Case: Electronic Privacy Information Center v. United States Dep't of Commerce

1:18-cv-02711 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: Nov. 20, 2018

Closed Date: April 27, 2020

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 20, 2018, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), an independent non-profit research center dedicated to privacy and civil liberties issues, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The case was assigned to District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich. The plaintiff sued the United States Department of Commerce and its agency, the Bureau of the Census, under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Declaratory Judgment Act. EPIC, represented …

On November 20, 2018, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), an independent non-profit research center dedicated to privacy and civil liberties issues, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The case was assigned to District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich. The plaintiff sued the United States Department of Commerce and its agency, the Bureau of the Census, under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the Declaratory Judgment Act.

EPIC, represented by its own in-house counsel, alleged that the Census Bureau’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census without conducting and publishing Privacy Impact Assessments that analyze how citizenship data will be handled, was in violation of the APA and the E-Government Act of 2002. The plaintiff specifically alleged that the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau failed to conduct and publicly release a “legally sufficient” Privacy Impact Assessment for the “collection, processing, and storage” of personally identifiable citizenship data on the 2020 Census, as required by the E-Government Act.

The plaintiff sought injunctive and declaratory relief. Specifically, EPIC sought to compel Department to create and publish Privacy Impact Assessment, and requested that the Court enjoin the Commerce Department from including the citizenship question on the 2020 Census until the Department has published a “full and complete” Privacy Impact Assessment.

On January 18, 2019, the plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction. On February 8, the Court denied the plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the Commerce Department from including the citizenship question to the 2020 Census. 356 F.Supp.3d 85. The Court found that the plaintiff did not have a high likelihood of success on the merits - the touchstone of the preliminary injunction inquiry. The Court reasoned that plaintiff did not have a high likelihood of success on the merits, because the Bureau did not act contrary to the E-Government Act by deciding to collect citizenship data before conducting, reviewing, or releasing a PIA addressing that decision. EPIC immediately appealed.

On March 11, the defendants moved to dismiss the case. On June 28, the Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s denial of the preliminary injunction and remanded the case for the purpose of dismissal. The court found that the organization lacked standing as they failed to show injury. 928 F.3d 95.

On August 12, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a petition for rehearing, which was denied on September 16. The district court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction on October 3. Although the plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court on December 16, 2019, certiorari was denied on April 27, 2020. 2020 WL 1978949.

The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Michael Beech (2/16/2019)

Averyn Lee (6/6/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/8222591/parties/electronic-privacy-information-center-v-united-states-department-of/


Judge(s)

Friedrich, Dabney Langhorne (District of Columbia)

Sentelle, David Bryan (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Butler, Alan (District of Columbia)

Davisson, John L. (District of Columbia)

Rotenberg, Marc (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Borson, Joseph Evan (District of Columbia)

Carroll, Sarah (District of Columbia)

Hunt, Joseph H. (District of Columbia)

Stern, Mark B (District of Columbia)

Wells, Carlotta (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Friedrich, Dabney Langhorne (District of Columbia)

Sentelle, David Bryan (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Butler, Alan (District of Columbia)

Davisson, John L. (District of Columbia)

Rotenberg, Marc (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Borson, Joseph Evan (District of Columbia)

Carroll, Sarah (District of Columbia)

Hunt, Joseph H. (District of Columbia)

Stern, Mark B (District of Columbia)

Wells, Carlotta (District of Columbia)

Wolfe, Kristina Ann (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:18-cv-02711

Docket [PACER]

Electronic Privacy Information Center v. United States Department of Commerce

Oct. 3, 2019

Oct. 3, 2019

Docket
1

1:18-cv-02711

Complaint

Electronic Privacy Information Center v. United States Department of Commerce

Nov. 20, 2018

Nov. 20, 2018

Complaint
8 (incl. 8-1 to 8-4)

1:18-cv-02711

Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Part 1/2)

Electronic Privacy Information Center v. United States Department of Commerce

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

Pleading / Motion / Brief
8-5 to 8-7

1:18-cv-02711

Exhibits to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Part 2/2)

Electronic Privacy Information Center v. United States Department of Commerce

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

Pleading / Motion / Brief
16

1:18-cv-02711

Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Injunction

Electronic Privacy Information Center v. United States Department of Commerce

356 F.Supp.3d 85, 2019 WL 498520

Feb. 8, 2019

Feb. 8, 2019

Order/Opinion
20, 20-1, 20-2

1:18-cv-02711

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

Electronic Privacy Information Center v. United States Department of Commerce

March 11, 2019

March 11, 2019

Pleading / Motion / Brief
29

1:18-cv-02711

19-05031

Opinion

Electronic Privacy Information Center v. United States Department of Commerce

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

928 F.3d 95

June 28, 2019

June 28, 2019

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/8222591/electronic-privacy-information-center-v-united-states-department-of/

Last updated Aug. 5, 2022, 3:11 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-5802923) filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, # 3 Summons Attorney General of the United States, # 4 Summons United States Department of Commerce, # 5 Summons Bureau of the Census)(Davisson, John) (Entered: 11/20/2018)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

2 Summons United States Attorney for the District of Columbia

View on PACER

3 Summons Attorney General of the United States

View on PACER

4 Summons United States Department of Commerce

View on PACER

5 Summons Bureau of the Census

View on PACER

Nov. 20, 2018

Nov. 20, 2018

RECAP

Case Assigned/Reassigned

Nov. 21, 2018

Nov. 21, 2018

PACER
2

LCvR 26.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Davisson, John) (Entered: 11/21/2018)

Nov. 21, 2018

Nov. 21, 2018

RECAP

Case Assigned to Judge Dabney L. Friedrich. (zrdj)

Nov. 21, 2018

Nov. 21, 2018

PACER
3

SUMMONS (4) Issued Electronically as to BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (Attachments: # 1 Notice and Consent)(zrdj) (Entered: 11/21/2018)

Nov. 21, 2018

Nov. 21, 2018

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 11/26/2018. Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 1/25/2019. (Davisson, John) (Entered: 12/03/2018)

Dec. 3, 2018

Dec. 3, 2018

PACER
5

RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE served on 11/29/2018 (Davisson, John) (Entered: 12/03/2018)

Dec. 3, 2018

Dec. 3, 2018

PACER
6

RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. BUREAU OF THE CENSUS served on 12/3/2018 (Davisson, John) (Entered: 12/03/2018)

Dec. 3, 2018

Dec. 3, 2018

PACER
7

RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 11/30/18. (Davisson, John) (Entered: 12/03/2018)

Dec. 3, 2018

Dec. 3, 2018

PACER

Order

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER
8

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Text of Proposed Order, # 3 Exhibit List, # 4 Exhibit Nos. 1-4, # 5 Exhibit Nos. 5-9, # 6 Exhibit Nos. 10-14, # 7 Exhibit Nos. 15-19)(Davisson, John) (Entered: 01/18/2019)

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER

MINUTE ORDER. Having reviewed the plaintiff's 8 Motion for Preliminary Injunction, it is ORDERED that the parties shall appear for a preliminary injunction hearing on February 8, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. in Courtroom 12. See LCvR 65.1(d). In accordance with Local Civil Rule 65.1(c), the defendants' opposition, if any, shall be filed within 7 days after service of the motion. Signed by Judge Dabney L. Friedrich on January 18, 2019. (lcdlf1) Modified on 1/22/2019 to reflect updated hearing start time (jl).

Jan. 18, 2019

Jan. 18, 2019

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Preliminary Injunction Hearing set for 2/8/2019 at 11:00 AM in Courtroom 12 before Judge Dabney L. Friedrich. (jl).

Jan. 22, 2019

Jan. 22, 2019

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings

Jan. 22, 2019

Jan. 22, 2019

PACER
9

NOTICE of Appearance by Kristina Ann Wolfe on behalf of BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (Wolfe, Kristina) (Entered: 01/22/2019)

Jan. 22, 2019

Jan. 22, 2019

PACER
10

MOTION to Stay in Light of the Lapse of Appropriations or, in the Alternative,, MOTION for Extension of Time to File a Response to Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and to Respond to the Complaint by BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order #1, # 2 Text of Proposed Order #2)(Wolfe, Kristina) (Entered: 01/22/2019)

Jan. 22, 2019

Jan. 22, 2019

PACER

Order on Motion to Stay

Jan. 23, 2019

Jan. 23, 2019

PACER

MINUTE ORDER granting in part and denying in part the defendant's 10 Motion for a Stay in Light of the Lapse of Appropriations or, in the Alternative, an Extension of Time to File a Response to Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and to Respond to the Complaint. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the defendant's request for a stay is DENIED. It is further ORDERED that (1) the defendant shall file its response to the plaintiff's motion on or before January 30, 2019, (2) the plaintiff shall file its reply on or before February 5, 2019, and (3) the defendant shall file its answer or other response to the plaintiff's complaint within 30 days after the Court's resolution of the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. The preliminary injunction hearing will take place as scheduled on February 8, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. Signed by Judge Dabney L. Friedrich on January 23, 2019. (lcdlf1)

Jan. 23, 2019

Jan. 23, 2019

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings

Jan. 23, 2019

Jan. 23, 2019

PACER
11

NOTICE of Appearance by Joseph Evan Borson on behalf of BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (Borson, Joseph) (Entered: 01/23/2019)

Jan. 23, 2019

Jan. 23, 2019

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings: Defendant's response to plaintiff's motion due by 1/30/2019. Plaintiff's reply due by 2/5/2019. (jl)

Jan. 23, 2019

Jan. 23, 2019

PACER
12

Memorandum in opposition to re 8 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of Robin J. Bachman, # 2 Exhibit A to Bachman Decl., # 3 Exhibit B to Bachman Decl., # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Borson, Joseph) (Entered: 01/30/2019)

Jan. 30, 2019

Jan. 30, 2019

RECAP
13

REPLY to opposition to motion re 8 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (Davisson, John) (Entered: 02/05/2019)

Feb. 5, 2019

Feb. 5, 2019

PACER

MINUTE ORDER. Local Civil Rule 65.1(d) requires the Court to hold a hearing within 21 days of an application for a preliminary injunction upon the request of the moving party "unless the Court earlier decides the motion on the papers." LCvR 65.1(d). Having reviewed the parties' briefs, the Court intends to decide the plaintiff's 8 Motion for Preliminary Injunction on the papers and issue a decision on or before February 8, 2019. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the preliminary injunction hearing currently set for February 8, 2019 is VACATED. Signed by Judge Dabney L. Friedrich on February 6, 2019. (lcdlf1)

Feb. 6, 2019

Feb. 6, 2019

PACER

Order

Feb. 6, 2019

Feb. 6, 2019

PACER
14

NOTICE of Appearance by Marc Rotenberg on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Rotenberg, Marc) (Entered: 02/06/2019)

Feb. 6, 2019

Feb. 6, 2019

PACER
15

NOTICE of Appearance by Alan Jay Butler on behalf of ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER (Butler, Alan) (Entered: 02/06/2019)

Feb. 6, 2019

Feb. 6, 2019

PACER
16

ORDER denying the plaintiff's 8 Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. See text for details. Signed by Judge Dabney L. Friedrich on February 8, 2019. (lcdlf1) (Entered: 02/08/2019)

Feb. 8, 2019

Feb. 8, 2019

PACER
17

MEMORANDUM OPINION regarding the plaintiff's 8 Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. See text for details. Signed by Judge Dabney L. Friedrich on February 8, 2019. (lcdlf1) (Entered: 02/08/2019)

Feb. 8, 2019

Feb. 8, 2019

RECAP
18

NOTICE OF APPEAL TO DC CIRCUIT COURT as to 16 Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. Filing fee $ 505, receipt number 0090-5942771. Fee Status: Fee Paid. Parties have been notified. (Davisson, John) (Entered: 02/12/2019)

Feb. 12, 2019

Feb. 12, 2019

RECAP
19

Transmission of the Notice of Appeal, Order Appealed (Memorandum Opinion), and Docket Sheet to US Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals fee was paid this date 2/12/19 re 18 Notice of Appeal to DC Circuit Court,. (ztd) (Entered: 02/13/2019)

Feb. 13, 2019

Feb. 13, 2019

PACER

USCA Case Number 19-5031 for 18 Notice of Appeal to DC Circuit Court, filed by ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER. (zvt)

Feb. 21, 2019

Feb. 21, 2019

PACER

USCA Case Number

Feb. 21, 2019

Feb. 21, 2019

PACER
20

Motion to Dismiss

1 Memorandum in Support

View on PACER

2 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

March 11, 2019

March 11, 2019

PACER

Order on Motion to Modify

March 14, 2019

March 14, 2019

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings

March 14, 2019

March 14, 2019

PACER
21

Motion to Modify

March 14, 2019

March 14, 2019

PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings

March 18, 2019

March 18, 2019

PACER
22

Memorandum in Opposition

April 1, 2019

April 1, 2019

PACER
23

Reply to opposition to Motion

April 11, 2019

April 11, 2019

PACER
24

Notice of Change of Address

Sept. 3, 2019

Sept. 3, 2019

PACER

.Order

Oct. 3, 2019

Oct. 3, 2019

PACER
25

USCA Mandate

Oct. 4, 2019

Oct. 4, 2019

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 20, 2018

Closing Date: April 27, 2020

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Electronic Privacy Information Center

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

United States Census Bureau , Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Type of Facility:

Government-run