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Judicial Watch • JW v DOJ AP complaint 00879

JW v DOJ AP complaint 00879

JW v DOJ AP complaint 00879

Page 1: JW v DOJ AP complaint 00879

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Number of Pages:4

Date Created:March 27, 2019

Date Uploaded to the Library:March 29, 2019

Tags:00879, Asspcoated Press, Pennsylvania, complaint, justice, plaintiff, FBI, DOJ, FOIA


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Case 1:19-cv-00879 Document Filed 03/27/19 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
425 Third Street, S.W., Suite 800
Washington, 20024,
Plaintiff,
U.S. DEPARTMENT JUSTICE,
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, 20530-0001,
Defendant.
Civil Action No.
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. brings this action against the U.S. Department Justice Defendant DOJ compel compliance with the Freedom Information Act, U.S.C.
552. 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, accountability,
and integrity government and fidelity the rule law. part its mission, Plaintiff
regularly requests records from federal agencies pursuant the Freedom Information Act
Case 1:19-cv-00879 Document Filed 03/27/19 Page FOIA Plaintiff analyzes the responses and disseminates its findings and the requested
records the American public inform them about what their government to.
Defendant agency the United States Government. Defendant has
possession, custody, and control records which Plaintiff seeks access. Defendant
headquartered 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, 20530-0001.
STATEMENT FACTS
This lawsuit arises out two identical FOIA requests Plaintiff submitted the
DOJ and the Federal Bureau Investigation FBI component the DOJ. July 2018, Plaintiff submitted FOIA request the FBI, via the FBI
EFOIPA Portal, seeking access the following records:
Any and all records regarding, concerning, related the April 2017
meeting between Department Justice and FBI personnel and reporters,
editors, and/or other individuals employed and/or representing the
Associated Press. This request includes, but not limited to, any and all
notes, reports, memoranda, briefing materials, other records created
preparation for, during, and/or pursuant the meeting.
Any and all records communication between any official, employee,
representative the Department Justice and any the individuals
present the aforementioned meeting.
For purposes clarification, the meeting that the subject this request was
reported Politico June 29, 2018 (see https://www.politico.com/story/
2018/06/29/paul-manafort--storage-lockerassociated-press-687776). letter dated July 16, 2018, the FBI acknowledged receipt Plaintiff request
and advised Plaintiff that the request had been assigned FOIPA Request No. 1410979-000.
Plaintiff has not received any other communications from the FBI response Plaintiff
request. July 2018, Plaintiff submitted FOIA request the DOJ, via the DOJ
electronic service, seeking access the same records described Paragraph above.
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Case 1:19-cv-00879 Document Filed 03/27/19 Page July 17, 2018, the DOJ acknowledged receipt Plaintiff FOIA request and
assigned Tracking Number EMRUFOIA070518-4. Plaintiff has not received any other
communications from the DOJ response Plaintiff request.
10.
Pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(i), the FBI and DOJ were required determine
whether comply with Plaintiff request within (20) working days after its receipt the request
and notify Plaintiff immediately its determination, the records thereof, and the right appeal
any adverse determination. the very latest, the FBI determination was due August 13, 2018
and the DOJ determination was due August 14, 2018.
11. the date this Complaint, the FBI and DOJ 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; and/or (iii) inform Plaintiff that may
appeal any adequately specific, adverse determination.
COUNT
(Violation FOIA, U.S.C. 552)
12.
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
13.
Plaintiff being irreparably harmed Defendant violation FOIA, and
Plaintiff will continue irreparably harmed unless Defendant compelled comply with
FOIA.
14. trigger FOIA administrative exhaustion requirement, the FBI and the DOJ
were required make final determination Plaintiff FOIA request within the time limits set FOIA. Accordingly, the FBI determination was due August 13, 2018 and the DOJ
determination was due August 14, 2018. these dates, the FBI and DOJ were required to:
(i) gather and review the requested documents; (ii) determine and communicate Plaintiff the
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Case 1:19-cv-00879 Document Filed 03/27/19 Page
scope any responsive records Defendant intended produce withhold and the reasons for
any 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).
15.
Because the FBI and DOJ failed make final determination Plaintiff
FOIA requests within the time limits set 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 requests and demonstrate
that employed search methods reasonably likely lead the discovery records responsive Plaintiff FOIA requests; (2) order Defendant produce, date certain, any and all nonexempt records responsive Plaintiff FOIA requests and Vaughn indices any responsive
records withheld under claim exemption; (3) enjoin Defendant from continuing withhold
any and all non-exempt records responsive Plaintiff FOIA requests; (4) grant Plaintiff
award attorneys fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred this action pursuant
U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(E)(5) and grant Plaintiff such other relief the Court deems just and proper.
Dated: March 27, 2019
Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Ramona Cotca
Ramona Cotca (D.C. Bar No. 501159)
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street S.W., Suite 800
Washington, 20024
(202) 646-5172
rcotca@judicialwatch.org
Counsel for Plaintiff
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