STATUS REPORT by DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. (Drezner, Michael) (Entered: 03/15/2019)

March 15, 2019

March 15, 2019

PACER

.Order

March 18, 2019

March 18, 2019

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines

March 18, 2019

March 18, 2019

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: The Court ADOPTS the parties' 20 Joint Status Report and ORDERS that they shall file a joint status report updating the Court on the status of negotiations concerning attorney fees and costs on or before April 19, 2019. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 3/18/2019. (lcjeb3)

March 18, 2019

March 18, 2019

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Joint Status Report due by 4/19/2019. (znbn)

March 18, 2019

March 18, 2019

PACER
21

STIPULATION of Dismissal by JAMES MADISON PROJECT, NOAH SHACHTMAN, BETSY WOODRUFF. (Moss, Bradley) (Entered: 04/19/2019)

April 19, 2019

April 19, 2019

PACER

.Order

April 19, 2019

April 19, 2019

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: Per Plaintiffs' 21 Stipulation, the Court ORDERS that the case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. So ORDERED by Judge James E. Boasberg on 4/19/2019. (lcjeb3)

April 19, 2019

April 19, 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: June 29, 2017

Closing Date: April 19, 2019

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The James Madison Project (JMP) is an organization established in 1998 "to promote government accountability and the reduction of secrecy, as well as [to educate] the public on issues relating to intelligence and national security." Noah Schactman is the current Executive Editor of The Daily Beast, and Betsy Woodruff is a politics reporter for the publication.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 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: Unknown

Nature of Relief:

Unknown

Source of Relief:

Unknown

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Issues

General:

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues

Discrimination-basis:

National origin discrimination

Religion discrimination

Immigration/Border:

Admission - criteria

Admission - procedure

Border police

Constitutional rights

Status/Classification

Visas - criteria

Visas - procedures

National Origin/Ethnicity:

Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern