Nat'l Immigrant Justice Ctr. v. DHS, No. 12-5358, 2015 WL 433580 (N.D.Ill. Feb. 1, 2015) (Kennelly, J.)
Re: Request for records concerning immigrant detention facilities
Disposition: Granting plaintiff's motion for summary judgment; denying defendants' motion for summary judgment
Procedural Considerations, Searching for Responsive Records:The court holds that defendants "have not come close to showing that they conducted searches reasonably calculated to uncover all relevant documents." The court finds that "the agencies have provided only sketchy details of what they did in . . . two-and-one-half years preceding . . . to search for relevant records." "The only reasonable conclusion that may be drawn is that they did not conduct a reasonable search." Additionally, the court rejects defendant's contention "that [plaintiff] increased the defendants' production burden, and hence the production timeline, by modifying its original request" because, "[a]s the Court has already stated, that is simply not the case" – "[plaintiff] narrowed its request; it did not expand the request's scope." Finally, the court finds that "[t]here is no evidence that they even attempted to conduct a reasonable search until, perhaps, they were under the gun as a result of this lawsuit."
Procedural Considerations, Proper FOIA Requests:The court finds that defendants' assertion that plaintiff's request was "'extremely broad' . . . does not hold water" because "[plaintiff] cabined its request by referring to specific categories of records and to the specific offices and parties involved." The court finds that "[t]he request was certainly narrower than some of the FOIA requests that courts have found to be overly broad."