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Stamped Complaint 2

Stamped Complaint 2

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Stamped Complaint 2
Stamped Complaint 2

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Published by: Judicial Watch, Inc. on Jul 29, 2013
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08/11/2013

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1
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
 JUDICIAL WATCH, INC., )425 Third Street, SW, Suite 800 )Washington, D.C. 20024, ))Plaintiff, ))v. ) Civil Action No.)UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT )OF JUSTICE, )950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW )Washington, D.C. 20530-0001, ))Defendant. ) ___________________________________ )
COMPLAINT
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. brings this action against Defendant United StatesDepartment of Justice to compel compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §
552 (“FOIA”). As grounds therefor, Plaintiff alleges as follows:
 
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
1. The Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552 (a)(4)(B)and 28 U.S.C. § 1331.2. Venue is proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e).
PARTIES
3. Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. is a not-for-profit, educational foundation organizedunder the laws of the District of Columbia and having its principal place of business at 425 ThirdStreet, S.W., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20024. Plaintiff seeks to promote integrity,transparency, and accountability in government and fidelity to the rule of law. In furtherance of 
Case 1:13-cv-00949 Document 1 Filed 06/21/13 Page 1 of 5
 
2its public interest mission, Judicial Watch regularly requests access to public records of federal,state, and local government agencies and officials and disseminates its findings to the public.4. Defendant United States Department of Justice is an agency of the United StatesGovernment and is headquartered at United States Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001. Defendant has possession, custody, and control of records towhich Plaintiff seeks access.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
5. On August 27, 2012, Plaintiff submitted a FOIA request to the Office of 
Information Policy (“OIP”) within
Defendant U.S. Department of Justice seeking recordsrelating to an annual legal conference. Specifically, Plaintiff sought access to
All recordsconcerning, referring, or relating to the National LGBT Bar A
ssociation’s 2012 Lavender Law
Conference & Career Fair.
 6. By letter dated September 26, 2012, OIP acknowledged receiving
Plaintiff’s
FOIA request on August 27, 2012 and asserted that the request fell within the
“unusualcircumstances”
 provision of 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(B)(i)-(iii). Despite invoking the
“unusual
circumstanc
e”
 provision, the letter 
failed to provide a “
date on which a determination is expectedto be dispatched
,” as required by the provision
.7. After receiving no further communication from OIP about the request, Plaintiff sent an email to the agency on March 18, 2013 asking that responsive records be providedwithout further delay. In a telephone conversation with a representative of OIP later that sameday, Plaintiff was advised that a search for responsive records in the Office of the AttorneyGeneral was still ongoing.
Case 1:13-cv-00949 Document 1 Filed 06/21/13 Page 2 of 5
 
38. Plaintiff subsequently received a letter from OIP dated March 19, 2013, made on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General, asserting that the search of the Office of theAttorney General had been completed and that OIP was reviewing the records that had beenlocated. The letter also asserted that, because the records contain information of interest to other offices, OIP could respond only after consulting with those offices and that it would respond toPlaintiff again once these consultations had been completed. The letter also advised Plaintifthat, if Plaintiff was not satisfied with
OIP’s r 
esponse on behalf of the Office of the AttorneyGeneral, Plaintiff had the right to take an administrative appeal. No reference was made to thestatus of any searches for responsive records in other agency offices.9. Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal on March 22, 2013. OIP subsequently sentPlaintiff an undated letter acknowledging receipt of 
Plaintiff’s administrative appeal on
March22, 2013. To date, Plaintiff has received no further communication from the agency regardingthe status of the appeal.10. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i), OIP was required to determine whether to
comply with Plaintiff’s request within twenty (2
0) working days after receipt of the request.Pursuant to this same provision, OIP also was required to notify Plaintiff immediately of itsdetermination, the reasons therefor, and the right to appeal any adverse determination. Pursuantto 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(ii), OIP was required to make a determination with respect to
Plaintiff’s administrative appeal within twenty (20) working days after receipt of 
the appeal.11. As of the date of this Complaint, OIP has failed to: (i) determine whether to
comply with Plaintiff’s request; (ii) notify Plaintiff of any such determination or the reasons
therefor; or (iii) produce the requested record or otherwise demonstrate that the requested records
Case 1:13-cv-00949 Document 1 Filed 06/21/13 Page 3 of 5

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