Case: Students for Fair Admissions v. U.S. Department of Education

1:16-cv-02154 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: Oct. 27, 2016

Closed Date: Dec. 11, 2017

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On Oct. 27, 2016, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (SFFA) sued the U.S. Department of Education in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to compel compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552.In its complaint, the plaintiff alleged that on Jan. 11, 2016 it submitted a request under FOIA, seeking all documents pertaining to the investigation of Princeton University in Case No. 02-08-6002. The defendant allegedly acknowledged receiving the request in a le…

On Oct. 27, 2016, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (SFFA) sued the U.S. Department of Education in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to compel compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552.

In its complaint, the plaintiff alleged that on Jan. 11, 2016 it submitted a request under FOIA, seeking all documents pertaining to the investigation of Princeton University in Case No. 02-08-6002. The defendant allegedly acknowledged receiving the request in a letter dated Jan. 13, 2016, but repeatedly stated that it did not have a specific completion time available or did not respond to the plaintiff's numerous requests for updates about when the request would be completed. As of Oct. 27, 2016, the date that the suit was filed, the defendant had still not produced the requested records. The plaintiff requested that the court (1) order the defendant to search for the records, (2) order the defendant to produce the records, (3) enjoin the defendant from continuing to withhold the records, (4) grant the plaintiff attorneys' fees and costs, and (5) grant the plaintiff such other relief the court found just and proper.

On Oct. 28, 2016, the case was assigned to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan.

On Dec. 1, 2016, the Department of Education (DOE) notified Princeton University that the plaintiff had requested documents related to the DOE's investigation of Princeton and that the plaintiff had filed a lawsuit to compel the DOE to produce the requested materials. Princeton objected to the disclosure, arguing that the materials were exempt under FOIA Exemptions 4, 6, and 7(c).

On Mar. 1, 2017, the DOE informed Princeton that it had reviewed the objections and concluded that none of FOIA's exemptions required it to withhold the materials from the plaintiffs. Accordingly, the DOE informed Princeton that it would be producing the requested materials to the plaintiff, with personally identifiable information redacted, in 10 business days.

On Mar. 17, 2017, Princeton filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the DOE seeking to enjoin the disclosure of the materials identified in the plaintiff's FOIA request. Trustees of Princeton University v. U.S. Dep't of Education, No. 17-cv-00485 (D.D.C.). This case was also assigned to District Judge Chutkan.

On the same day, the defendant notified the plaintiff that it would not be producing the requested documents due to Princeton's lawsuit. Soon after, the plaintiff notified Princeton and the DOE that, due to the overlapping nature of the parties' cases, the plaintiff would move to intervene in Trustees of Princeton University v. U.S. Dep't of Education, No. 17-cv-00485, and to consolidate it with the present case. Both Princeton and the DOE consented to the motion.

On Mar. 30, 2017, the DOE moved to stay the proceedings pending resolution of the parties' anticipated cross-motions for summary judgment in the related case.

On May 9, 2017, the present case was consolidated into Case No. 17-cv-00485.

On. Dec. 7, 2017, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of this case without prejudice.

On Dec. 11, 2017, in light of the joint stipulation of dismissal filed by the parties, Judge Chutkan issued an order converting the administrative dismissal into a dismissal without prejudice.

Summary Authors

Elizabeth Greiter (2/24/2018)

Related Cases

Trustees of Princeton University v. United States Department of Education, District of Columbia (2017)

Students for Fair Admissions v. University of Texas at Austin, Texas state trial court (2017)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4498943/parties/students-for-fair-admissions-inc-v-us-department-of-education/


Judge(s)

Chutkan, Tanya Sue (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Connolly, John Michael (Virginia)

Harrison, Lindsay C (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Schaefer, Daniel Patrick (District of Columbia)

Snell, Kevin Matthew (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Chutkan, Tanya Sue (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Connolly, John Michael (Virginia)

Harrison, Lindsay C (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Schaefer, Daniel Patrick (District of Columbia)

Snell, Kevin Matthew (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:16-cv-02154

Docket [Pacer]

Students for Fair Admissions, INC. v. U.S. Department of Education

Dec. 11, 2017

Dec. 11, 2017

Docket
1

1:16-cv-02154

Complaint

Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Education

Oct. 27, 2016

Oct. 27, 2016

Complaint

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4498943/students-for-fair-admissions-inc-v-us-department-of-education/

Last updated July 24, 2022, 3:09 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-4723631) filed by STUDENTS FOR FAIR ADMISSIONS, INC.. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons, # 3 Summons, # 4 Summons)(Connolly, John) (Entered: 10/27/2016)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

2 Summons

View on PACER

3 Summons

View on PACER

4 Summons

View on PACER

Oct. 27, 2016

Oct. 27, 2016

RECAP
2

Corporate Disclosure Statement by STUDENTS FOR FAIR ADMISSIONS, INC.. (Connolly, John) (Entered: 10/27/2016)

Oct. 27, 2016

Oct. 27, 2016

RECAP

Case Assigned to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan. (sb)

Oct. 28, 2016

Oct. 28, 2016

PACER
3

SUMMONS (3) Issued Electronically as to U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachment: # 1 Consent Form)(sb) (Entered: 10/28/2016)

Oct. 28, 2016

Oct. 28, 2016

PACER
4

RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 11/1/2016. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 12/1/2016. (Connolly, John) (Entered: 11/01/2016)

Nov. 1, 2016

Nov. 1, 2016

PACER
5

RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 11/1/2016. (Connolly, John) (Entered: 11/01/2016)

Nov. 1, 2016

Nov. 1, 2016

PACER
6

RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION served on 10/31/2016 (Connolly, John) (Entered: 11/01/2016)

Nov. 1, 2016

Nov. 1, 2016

PACER
7

NOTICE of Appearance by Daniel Patrick Schaefer on behalf of All Defendants (Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 12/01/2016)

Dec. 1, 2016

Dec. 1, 2016

PACER
8

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint, by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 12/01/2016)

Dec. 1, 2016

Dec. 1, 2016

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: Granting 8 Consent Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. Defendant shall answer or otherwise respond to the complaint by 1/30/2017. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 12/2/16. (DJS)

Dec. 2, 2016

Dec. 2, 2016

PACER
9

Consent MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 1 Complaint, by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 01/30/2017)

Jan. 30, 2017

Jan. 30, 2017

PACER

MINUTE ORDER: Granting 9 Consent Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. Defendant shall answer or otherwise respond to the complaint by March 31, 2017. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 2/1/17. (DJS)

Feb. 1, 2017

Feb. 1, 2017

PACER
10

Consent MOTION to Stay by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Schaefer, Daniel) (Entered: 03/30/2017)

March 30, 2017

March 30, 2017

PACER

Case consolidated. NO FILINGS ARE TO BE MADE IN THIS CASE. ALL FILINGS ARE TO BE MADE IN THE LEAD NO. 17-CV-485 TSC ONLY. (ztd)

May 9, 2017

May 9, 2017

PACER
11

ENTERED IN ERROR. . . . .NOTICE OF SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL by Kevin Matthew Snell on behalf of All Defendants Substituting for attorney Daniel Schaefer Associated Cases: 1:17-cv-00485-TSC, 1:16-cv-02154-TSC(Snell, Kevin) Modified on 7/18/2017 (td). (Entered: 07/17/2017)

July 17, 2017

July 17, 2017

PACER

NOTICE OF ERROR re 11 Substitution of Counsel; emailed to kevin.snell@usdoj.gov, cc'd 7 associated attorneys -- The PDF file you docketed contained errors: 1. The Lead Case is 17-485. Do not spread or file documents in the other cases. See docket entry of 05/09/2017. (ztd, )

July 18, 2017

July 18, 2017

PACER
12

STIPULATION of Dismissal Without Prejudice by STUDENTS FOR FAIR ADMISSIONS, INC.. (Connolly, John) (Entered: 12/07/2017)

Dec. 7, 2017

Dec. 7, 2017

RECAP
13

ORDER OF DISMISSAL: Converting Administrative Dismissal in to a dismissal without prejudice. Signed by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan on 12/11/17. (DJS) (Entered: 12/11/2017)

Dec. 11, 2017

Dec. 11, 2017

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

Education

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 27, 2016

Closing Date: Dec. 11, 2017

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

SFFA is a 501(c)(3) organization that challenges college admissions committees' denials of white or Asian-American applicants.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-DOJ federal government plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

U.S. Department of Education (Washington, D.C., District of Columbia), Federal

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Issues

General:

Records Disclosure