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Judicial Watch • Unsuck Metro v WMATA complaint 01242

Unsuck Metro v WMATA complaint 01242

Unsuck Metro v WMATA complaint 01242

Page 1: Unsuck Metro v WMATA complaint 01242

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Number of Pages:7

Date Created:April 29, 2019

Date Uploaded to the Library:April 30, 2019

Tags:WMATA, Unsuck, Wiedefeld, Metro, 01242, plaintiff, FOIA, Washington


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Case 1:19-cv-01242-TSC Document Filed 04/29/19 Page THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
UNSUCK METRO,
2200 North Westmoreland Street
Arlington, 22213,
Plaintiff.
WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA
TRANSIT AUTHORITY,
600 Fifth Street, N.W.
Washington, 20001,
and
PAUL WIEDEFELD, his official capacity General Manager the Washington
Metropolitan Area Transit Authority,
600 Fifth Street, N.W.
Washington, 20001,
Defendant.
Civil Action No.
Complaint
Plaintiff Unsuck Metro brings this action against Defendants Washington
Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and its General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld compel compliance with WMATA Public Access Records Policy.
grounds therefor, Plaintiff alleges follows:
Jurisdiction and Venue
The Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant Section the WMATA
Compact, which provides that U.S. District Courts have original jurisdiction over all actions
brought against WMATA. P.L. 774, Stat. 1324 (1966).
The Court also has jurisdiction pursuant U.S.C. 1331.
Case 1:19-cv-01242-TSC Document Filed 04/29/19 Page
Venue proper because this the district which substantial events giving rise the complaint occurred and which Defendant resides. U.S.C. 1391(b)(1).
Parties
Plaintiff Unsuck Metro unincorporated association. made
residents the District Columbia, the State Maryland, and the Commonwealth Virginia.
Its purpose raise awareness and educate DMV residents and visitors about the operations Metro. Currently, has almost 85,000 followers Twitter, 20,000 followers Facebook,
and has published articles its blog. addition, Plaintiff work followed and has been
reported the local news media. part its objective, Plaintiff has previously sent
PARP requests and published the produced records along with analysis.
Defendant WMATA interstate compact agency and, the terms its
enabling legislation, agency and instrumentality DC, Maryland, and Virginia and also
treated federal agency. located 600 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, 20001 and
operates and administers the Metro.
Defendant has possession, custody, and control records which Plaintiff seeks access and has denied Plaintiff access such records.
Defendant Paul Wiedefeld General Manager and Chief Executive Officer
WMATA. General Manager, Defendant Wiedefeld responsible for all activities
WMATA. being sued his official capacity.
Legal Background
Pursuant Article the WMATA Compact, WMATA established PARP,
which make[s] official public records, including electronic records, available the public for
inspection and copying the greatest extent possible unless exempted from disclosure
provision herein. PARP
Case 1:19-cv-01242-TSC Document Filed 04/29/19 Page
All records received generated WMATA, its officers, employees and
agents and through the regular course WMATA business, and WMATA control the
time the response are covered [PARP] unless such records are published and are offered for
sale WMATA. addition, PARP interpreted and applied consistent with the federal
Freedom Information Act (FOIA), U.S.C. 552, and federal practice, including when
determining whether waive exemptions.
Factual Background
10. April 26, 2018, Plaintiff submitted PARP request WMATA seeking
copy WMATA most recent customer satisfaction survey.
11. May 14, 2018, WMATA denied Plaintiff request under PARP Exemption
6.1.5. WMATA asserted the entire record was protected the deliberative process and selfevaluative privileges.
12.
Plaintiff administratively appealed the decision later that day.
13.
Although WMATA generally denied Plaintiff appeal, WMATA did decide that
some information contained within the record must produced.
14. email dated March 27, 2019, WMATA issued another decision.
WMATA
produced the 29-page September 2018 Customer Satisfaction Tracking Study with all but one
page redacted.
This time, WMATA asserted that the other pages information were
protected the deliberative process privilege and the confidential business information
exemption.
Case 1:19-cv-01242-TSC Document Filed 04/29/19 Page
15. addition, WMATA informed Plaintiff that was required pay $324.17
processing fees, and, does not pay such amount, WMATA will not process Plaintiff two
pending any future requests from Plaintiff.
16.
Plaintiff administratively appealed the March 27, 2019 decision. Specifically,
Plaintiff appealed Defendant withholding most the information contained within the 29page September 2018 Customer Satisfaction Tracking Study, its assessment $324.17
processing fees, and its denial Plaintiff two pending requests.
17. letter dated April 2019, WMATA denied Plaintiff appeal and informed
Plaintiff that may seek judicial review the decision.
Count
(Violation PARP; Declaratory Judgment Act)
18.
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
19.
Defendants are unlawfully withholding most information contained within the 29-
page September 2018 Customer Satisfaction Tracking Study.
20.
Defendants also have unlawfully charged Plaintiff $324.17 processing fees
because Plaintiff has not sought the requested record for commercial use and because Defendants
failed notify Plaintiff the fees prior the costs being incurred Defendants. PARP
8.1, 8.6 and 8.9.
21. addition, Defendants are unlawfully withholding records responsive
Plaintiff other two pending requests.
22.
Plaintiff being irreparably harmed Defendants violations PARP and will
continue irreparably harmed unless Defendants are compelled comply with PARP.
Case 1:19-cv-01242-TSC Document Filed 04/29/19 Page
Count
(Administrative Procedure Act)
23.
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
24.
Defendant WMATA unlawful withholding records responsive Plaintiff
three requests constitutes final agency action for which there adequate remedy law.
25.
Defendant WMATA unlawful withholding records responsive Plaintiff
three requests arbitrary, capricious, abuse discretion, otherwise not accordance with
PARP.
26.
Defendant WMATA unlawful withholding records responsive Plaintiff
three requests causing Plaintiff irreparable harm because prevents Plaintiff from raising
awareness and educating DMV residents and visitors about the operations Metro.
27.
Plaintiff will continue irreparably harmed unless and until Defendant
WMATA produces all non-exempt records responsive Plaintiff three requests.
Count III
(First Amendment Right Receive Information)
28.
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
29.
Plaintiff enjoys the right receive information, guaranteed the First
Amendment the U.S. Constitution.
30.
The unlawful withholding records responsive Plaintiff three requests has
deprived Plaintiff his right receive information.
31.
Defendant Wiedefeld, acting within the course and scope his authority and
under color law, deprived Plaintiff his Frist Amendment right withholding records
responsive Plaintiff three requests.
32.
Defendant Wiedefeld, acting within the course and scope his authority and
Case 1:19-cv-01242-TSC Document Filed 04/29/19 Page
under color law, continues deprive Plaintiff his First Amendment right continuing
withhold records responsive Plaintiff three requests.
33.
Defendant Wiedefeld, acting within the course and scope his authority and
under color law, has caused and will continue cause Plaintiff suffer irreparable harm.
34.
Plaintiff has adequate remedy law.
Count
(Common Law Right Access)
35.
Plaintiff realleges paragraphs through fully stated herein.
36.
The common law bestows upon the public right access public records and
documents.
37.
Under PARP, public records are those made received WMATA
connection with the transaction public business.
38.
Plaintiff requested access public records WMATA.
39.
The requested records would serve public interest providing information
about the operations WMATA.
40.
Defendants have denied access and continue deny access records
responsive Plaintiff three requests. Defendants have legitimate public interest deny
access the records.
41.
Plaintiff will continue irreparably harmed unless and until Defendants
provide access records responsive Plaintiff three requests.
42.
Plaintiff has adequate remedy law.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court: (1) declare Defendants
failure produce all non-exempt, responsive records Plaintiff arbitrary, capricious,
abuse discretion, otherwise not accordance with PARP; (2) order Defendants conduct
Case 1:19-cv-01242-TSC Document Filed 04/29/19 Page
searches for any and all records responsive Plaintiff requests and demonstrate that
employed search methods reasonably likely lead the discovery records responsive
Plaintiff requests; (3) order Defendants produce, date certain, any and all non-exempt
records responsive Plaintiff requests and Vaughn indices any responsive records withheld
under claim exemption; (4) enjoin Defendants from continuing withhold any and all nonexempt records responsive Plaintiff requests; (5) grant Plaintiff award attorneys fees
and other litigation costs reasonably incurred this action pursuant PARP 9.3.4; and (6)
grant Plaintiff such other relief the Court deems just and proper.
Dated: April 29, 2019
Respectfully submitted,
/s/ Michael Bekesha
Michael Bekesha
D.C. Bar No. 995749
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street SW, Suite 800
Washington, 20024
Phone: (202) 646-5172
Counsel for Plaintiff