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Cause of Action Institute v. IRS, No. 14-1407, 2018 WL 2944499 (D.D.C. June 12, 2018) (Sullivan, J.)


Cause of Action Institute v. IRS, No. 14-1407, 2018 WL 2944499 (D.D.C. June 12, 2018) (Sullivan, J.)

Re:  Records reflecting communications between IRS and the White House Counsel's office concerning records forwarded by the IRS for White House review

Disposition:  Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment and denying plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search:  The court upholds "the [defendant's] decision to limit its search to records created 'up to the date of the request.'"  In particular, because "the [defendant's] cut-off date was communicated to [the plaintiff] during the agency's negotiations with plaintiff, and given [the plaintiff's] failure to object to the [defendant's] temporal limitation, there is no indication that the [defendant] improperly limited the scope of its searches under these circumstances."  Additionally, the court holds that "the [defendant] properly focused its search to the relevant offices" and the plaintiff "fails to offer any factual basis that other components would be reasonably likely to possess responsive records."  The court finds that the searches of each office were adequate.  The potential confusion between the terms "coordination" and "consultation" reflected in affidavits "did not affect the adequacy of the [defendant's] search for records.”  The defendant's search of the Executive Secretariat Correspondence Office "was reasonably calculated to discover documents responsive to [plaintiff's] request."  The defendant "provided declarations explaining why responsive records were unlikely to exist within the Office of Disclosure."  "[T]he Court concludes that the [defendant's] decision not to include [the plaintiff's] proposed additional search terms was reasonable."
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Adequacy of Search
Updated January 31, 2020