Elec. Privacy Info. Ctr. v. DOJ, No. 13-1961, 2014 WL 521544 (D.D.C. Feb. 11, 2014) (Jackson, J.)

Date: 
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Re: Request for various records concerning use of pen registers and trap and trace devices obtained under the FISA Disposition: Denying plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction
  • Litigation Considerations, Preliminary Injunctions:  First, the court finds that plaintiff has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of this action.  The court explains that "nothing in the FOIA statute establishes that an agency's failure to comply with [the] 20–day deadline automatically results in the agency's having to produce the requested documents without continued processing, as [plaintiff] suggests."  Moreover, the court finds that "the fact that [plaintiff] here requested and received a pledge from DOJ that the agency would expedite review of the FOIA Request does not increase the odds of [plaintiff's] success on the merits of this matter."  Second, the court finds that "[plaintiff] has not established that it will suffer irreparable harm if DOJ does not respond to its FOIA request and produce responsive documents immediately (i.e., within 20 days)."  The court explains that "it is not at all 'certain' that the records [plaintiff] seeks are crucial to the public's understanding of, or participation in, the ongoing surveillance debate."  Also, the court notes that "it is hard to conceive of any irreparable harm that [plaintiff] will suffer from [the] relatively short period of additional delay."  Third, the court finds that "given the competing public interests at stake in this matter, and also [plaintiff's] failure to provide any evidence that DOJ is intentionally dragging its feet until the surveillance storm blows over, this Court sees no need to short-circuit the NSD's ongoing document review process preliminarily."  The court explains that "issuing the injunction that [plaintiff] seeks would most clearly impose an undue hardship on other FOIA requesters and would do serious damage to the NSD's orderly administration of FOIA requests."  Also, the court explains that "the mere fact that FISA surveillance in general has been the subject of considerable public attention . . . does not necessarily mean that it is in the public's interest for this Court to issue a preliminary injunction in this case."
Topic: 
District Court
Litigation Considerations
Updated August 6, 2014