Case: Page v. U.S. Department of Justice

1:19-cv-03149 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: Oct. 21, 2019

Closed Date: Sept. 11, 2020

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case is related to the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse's coverage of the Carter Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants. For more information on litigation to disclose the warrants that inspired this case, please see this link. For a summary of the warrants and information on ongoing efforts by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to protect the confidential information in them, see this link. The FISA requires the government to obtain a warrant from…

This case is related to the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse's coverage of the Carter Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants. For more information on litigation to disclose the warrants that inspired this case, please see this link. For a summary of the warrants and information on ongoing efforts by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to protect the confidential information in them, see this link.


The FISA requires the government to obtain a warrant from the FISC before it may conduct any domestic electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information. The warrant applications are made ex parte and must include a sworn statement by a federal officer of the facts and circumstances relied upon to justify the government's belief that the target of surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Once a FISC judge receives a warrant application, the judge can order approval of the surveillance only if the judge finds that there is probable cause to believe that the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Because the orders only authorize surveillance up to 90 days, the government must file an application for an extension that meets the same requirements as the initial warrant application and obtain a renewal order from the FISC for continued surveillance. For the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse collection of FISA matters, see our special collection.

On October 21, 2019, an informal advisor to the Trump 2016 presidential campaign filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. § 552) and the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The plaintiff, a target of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants during the campaign, asked the DOJ to release records containing information about him and the warrants against him, halt further dissemination of information about him or the warrants against him through an injunction, and refer DOJ officials responsible for "leaking" information about his warrants to the press for prosecution. Though the plaintiff got private counsel later in the case, he initially filed the case pro se, and it was assigned to Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson.

The complaint stated that the plaintiff filed his initial FOIA request with the DOJ in May 2017, but he had not yet received all the relevant documents related to the request at the time of the complaint. He alleged that, instead of responding to his FOIA request, the defendant "leaked" information about his FISA warrants to The New York Times in 2018, which was "defamatory" because it was based on false claims about "collusion" with Russia.

The defendants filed a motion to extend time to respond on November 25, 2019, noting that the Privacy Act and FOIA have different response timelines, and suggesting that the DOJ respond to both claims on December 23, before the Privacy Act deadline but after the FOIA deadline. Page contested this request in a motion filed four days later, alleging that the harm to his reputation as a result of the Privacy Act violations was ongoing and threatening to file for an emergency injunction if an amicable resolution was not found by December 2. The DOJ filed a responsive motion on December 2 by saying that, under this new timeline, the Privacy Act claims would be addressed before they normally would be, so the injunction was not necessary. Judge Jackson agreed with their logic, and approved the DOJ's motion to move the response date to December 23.

On December 23, the DOJ filed a motion to dismiss. On the FOIA claims, the DOJ argued that, because the plaintiff did not modify his FOIA request in response to DOJ questions on some of the requested documents, he had not yet exhausted administrative remedies, and therefore was ineligible to proceed with a FOIA claim as to those documents. The DOJ also alleged that the disclosure to The New York Times was not a violation of the Privacy Act, because it was done in response to the newspaper's own FOIA request and both The New York Times and the plaintiff received copies of the documents after careful consideration. For more information on efforts by The New York Times to get these documents through FOIA, please see New York Times Co v. U.S. DOJ in this Clearinghouse. The DOJ added that the Privacy Act only allows for damages, not injunctive relief as the plaintiff was seeking. Finally, the DOJ argued that the plaintiff's broad statement that he "colluded with Russian officials" in the released FISA warrants was not a specific enough allegation of false information to constitute a Privacy Act violation.

The plaintiff filed several motions to extend time to respond to this motion to dismiss in early 2020, which were all granted. The plaintiff engaged private counsel on March 25, 2020. The parties entered into settlement negotiations on May 26, 2020, which resulted in a stay of proceedings and temporarily absolved the plaintiff of any duty to respond to the motion to dismiss. A July 15, 2020 status report showed that the parties attempted to resolve their disputes, but were unsuccessful.

With the settlement talks at a standstill, Judge Jackson required the plaintiff to respond anew to the DOJ motion to dismiss by September 11, 2020. The plaintiff's private counsel through the settlement negotiations were not admitted to the District of Columbia bar, and encouraged him to seek local counsel. The plaintiff's attorneys withdrew on August 11, noting in their motion that he was having difficulty in retaining local counsel on that date.

The parties stipulated to dismissal of the case with prejudice on September 11, 2020, with each side bearing its own attorneys' fees and costs. The stipulation did not say why the parties agreed to dismiss the case, but it is possible that the plaintiff was unable to meet the court's deadline to respond to the government's motion to dismiss. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Ellen Aldin (12/16/2020)

Related Cases

In re Carter W. Page: A U.S. Person [FISA dockets 16-1182, 17-52, 17-375, 17-679], Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (2016)

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

FISA Court Matters relating to disclosure of Carter Page surveillance records: Four FISC cases [FISC Misc. 18-01, Misc. 18-02, Misc. 18-03, and Misc. 19-01], Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (2018)

Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice, District of Columbia (2018)

In re Accuracy Concerns Regarding FBI Matters Submitted to the FISC, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (2019)

Page v. Comey, District of Columbia (2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/16364488/parties/page-v-us-department-of-justice/


Judge(s)

Jackson, Ketanji Brown (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Buchanan, Thomas M (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Berman, Marcia (District of Columbia)

Clark, Jeffrey Bossert (District of Columbia)

Davis, Ethan P. (District of Columbia)

Powell, Amy E. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Jackson, Ketanji Brown (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Buchanan, Thomas M (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Berman, Marcia (District of Columbia)

Clark, Jeffrey Bossert (District of Columbia)

Davis, Ethan P. (District of Columbia)

Powell, Amy E. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Sept. 11, 2020 Docket
1

Complaint

Oct. 21, 2019 Complaint
6, 7, 8

Defendant's Motion for an Extension of Time to Respond to the Complaint

Page v. US Department of Justice

Nov. 25, 2019 Pleading / Motion / Brief
9

Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss and for Partial Summary Judgment

Page v. US Department of Justice

Dec. 23, 2019 Pleading / Motion / Brief
15

Joint Status Report

Page v. US Department of Justice

July 15, 2020 Pleading / Motion / Brief
17

Motion to Withdraw

Page v. US Department of Justice

Aug. 11, 2020 Pleading / Motion / Brief
19

Stipulation of Dismissal

Page v. US Department of Justice

Sept. 11, 2020 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/16364488/page-v-us-department-of-justice/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ( Filing fee $ 400, receipt number 4616101108) filed by CARTER PAGE. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(jf) (Entered: 10/22/2019)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Oct. 21, 2019 Clearinghouse

Summons Issued as to AUSA

Oct. 21, 2019 PACER

SUMMONS (3) Issued as to U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (jf)

Oct. 21, 2019 PACER
2

GENERAL ORDER AND GUIDELINES FOR CIVIL CASES BEFORE JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON. The Court will hold the parties and counsel responsible for following these directives, and parties and counsel should pay particular attention to the Court's instructions for briefing motions and filing exhibits. Failure to adhere to this Order may, when appropriate, result the imposition of sanctions and/or sua sponte denial of non-conforming motions. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 10/22/2019. (jag) (Entered: 10/22/2019)

Oct. 22, 2019 PACER

Summons Issued as to AUSA,USAG

Oct. 22, 2019 PACER
3

MOTION for CM/ECF Password by CARTER PAGE (jf) (Entered: 10/25/2019)

Oct. 24, 2019 RECAP

Order on Motion for CM/ECF Password

Oct. 29, 2019 PACER

MINUTE ORDER granting 3 Motion for CM/ECF Password. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 10/29/2019. (JAG)

Oct. 29, 2019 PACER
4

RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed on United States Attorney General. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney General 10/28/19., RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed as to the United States Attorney. Date of Service Upon United States Attorney on 10/28/2019. ( Answer due for ALL FEDERAL DEFENDANTS by 12/27/2019.), RETURN OF SERVICE/AFFIDAVIT of Summons and Complaint Executed. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE served on 10/28/2019 (ztd) (Entered: 10/31/2019)

Oct. 30, 2019 PACER
5

NOTICE of Appearance by Amy E. Powell on behalf of U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Powell, Amy) (Entered: 11/13/2019)

Nov. 13, 2019 PACER
6

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Powell, Amy) (Entered: 11/25/2019)

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

Nov. 25, 2019 RECAP
7

RESPONSE re 6 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer in Opposition filed by CARTER PAGE. (PAGE, CARTER) (Entered: 11/29/2019)

Nov. 29, 2019 RECAP
8

REPLY to opposition to motion re 6 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer filed by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE. (Powell, Amy) (Entered: 12/02/2019)

Dec. 2, 2019 RECAP

Set/Reset Deadlines

Dec. 4, 2019 PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to Answer

Dec. 4, 2019 PACER

MINUTE ORDER. Upon consideration of Defendant's 6 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer and Plaintiff's 9 Opposition thereto, it is hereby ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED, and that Defendant shall answer or otherwise respond to the complaint on or before 12/23/2019. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 12/4/2019. (jag)

Dec. 4, 2019 PACER
9

Partial MOTION to Dismiss, Partial MOTION for Summary Judgment by U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (Attachments: # 1 Declaration October 2018 David M. Hardy, # 2 Declaration of Vanessa R. Brinkmann (OIP), # 3 Declaration of Priscilla Jones (OIP Appeals), # 4 Declaration of Kevin G. Tiernan (NSD), # 5 Declaration of Paul P. Colborn (OLC), # 6 Declaration of Amanda Jones (CRM), # 7 Declaration of Nicole Moore (EOUSA), # 8 Text of Proposed Order)(Powell, Amy) (Entered: 12/23/2019)

1 Declaration October 2018 David M. Hardy

View on PACER

2 Declaration of Vanessa R. Brinkmann (OIP)

View on PACER

3 Declaration of Priscilla Jones (OIP Appeals)

View on PACER

4 Declaration of Kevin G. Tiernan (NSD)

View on PACER

5 Declaration of Paul P. Colborn (OLC)

View on PACER

6 Declaration of Amanda Jones (CRM)

View on PACER

7 Declaration of Nicole Moore (EOUSA)

View on PACER

8 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

Dec. 23, 2019 Clearinghouse
10

ORDER advising plaintiff to respond to Defendants 9 motion to dismiss in part and a motion for partial summary judgment on or before January 31, 2020, or Court may deem matter as conceded. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 12/26/2020. (jag) (Entered: 12/26/2019)

Dec. 26, 2019 RECAP

Set/Reset Deadlines

Jan. 6, 2020 PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Motion to Dismiss/Partial Summary Judgment motion due by 1/31/2020. (hs)

Jan. 6, 2020 PACER
11

MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply by CARTER PAGE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(PAGE, CARTER) (Entered: 01/31/2020)

Jan. 31, 2020 PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines

Feb. 4, 2020 PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply

Feb. 4, 2020 PACER

MINUTE ORDER granting 11 Partially Opposed Motion for Extension of Time to File Response re 9 Partial Motion to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment, nunc pro tunc. It is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff's response to 9 is due on or before 3/31/2020. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 2/4/2020. (jag)

Feb. 4, 2020 PACER
12

NOTICE of Appearance by Thomas M. Buchanan on behalf of CARTER PAGE (Buchanan, Thomas) (Entered: 03/25/2020)

March 25, 2020 PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines

March 25, 2020 PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to

March 25, 2020 PACER
13

Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to Respond to Partial Motion to Dismiss and Partial Motion for Summary Judgment by CARTER PAGE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Buchanan, Thomas) (Entered: 03/25/2020)

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

March 25, 2020 RECAP

MINUTE ORDER granting, for good cause shown, 13 Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to 9 Partial Motion to Dismiss and Partial Motion for Summary Judgment. It is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff shall respond to Defendant's 9 Motion on or before 5/30/2020. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 3/25/2020. (jag)

March 25, 2020 PACER
14

Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 9 Partial MOTION to Dismiss Partial MOTION for Summary Judgment by CARTER PAGE (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Buchanan, Thomas) (Entered: 05/18/2020)

1 Proposed Order

View on RECAP

May 18, 2020 PACER

MINUTE ORDER GRANTING, for good cause shown, 14 Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to File Response re 9 Partial Motion to Dismiss and for Partial Summary Judgment. It is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff shall respond to 9 on or before 7/29/2020. In light of the representations in the parties motion regarding their ongoing settlement negotiations, it is FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall file a joint status report on or before 7/15/2020 regarding the status of their settlement efforts. In the interest of justice and judicial efficiency, it is FURTHER ORDERED that the Court's consideration of the 9 Motion is ADMINISTRATIVELY STAYED during the pendency of the parties' settlement negotiations; this administrative stay does not impact any of the deadlines set in this Minute Order. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 5/26/2020. (jag)

May 26, 2020 PACER

~Util - Terminate Motions AND ~Util - Case Stayed AND .Order AND ~Util - Set/Reset Deadlines

May 26, 2020 PACER

~Util - Case Stayed AND ~Util - Terminate Motions AND ~Util - Set/Reset Deadlines AND .Order

May 26, 2020 PACER

~Util - Terminate Motions AND .Order AND ~Util - Case Stayed AND ~Util - Set/Reset Deadlines

May 26, 2020 PACER

~Util - Case Stayed AND ~Util - Set/Reset Deadlines AND ~Util - Terminate Motions AND .Order

May 26, 2020 PACER
15

Joint STATUS REPORT by CARTER PAGE. (Buchanan, Thomas) (Entered: 07/15/2020)

July 15, 2020 Clearinghouse

MINUTE ORDER. It is hereby ORDERED that the Administrative Stay in this matter is LIFTED, and that a telephonic status conference is set for 8/11/2020 at 02:00 PM before Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Dial-in information will be provided to counsel by e-mail. Information on public access to this proceeding can be found on the Court's website. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 7/28/2020. (jag)

July 28, 2020 PACER

~Util - Set/Reset Hearings AND .Order

July 28, 2020 PACER
16

Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 9 Partial MOTION to Dismiss Partial MOTION for Summary Judgment by CARTER PAGE (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Buchanan, Thomas) (Entered: 07/29/2020)

July 29, 2020 PACER

MINUTE ORDER, granting, for good cause shown, Plaintiff's 16 Unopposed Motion for Extension of Time to File Response re Defendant's 9 Partial Motion to Dismiss and for Partial Summary Judgment, nunc pro tunc. It is hereby ORDERED that Plaintiff shall respond to Defendant's 9 Motion on or before 9/11/2020. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 08/04/2020. (lckbj2)

Aug. 4, 2020 PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines: Response due by 9/11/2020. (zgdf)

Aug. 4, 2020 PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply

Aug. 4, 2020 PACER

Set/Reset Deadlines

Aug. 4, 2020 PACER
17

MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney by CARTER PAGE (Buchanan, Thomas) (Entered: 08/11/2020)

Aug. 11, 2020 Clearinghouse
18

NOTICE of Appearance and Pro Se Status by CARTER PAGE (PAGE, CARTER) Modified on 8/18/2020 to correct docket event/text (zjf). (Entered: 08/17/2020)

Aug. 17, 2020 PACER

MINUTE ORDER granting 17 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. Attorney Thomas M. Buchanan terminated. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on 8/18/2020. (jag)

Aug. 18, 2020 PACER
19

STIPULATION of Dismissal by CARTER PAGE. (PAGE, CARTER) (Entered: 09/11/2020)

Sept. 11, 2020 Clearinghouse
19

STIPULATION of Dismissal by CARTER PAGE. (PAGE, CARTER) (Entered: 09/11/2020)

Sept. 11, 2020 RECAP

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

National Security

Special Collection(s):

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- All Matters

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 21, 2019

Closing Date: Sept. 11, 2020

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Carter W. Page, an informal advisor to the Trump 2016 presidential campaign

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

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

Constitutional Clause(s):

Freedom of speech/association

Unreasonable search and seizure

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Confidentiality

Record-keeping

Records Disclosure

Search policies

Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues