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Judicial Watch • Response to Motion to Stay

Response to Motion to Stay

Response to Motion to Stay

Page 1: Response to Motion to Stay


Number of Pages:5

Date Created:January 15, 2013

Date Uploaded to the Library:February 20, 2014

Tags:orfanedes, Taylor, house, Supreme, jackson, motion, watch, defendant, michael, committee, plaintiff, judicial, records, Supreme Court, court, EPA, ICE, CIA

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  Plaintiff,  Civ. No. 1:12-cv-1510 (JDB)       
 Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc., counsel, respectfully submits this response opposition Defendants motion for indefinite stay the proceedings. addition, pursuant LCvR 7(f), Plaintiff requests oral hearing Defendants Motion Stay. grounds therefor, Plaintiff states follows: 
MEMORANDUM LAW the heart Defendants argument the assertion that Plaintiffs FOIA lawsuit is ancillary the House Committee suit.  Defendants Motion Stay 11.  This notion that Plaintiffs lawsuit some way inferior simply incorrect.  Plaintiff has much right under the law the House Committee seek access records Defendant. fact, since Defendant does not challenge Plaintiffs claim jurisdictional grounds, could reasonably argued that Plaintiffs right greater  certainly clearer and simpler  than that the House Committee.  
 Under the Freedom Information Act (FOIA), any person has has right request any records held federal agency.  Taylor Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 885 (2008) (citing U.S.C. 552(a)(3)(A)) (emphasis added).  No reason need given for FOIA request, and unless the requested materials fall within one the Acts enumerated exemptions the agency must make the records promptly available the requester.  Taylor, 553 U.S. 885 (quoting U.S.C.  552(a)(3)(A)). addition, [i]f agency refuses furnish the requested records, the requester may file suit federal court.  Taylor, 553 U.S. 885. other words, FOIA requester has undisputed, statutory right request records the government and litigate the withholding those records.  
 There dispute that Plaintiff has brought proper claim.  Plaintiff filed its Complaint September 13, 2012.  Id.  Defendant filed its Answer October 18, 2012.  Id.  Although Defendant initially suggested that may move dismiss the case threshold grounds, Defendant has since indicated that believes only that this FOIA litigation should not proceed this time.  Id. 
 Since both the Complaint and Answer have been filed, the briefing dispositive motions the merits appropriate this time.  There dispute that Plaintiff exhausted its administrative remedies.  Nor there dispute that records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA request exist.  The only issue before the Court whether Defendant properly withholding records responsive Plaintiffs FOIA request. 
 The straightforward procedural posture this case stands sharp contrast the complexity the House Committee suit. that case, unclear when the courts will ever resolve the issue the merits. Defendant stated, oral argument only motion dismiss based jurisdictional grounds scheduled for February 2013.  Defendants Motion Stay  There deadline for decision jurisdiction issued.  Nor there schedule for 
briefing the merits. fact, near certainty that regardless the Courts decision the motion dismiss, the losing party will seek immediate appeal, which could ultimately require resolution the U.S. Supreme Court.  Committee the Judiciary the U.S. House Represenatives Miers, 542 F.3d 909 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (In denying motion for expedited appeal case with the same jurisdictional issues, the D.C. Circuit stated that even expedited, this Controversy will not fully and finally resolved the Judicial Branch  including resolution panel and possible rehearing this Court banc and the Supreme Court.).   
 Whereas Plaintiffs FOIA lawsuit ripe for adjudication the merits, the House Committee suit could months, not years, away from reaching the same stage. addition, quite possible that the U.S. Supreme Court could ultimately decide that jurisdiction does not exist.  Therefore, the delay adjudication Plaintiffs lawsuit caused any stay would not only immoderate but oppressive.  Landis North American Company, 299 U.S. 248, 256 (1936).  For this reason alone, Defendants motion stay should denied. addition, undisputed that Plaintiff not party the House Committee suit.  Therefore, for Plaintiff estopped from litigating its claim, one the six exceptions the rule against nonparty preclusion must exist.  Taylor, 553 U.S. 893-895.  None the six exemptions exist this case.  Importantly, Defendants not even argue that Plaintiff would estopped from proceeding; baldly asserts that [i]f Judge Jackson were reach the merits the assertion, such ruling would, the very least, relevant here.  Defendants Motion Stay 12.  Defendant has made effort demonstrate how any ruling Judge Jackson would relevant. would irrelevant.  Playboy Enterprises, Inc. Department Justice, 
677 F.2d 931, 936 (D.C. Cir. 1982) (With respect claims privilege, issues the context FOIA action are quite different [than that discovery proceedings].  That for one reason another document may exempt from discovery does not mean that will exempt from demand under FOIA.). 
 Similarly, Defendant sincerely believed that Plaintiffs lawsuit was closely related the House Committee suit, LCvR 40.5 required Defendant notify the Court that the two cases were related. never did so.  Defendants inaction telling. not immediately notify[ing] the Court, Defendant has conceded that Plaintiffs lawsuit and the House Committee suit not (i) relate common property, (ii) involve common issues fact, (iii) grow out the same event transaction (iv) involve the validity infringement the same patent.  Nor has Defendant sought consolidate the two cases. addition, Defendant claims that negotiations between the Executive and Legislative Branches would hindered Plaintiffs lawsuit were proceed.  Yet unclear how any discussions between the two parties the House Committee suit would affected Defendant satisfying its obligations under FOIA.  Regardless any potential resolution that case, Defendant this action will still required satisfy its obligations under FOIA, including justifying its withholdings.  Plaintiffs lawsuit simply does not vanish and when the House Committee suit resolved. 
 Simply put, Plaintiff has statutory right the requested records and have Defendants denial Plaintiffs FOIA request reviewed this Court.  Plaintiffs claim now ripe for adjudication, and Plaintiff prepared brief the issues.  Defendant simply seeks delay the date that must justify its claims exemption.  Defendant has not demonstrated why 
Plaintiffs rights should immoderately and oppressively delayed; has only disparaged the publics right request records its government.  For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff respectfully requests that Defendants request for indefinite stay the proceedings denied.1 Although Plaintiff believes that summary judgment briefing appropriate this time, minimum, the Court should order Defendant provide Plaintiff with Vaughn index other detailed justification for its claims withholdings. 
Dated:  January 15, 2013    Respectfully submitted,  
       /s/ Paul Orfanedes   
       Paul Orfanedes (D.C. Bar No. 429716) 
       /s/ Michael Bekesha   
       Michael Bekesha (D.C. Bar No. 995749) 
       425 Third Street S.W., Suite 800 
       Washington, 20024 
       (202) 646-5172 
       Counsel for Plaintiff