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Judicial Watch • JW v State Cardin complaint 01381

JW v State Cardin complaint 01381

JW v State Cardin complaint 01381

Page 1: JW v State Cardin complaint 01381

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Number of Pages:5

Date Created:June 11, 2018

Date Uploaded to the Library:June 12, 2018

Tags:01381, Cardin, Congressional, filed, FOIA


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Case 1:18-cv-01381 Document Filed 06/11/18 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 STATE,
The Executive Office
Office the Legal Adviser, Suite 5.600
600 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, 20522,
Defendant.
Civil Action No.
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. brings this action against Defendant U.S. Department
State 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 1:18-cv-01381 Document Filed 06/11/18 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 State agency the United States
Government headquartered 2201 Street, N.W., Washington, 20520. Defendant has
possession, custody, and control records which Plaintiff seeks access.
STATEMENT FACTS February 13, 2018, Plaintiff submitted FOIA request Defendant seeking
access the following records:
This request seeks the following records related the release certain Department
State documents regarding efforts the Russian Government affect, manipulate,
influence any election the United States any foreign country the office Senator
Ben Cardin and/or the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:
Any and all cover letters, notes, other records communication that
accompanied the release the records any member Congress
Congressional committee.
Any and all records referenced, reviewed, relied upon during the review
process that resulted the release the records.
Any and all inquiries requests that prompted the release the records.
Any and all records regarding any and all classification declassification
reviews conducted during the process leading the Department State
production the records.
Any and all related records communication between any official employee the Department State and any other individual entity. This includes, but
not limited to, any such records communication between among State
Department officials employees, well any records communication
between any official employee the Department State and any member
Congress, Congressional staff member, Congressional Committee staff
member, well any third party any employee official any office the
Executive Branch.
Any and all records reflecting the authorization approval the release the
records.
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Case 1:18-cv-01381 Document Filed 06/11/18 Page
For purposes clarification, the records which this request pertains were released
pursuant Freedom Information Act request submitted the Department State
March 2017 and subsequent civil complaint filed the U.S. District Court for the District
Colombia May 2017 (1:17-cv-00852). The records may viewed http://www.
judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/JW-v-State-Cardin-documents-00852-7.pdf.
The time frame for Plaintiff FOIA request July 2016 the present. later dated April 2018, Defendant acknowledged receipt Plaintiff
request February 13, 2018 and advised Plaintiff that the request had been assigned Case
Control Number F-2018-00189. email April 12, 2018, Plaintiff sought status update the FOIA request.
Defendant responded email April 13, 2018 that Plaintiff FOIA request pending
processing. Defendant did not notify Plaintiff its determination, the records thereof, the
right appeal any adverse determination.
Plaintiff has not received any other communication from Defendant since April
13, 2018 about Plaintiff FOIA request.
10.
Pursuant U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(A)(i), the Defendant was 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. Defendant determination was due about March 14,
2018.
11. 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
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Case 1:18-cv-01381 Document Filed 06/11/18 Page
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
12.
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
13.
Plaintiff being irreparably harmed reason Defendant violation FOIA,
and Plaintiff will continue irreparably harmed unless Defendant compelled comply
with FOIA.
14. trigger FOIA administrative exhaustion requirement, Defendant was
required determine whether comply with Plaintiff request within twenty (20) working
days receiving the request, about March 14, 2018. 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 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 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
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Case 1:18-cv-01381 Document Filed 06/11/18 Page
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: June 11, 2018
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
Attorneys for Plaintiff
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