Energy Future Coal. v. OMB, No. 15-1987, 2016 WL 4435183 (D.D.C. Aug. 19, 2016) (Kollar-Kotelly, J.)
Re: Request for records concerning toxic emissions
Disposition: Denying plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of grant of defendant's motion for Open America stay
- Litigation Considerations, "Open America" Stays of Proceedings: The court holds that "the grant of an Open America stay is appropriate." The court finds that "[p]laintiffs have not raised a new argument, nor have they pointed to any new evidence." "Instead, Plaintiffs have simply repackaged an argument that it raised – and the Court carefully considered – during the initial briefing of Defendants' Motion for an Open America Stay." "To the extent that Plaintiffs are arguing in their Motion for Reconsideration that the Court’s prior findings were in 'clear error' or would result in a 'manifest injustice,' the Court has reconsidered its findings and has concluded that the findings are supported by the factual record and are consistent with applicable legal authorities." However, "the Court notes that the hiring of the independent contractor is expected to reduce the amount of the backlog of requests before the agency." "Therefore, there is a reasonable expectation that in the upcoming months, the number of 'complex' requests pre-dating Plaintiffs' FOIA request will decrease, which could enable the agency to dedicate more resources to responding to Plaintiffs' request." "Accordingly, the Court shall require OMB to provide . . . a status update describing the agency's progress in reducing the backlog of requests presently facing the agency, and a description of the impact, if any, that it will have on the agency's ability to allocate more resources to responding to Plaintiffs' request."