Skip to main content

LAF v. VA, No. 17-5035, 2018 WL 3148109 (N.D. Ill. June 27, 2018) (Castillo, C.J.)


LAF v. VA, No. 17-5035, 2018 WL 3148109 (N.D. Ill. June 27, 2018) (Castillo, C.J.)

Re:  Motion to enjoin the defendant's alleged practice of processing requests for information submitted pursuant to both the FOIA and Privacy Act exclusively under the Privacy Act.

Disposition:  Denying defendant's motion to dismiss

  • Mootness:  The court explains that the case is not moot because although the defendant produced information requested concerning one individual, the plaintiff "has a pending claim for injunctive relief that asks the court to enjoin Defendant from continuing an alleged pattern or practice that violates FOIA and impairs Plaintiff’s access to information under FOIA."  The court holds, "[b]ecause Plaintiff alleges an injury that is concrete and particularized to itself, fairly traceable to defendant’s alleged practice of ignoring FOIA requests, and is likely to be redressed by the requested injunctive relief, this case is not moot and Plaintiff has standing."
  • Jurisdiction:  The court "denies Defendant's motion to dismiss to the extent it argues that plaintiff's FOIA requests may be processed exclusively under the Privacy Act."  The court rejects the defendant's argument that "even if it had a policy to process information only under the Privacy Act and ignore FOIA, FOIA exemptions [. . .] permit [withholding]" because "at the pleadings stage, [. . .] the Court cannot decide whether Defendant has carried its burden to justify the categorical application of FOIA exemptions."  Finally, "the Court [draws] a reasonable inference that Defendant's policy creates an immediate risk of Defendant inadequately responding to a FOIA request or withholding information [. . .] given that Plaintiff alleges that Defendant makes no FOIA inquiry whatsoever as to certain FOIA requests and instead only processes those requests under the Privacy Act."    
Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Jurisdiction
Litigation Considerations, Mootness and Other Grounds for Dismissal
Updated January 31, 2020