Elec. Privacy Info. Ctr. v. DOJ, No. 15-1955, 2016 WL 5818422 (D.D.C. Oct. 5, 2016) (Chutkan, J.)
Re: Request for agreement between European Union and United States for transferring personal information in transatlantic criminal and terrorism investigations
Disposition: Denying plaintiff's motion for attorney fees
- Attorney Fees, Eligibility: "In light of the record in this case, the court concludes that [plaintiff's] litigation was not causally related to DOJ's release of the Umbrella Agreement, and thus [plaintiff] did not substantially prevail in this litigation as required to be eligible for attorney fees." "Therefore, [plaintiff's] motion for attorney fees is hereby denied." The court relates that "[p]laintiff . . . requests an award of $21,408.15 from DOJ for fees and $400 for expenses in this litigation." The court finds that, "[h]ere, [plaintiff] argues it is eligible for attorney fees under the catalyst theory because DOJ released the requested document 'with uncommon speed' after it commenced this litigation, and specifically did so after DOJ was ordered to respond to [plaintiff's] motion for default judgment." However, the court finds that "[t]he record in this case shows that DOJ was diligently searching for and evaluating the release of the document from the time [it] received the request . . ., approximately a month before this lawsuit began, until when it released the Umbrella Agreement to [plaintiff] on January 25, 2016." The court finds that "[t]hese facts, without more evidence from [plaintiff], fail to establish that DOJ delayed or refused to provide the requested document, or that this litigation was a catalyst for the . . . document production in any way."