Allied Progress v. Consumer Fin. Prot. Bureau, No. 17-686, 2017 WL 1750263 (D.D.C. May 4, 2017) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.)
Re: Request for certain correspondence concerning prepaid rule
Disposition: Denying plaintiff's motion for temporary restraining order; denying plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction
- Litigation Considerations, Preliminary Injunctions: "[T]he Court concludes that Plaintiff has failed to establish its likelihood of success on the merits, or that it will be irreparably harmed, and finds that the public interests and equities are in equipoise." "Consequently, Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief shall be denied." First, the court relates that because "Plaintiff here seeks expedited processing[,]" "to establish that it has a likelihood of success on the merits, Plaintiff must show that: (i) it is a person primarily engaged in information dissemination; (ii) the FOIA requests at issue involve a matter with respect to which there is an urgency to inform the public; and (iii) the matter concerns actual or alleged Federal government activity." "There is no disagreement that the FOIA requests concern a Federal government activity – the pending Congressional action with respect to the Prepaid Rule – and as such, only the first two elements are at issue." The court finds that "Plaintiff has failed to establish that it is a person primarily engaged in information dissemination" because nothing "in the FOIA Requests describe any of Plaintiff's activities, let alone indicate that information disseminate is its 'main activity.'" The court also "finds that the current record, which it was Plaintiff's burden to develop, does not provide any evidence of [a] public interest." Second, "the Court cannot conclude that the harm stemming from not granting the TRO Motion would be both certain and great, and consequently, Plaintiff has not met its burden of demonstrating irreparable harm." "Plaintiff has not explained why the specific records sought via the FOIA Requests are crucial to the alleged public debate over the Prepaid Rule, nor has Plaintiff, for the reasons stated in the preceding section, proffered credible evidence that the public is actually engaged in such a debate." Third, "the Court cannot conclude that the public interest is best served by directing resources toward Plaintiff's requests, and away from others." "[W]hile the public has an interest in expeditious processing of FOIA requests, it likewise has an interest in ensuring that only non-exempt materials are released, and consequently, that agencies have sufficient time to review materials before they are produced." "[E]xpediting FOIA requests is not an end in itself, as it means that either some requests are merely put ahead of others, or that expedited processing is rendered meaningless, as expediting all requests is tantamount to expediting none."