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Judicial Watch • JW v Department of Veterans Complaint 00994

JW v Department of Veterans Complaint 00994

JW v Department of Veterans Complaint 00994

Page 1: JW v Department of Veterans Complaint 00994

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Number of Pages:4

Date Created:May 24, 2017

Date Uploaded to the Library:June 06, 2017

Tags:00994, VAGLAHS, Veterans, Affairs, advocacy, complaint, responsive, defendant, filed, plaintiff, request, document, records, FOIA, department, Washington


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Case 1:17-cv-00994 Document Filed 05/24/17 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
425 Third Street SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024,
Plaintiff,
U.S. DEPARTMENT VETERANS
AFFAIRS
810 Vermont Avenue
Washington, 20420,
Defendant.
Civil Action No.
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. brings this action against Defendant U.S. Department
Veterans Affairs compel compliance with the Freedom Information Act, U.S.C. 552 FOIA grounds therefor, Plaintiff alleges follows:
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
The Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(B)
and U.S.C. 1331.
Venue proper this district pursuant U.S.C. 1391(e).
PARTIES
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. not-for-profit, educational organization
incorporated under the laws the District Columbia and headquartered 425 Third Street
SW, Suite 800, Washington, 20024. Plaintiff seeks promote transparency, integrity, and
accountability government and fidelity the rule law. part its mission, Plaintiff
regularly requests records from federal agencies pursuant FOIA. Plaintiff analyzes the
Case 1:17-cv-00994 Document Filed 05/24/17 Page
agencies responses and disseminates both its findings and the requested records the American
public inform them about what their government to.
Defendant U.S. Department Veterans Affairs agency the United States
Government headquartered 810 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, 20420. Defendant
has possession, custody, and control records which Plaintiff seeks access.
STATEMENT FACTS April 2017, Plaintiff submitted FOIA request the U.S. Department
Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System VAGLAHS component
Defendant, seeking access the following records:
Any and all records communications between
VAGLAHS and the 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation
known Vets Advocacy, Inc. concerning relating
implementation the Principles for Partnership and
Framework for Settlement entered and between the
U.S. Dep Veterans Affairs and representatives the
plaintiffs Valentini McDonald, Case No. 2:11-cv04846-SJO-MRW (C.D. Calif.) about January 28,
2015. copy the settlement agreement included
herewith for your convenience.
Any and all records concerning relating Vets
Advocacy, Inc. work regarding VAGLAHS homeless
veterans, including but not limited any actions, activities, advocacy, Vets Advocacy, Inc. (i) improve
revitalize the VAGLAHS campus; (ii) address
homelessness Los Angeles veterans community; (iii)
improve the well-being veterans generally.
Any and all records concerning relating work
performed Vets Advocacy, Inc. consultant Jonathan
Sherin, M.D., Ph.D.
The time frame the request was identified January 2016 the present.
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Case 1:17-cv-00994 Document Filed 05/24/17 Page letter dated April 2017, Defendant acknowledged receipt Plaintiff
request April 2017, and advised Plaintiff that the request had been assigned FOIA Request
No. 17-07498-F. letter dated May 2017, Defendant advised Plaintiff that was amending and
extending its response time [Plaintiff April 2017, request. The letter did not state
whether Defendant was invoking the 10-day extension time allowed law and did not
provide date which determination expected dispatched. U.S.C. Section
552(a)(6)(B)(i). the date this Complaint, Defendant has failed to: (i) produce the
requested records demonstrate that the requested records are lawfully exempt from
production; (ii) notify Plaintiff the scope any responsive records Defendant intends
produce withhold and the reasons for any withholdings; (iii) inform Plaintiff that may
appeal any adequately specific, adverse determination.
COUNT
Violation FOIA, U.S.C. 552
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
10.
Plaintiff being irreparably harmed reason Defendant violation FOIA,
and Plaintiff will continue irreparably harmed unless Defendant compelled comply
with FOIA.
11. trigger FOIA administrative exhaustion requirement, Defendant was
required determine whether comply with Plaintiff request within the applicable time limit
provisions U.S.C. 552(a)(6). minimum, Defendant was required to: (i) gather and
review the requested documents; (ii) determine and communicate Plaintiff the scope any
responsive records Defendant intended produce withhold and the reasons for any
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Case 1:17-cv-00994 Document Filed 05/24/17 Page
withholdings; and (iii) inform Plaintiff that may appeal any adequately specific, adverse
determination. See, e.g., Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics Washington Federal
Election Commission, 711 F.3d 180, 188-89 (D.C. Cir. 2013). Even allowing for 10-day
extension, Defendant was required issue its determination about May 18, 2017.
12.
Because Defendant failed determine whether comply with Plaintiff request
within the time period required FOIA, Plaintiff deemed have exhausted its administrative
appeal remedies. U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C)(i).
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court: (1) order Defendant
conduct searches for any and all records responsive Plaintiff FOIA request and demonstrate
that employed search methods reasonably likely lead the discovery records responsive Plaintiff FOIA request; (2) order Defendant produce, date certain, any and all nonexempt records responsive Plaintiff FOIA request and Vaughn index any responsive
records withheld under claim exemption; (3) enjoin Defendant from continuing withhold
any and all non-exempt records responsive Plaintiff FOIA request; (4) grant Plaintiff
award attorneys fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred this action pursuant
U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(E); and (5) grant Plaintiff such other relief the Court deems just and
proper.
Dated: May 24, 2017
Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Paul Orfanedes
Paul Orfanedes
D.C. Bar No. 429716
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street S.W., Suite 800
Washington, 20024
Tel: (202) 646-5172
Email: porfanedes@judicialwatch.org
Counsel for Plaintiff
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