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Legal Insurrection v. DC - FOIA - Order on Motion to Dismiss.pdf

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Legal Insurrection v. DC - FOIA - Order on Motion to Dismiss.pdf Powered By Docstoc
					                 SUPERIOR COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
                                 Civil Division
WILLIAM A. JACOBSON, D/B/A
“LEGAL INSURRECTION BLOG”

                           Plaintiff,                     2013 CA 003283 B
                                                          Judge Natalia M. Combs Greene
        v.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT.

                           Defendants.


                                             ORDER


       This matter is before the Court on Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss (the “Motion”), the

Opposition and Reply thereto. Upon consideration, the Motion is denied in part without

prejudice.

       This case arises as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (the “FOIA”) request made

by Plaintiff d/b/a/ “Legal Insurrection Blog” and the District of Columbia and Metropolitan

Police Departments’ response to the FOIA request. The District of Columbia moves the Court to

dismiss the matter as moot arguing that it has produced all documents or portions thereof

requested by Plaintiff--the release of which is permitted by law. Plaintiff argues that that the

Court retains jurisdiction as the matter has not been rendered moot merely because Defendants

claim they have complied with the request. Plaintiff also argues that Defendant did not attempt

to meet and confer prior to filing the Motion as Plaintiff may have agreed with Defendants

regarding some portions of documents such as the telephone numbers of members of the public.

       The Court is largely in agreement with the arguments advance by Plaintiff. The Court

fails to appreciate Defendants’ argument that the case has been rendered moot merely because

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they claim they have fully complied in, a timely fashion (a representation with which Plaintiff

disagrees), by production of all of the documents (or portions thereof) to which Plaintiff is

entitled. As noted by Plaintiff, Defendants did not provide affidavit(s) to support the claim that a

full and thorough search for responsive documents was made and the date(s) on which any such

searches took place.

           Defendant the Metropolitan Police Department claims that it is non-sui juris and the case

should be dismissed as to it. Plaintiff disagrees that the MPD is non-sui juris however it his

Opposition indicates that he has no objection to the District of Columbia being substituted in for

the MPD and the Office of the Attorney General (the “OAG”).1 Given that Plaintiff has no

objection to the substitution, the Court need not reach the merits of this argument and will

substitute the District of Columbia as the Defendant for the OAG and the MPD in this case. In

this regard, the Defendants’ Motion is granted.

           The Court finds that it retains jurisdiction to hear this matter as there is no agreement by

the parties that Defendant has satisfied its burden in this case. The Court also finds that it would

be beneficial for the parties to meet and confer to better understand which if any documents

remain outstanding and which, if any, documents remain to be produced. In addition, Defendant

shall be prepared at the time of the meeting to provide Plaintiff with affidavit(s) concerning the

search for responsive documents. The parties shall meet and confer no later than ten (10) days

after the date of this Order. To the extent any of this information needs to updated after the

meeting, it shall be updated. The parties shall appear, as currently scheduled, on April 4, 2014 at

9:30 a.m. before Judge Okun. Plaintiff shall be prepared to explain why he is entitled to the

Affidavit prepared in support of the arrest warrant given the circumstances of this case.

Defendant shall have sixty days from the date of the meet and confer session to answer or
1
    Defendants did not argue that the Office of the Attorney General is non- sui juris.

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otherwise respond to the Complaint. In the event the parties are unable to meet and confer

within ten (10) days of the date of this Order, they shall make every effort to do so prior to the

status hearing before Judge Okun in preparation to inform the Court at that time of the status of

the case. Accordingly, it is this 27th day of February 2014 hereby

        ORDERED that the Motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART

CONSISTENT WITH THIS ORDER. It is further,

        ORDERED that the parties shall appear for status before Judge Okun on April 4, 2014 at

9:30 a.m. It is further,

        ORDERED that Defendants’ reply in this matter is hereby accepted as filed.

SO ORDERED.




                                    Natalia M. Combs Greene
                                    (Signed in Chambers)

Copies to:

The Honorable Robert Okun

Grace Graham, Edquire
Chief, Equity Section
441 Fourth Street, NW
Sixth Floor South
Washington, D.C. 20001

Melissa Baker, Esquire
Assistant Attorney General, D.C.
441 Fourth Street, NW
Sixth Floor South
Washington, D.C. 20001

James F. Peterson, Esquire
Ramona R. Cotca, Esquire
425 Third Street, S.W.
Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20024

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