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ACLU v. DHS, No. 20-10083, 2021 WL 5449733 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 19, 2021) (Gardephe, J.)


ACLU v. DHS, No. 20-10083, 2021 WL 5449733 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 19, 2021) (Gardephe, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning purchase and use of cell phone location data

Disposition:  Ordering defendant to process 500 pages per month and forward request to two component offices

  • Litigation Considerations, "Open America" Stays of Proceedings:  "The Court concludes that the 500-page processing rate proposed by the Government is reasonable."  The court finds that "[u]nder FOIA, expediting a request requires the agency at issue to process the request 'as soon as practicable.'"  "Given the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on staffing at the ICE FOIA Office and the rapid increase in the Office's workload, requiring ICE to process 1,000 pages of potentially responsive material per month is not practicable."  "Courts have issued orders providing for the processing of 500 pages per month, even where that schedule will result in lengthy production periods."
  • Procedural Requirements, Proper FOIA Requests:  The court relates that, "[a]s to the FOIA request addressed to DHS, [plaintiff] identified the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Coast Guard as DHS component offices that might have potentially responsive records."  "[Plaintiff] asks the Court to order DHS to refer [plaintiff's] FOIA request to the Secret Service and Coast Guard, 'and [to] any other components likely to possess responsive records.'"  The court finds that "DHS's implementing regulations concerning FOIA provide that DHS will forward FOIA requests to DHS component offices that are likely to have responsive records."  "The regulations make no exception for the Secret Service and the Coast Guard, and DHS has offered no justification for [the] Court to ignore the applicable DHS regulation."  "Accordingly, DHS is directed to forward [plaintiff's] FOIA request to the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Coast Guard."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, “Open America” Stays of Proceedings
Procedural Requirements, Proper FOIA Requests
Updated December 10, 2021