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Cause of Action v. DOJ, No. 16-2226, 2017 WL 4541352 (D.D.C. Oct. 10, 2017) (Walton, J.)


Cause of Action v. DOJ, No. 16-2226, 2017 WL 4541352 (D.D.C. Oct. 10, 2017) (Walton, J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning detailing of certain attorneys to White House

Disposition:  Denying plaintiff's motion to amend; granting defendant's motion for summary judgment; denying plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations:  "[T]he Court must deny [plaintiff's] motion for leave to supplement its Complaint."  First, "the Court is not convinced that the Department is unduly surprised by the new claim."  "[A]s [plaintiff] correctly notes, the Department 'cannot credibly claim unfair surprise,' as the Department, in its opposition to [plaintiff's] cross-motion, 'characterized [plaintiff's] response to its mootness arguments as implicating a policy-or-practice claim,' demonstrating a 'recognition and awareness of a [potential] policy-or-practice claim' prior to [plaintiff's] efforts to supplement its Complaint to include this claim."  However, second, the court finds that "granting [plaintiff] leave to supplement its Complaint would unduly prejudice the Department by expanding this litigation from a simple FOIA claim for the production of responsive documents into a more complex case with an additional policy-or-practice FOIA claim, particularly when this litigation is on the verge of final resolution."
  • Litigation Considerations, Mootness and Other Grounds for Dismissal:  The court holds that, "because [plaintiff] has obtained the relief that it sought, [plaintiff's] case is now moot."  The court explains that "[plaintiff] concedes that it has received [an] . . . email chain in the format requested, the disclosure of which was the subject of its FOIA request and the underlying basis for its Complaint, and it does not oppose the redactions the Division applied to the [requested] email chain pursuant to several FOIA exemptions."  Furthermore, "as the Department correctly notes, [plaintiff] has not pleaded in its Complaint allegations of 'any pattern or practice by the [Department] with respect to FOIA responses.'"  "Consequently, 'there is nothing of the underlying FOIA dispute left for the Court to adjudicate.'"
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Mootness and Other Grounds for Dismissal
Litigation Considerations, Supplemental to Main Categories
Updated December 8, 2021