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Del Cid v. EOIR, No. 21-611, 2023 WL 2733766 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2023) (Meriweather, Mag. J.)


Del Cid v. EOIR, No. 21-611, 2023 WL 2733766 (D.D.C. Mar. 30, 2023) (Meriweather, Mag. J.)

Re:  Request for records concerning plaintiff’s immigration proceedings

Disposition:  Denying plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees and costs

  • Attorney Fees, Eligibility:  The court holds that “[plaintiff] has not established that his initiation and prosecution of this lawsuit was the catalyst behind EOIR’s production of his ROP.”  “Consequently, [plaintiff] has not ‘substantially prevailed’ in this litigation and is ineligible for an award of attorney’s fees and costs.”  The court finds that “the sequence of events clearly shows a correlation between [plaintiff’s] lawsuit and EOIR’s release of his ROP.”  “When the complaint was filed, EOIR had not released any records to [plaintiff] and had denied his request for expedited processing.”  “After the complaint was filed, EOIR released the ROP, and subsequently supplemented its release by providing the additional audio files that [plaintiff’s] counsel had requested.”  However, the court finds that “[defendant’s] declaration demonstrates that this is a case in which the temporal proximity between the filing of the lawsuit and the agency’s release of documents does not establish a causal connection between the two.”  “‘[C]ausation requires more than correlation.’”  “EOIR already was well down the path towards releasing responsive records when [plaintiff] filed his complaint.”  “EOIR ‘made a good faith effort to search for information and respond to plaintiff’s request,’ and the delayed release of responsive records ‘was not due to intransigence, but rather was the result of a diligent, ongoing process that began before the initiation of the instant lawsuit.’”  “In these circumstances, the complaint cannot be said to be the catalyst or cause for the agency’s release of records.”
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Updated May 1, 2023