Baker v. CFPB, No. 18-2403, 2018 WL 5723146 (D.D.C. Nov. 1, 2018) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.)

Date: 
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Baker v. CFPB, No. 18-2403, 2018 WL 5723146 (D.D.C. Nov. 1, 2018) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning investigation of Zillow Group, Inc

Disposition:  Denying plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction

  • Litigation Considerations, Preliminary Injunctions:  "[T]he Court concludes that Plaintiff has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits."  The court relates that "Plaintiff argues that he is entitled to the immediate processing of his request and the release of responsive documents[]" because "Defendant failed to comply with the statutory time limits imposed by FOIA."  The court finds that "Defendant's failure to meet the twenty-day deadline entitled Plaintiff only to access to this Court, not to the immediate processing and release of the requested documents."  Additionally, the court finds that "Plaintiff has also not made a sufficient showing that he will suffer irreparable harm if a preliminary injunction is not issued."  The court explains that "Plaintiff's asserted harm concerns only the shareholder-plaintiffs in the class action."  "This is not the type of harm that FOIA was created to address."  Additionally, the court finds that "Plaintiff has not presented evidence of any time-sensitive need for the documents."  Finally, "the Court finds that both the balance of the hardships and the public interest weigh against granting a preliminary."  Referring to plaintiff's arguments concerning the need for this information, the court explains that "as the core purpose of FOIA is to provide citizens with knowledge about what their government is up to, '[t]his explanation does nothing to distinguish [P]laintiff's FOIA request from any other FOIA request' and does not merit a preliminary injunction."
     
  • Litigation Considerations, "Open America" Stays of Proceedings:  "The Court concludes that Defendant has shown that exceptional circumstances exist."  "First, during the 2017 to 2018 fiscal year, Defendant experienced a significant increase in FOIA requests."  Next, the court relates that "Plaintiff faults Defendant for not doing more to meet the increased number of FOIA requests, such as detailing other CFPB employees to work on FOIA requests."  "But, [the court finds that] Plaintiff points to no authority which would require Defendant to take such steps before the Court can consider Defendant's 'existing resources inadequate to deal with the volume of . . . requests.'"  "Finally, [the court finds that] Defendant has shown due diligence in processing the FOIA requests."  "Defendant has a system for prioritizing and processing FOIA requests and has five full-time staff working on those requests."
Topic: 
District Court
Litigation Considerations
Stay of Proceedings
Updated February 1, 2019