Campaign for Accountability v. DOJ, No. 16-01068, 2017 WL 5989194 (D.D.C. Dec. 1, 2017) (Jackson, J.)
Re: Request that certain records be made available under 5 U.S.C. §§ 552(a)(2)
Disposition: Granting in part and denying in part defendant's motion to stay
- Litigation Considerations: "[The] Court will stay the instant case to give OLC a chance to evaluate the agency's position regarding the refined claims that [plaintiff] makes in the amended complaint, but [plaintiff] will not be required to submit to OLC a new FOIA request." "Instead, OLC shall construe the amended complaint as a clarification of the demands that [plaintiff] articulated in its [original] letter to OLC." The court relates that "[it] dismissed [plaintiff's] initial complaint and authorized the organization to submit an amended pleading[.]" Specifically, "it permitted [plaintiff] to pursue more precise – i.e., potentially legally enforceable – claims about OLC's allegedly outstanding obligations under the FOIA's reading room provision." The court relates that "[t]here is no dispute that the amended complaint that [plaintiff] has now filed references five categories of OLC opinions that were not previously delineated, and thus contains particular allegations of illegality that OLC did not previously consider." The court finds that "OLC is correct to observe that considerations of judicial economy favor allowing the agency to consider these particular claims now." The court finds that "even though the Court determined that [plaintiff's] initial complaint failed to state an enforceable claim for the purpose of maintaining the instant action – i.e., the complaint did not allege an ascertainable category of records that the FOIA plausibly required the agency to disclose affirmatively – it may well be that a plaintiff can say far less to the allegedly offending agency before bringing a legal claim under 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(2), and OLC certainly has not demonstrated that, in order to sustain the pending (a)(2) lawsuit, [plaintiff] must first submit a letter to OLC that specifically delineates the five categories of records that [plaintiff] now says section 552(a)(2) requires OLC to publish on its own."