American Center for Equitable Treatment, Inc. v. Office of Management and Budget

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA _________________________________________ ) AMERICAN CENTER FOR ) EQUITABLE TREATMENT, INC., ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) Case No. 16-cv-01820 (APM) ) OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND ) BUDGET, ) ) Defendant. ) _________________________________________ ) MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER I. INTRODUCTION Plaintiff American Center for Equitable Treatment, Inc., brings this Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) action against Defendant Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”), following its request for disclosure of records related to, among other things, (1) the Paperwork Reduction Act, its implementing regulations, and OMB’s guidance concerning the Act; (2) OMB’s review of “information collection requests” and petitions for review of collected information; and (3) OMB’s interpretation or application of certain regulations of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In response to Plaintiff’s FOIA requests—there were three—OMB produced some records in full, some in part, and withheld others in their entirety. Both parties have moved for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The sole issue before the court is whether Defendant conducted an adequate search in response to Plaintiff’s three FOIA requests. For the reasons set forth below, the court holds that OMB has not sufficiently explained why the parameters of its search—specifically, the time limits and search terms it used—were adequate to identify all responsive records. In all other respects, OMB’s search was reasonable. Accordingly, the court grants in part and denies in part Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and denies in part Plaintiff’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. II. BACKGROUND A. Factual Background In 2016, Plaintiff submitted three separate FOIA requests to OMB. Pl.’s Cross-Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 17 [hereinafter Pl.’s Opp’n], Pl.’s Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, ECF No. 17-1 [hereinafter Pl.’s Stmt.], at 1, 1 ¶ 2; Def.’s Reply and Opp’n to Pl.’s Cross-Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 20 [hereinafter Def.’s Reply], Def.’s Resp. to Pl.’s Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, ECF No. 20-1 [hereinafter Def.’s Resp. Stmt.], ¶ 2. The requests and the agency’s responses are set forth below. 1. Plaintiff’s First FOIA Request (2016-096/2016-128) On June 10, 2016, Plaintiff submitted its first request (“First Request”) to OMB, seeking: (1) All records referencing or concerning the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 USC § 3501 et seq., its implementing regulations in 5 CFR Part 1320, and [OMB] guidance issued to agencies AND United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) rules 37 CFR 1.111, 1.115, 1.116, 1.130, 1.131, and/or 1.132, including but not limited to (a) all Information Collection Requests (ICRs), (b) OMB Forms 83-I, 83-C, 83-D, 83-E and certifications and supporting evidence thereto, (c) estimates of paperwork burden and their derivation pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.8(a)(4), and (d) Supporting Statements referencing or concerning the PTO rules specified in this Request. (2) All records referencing or concerning OMB review of ICR References Nos. 201301-0651-002 and 201209-0651-014 not otherwise included in Request #1 above. 1 Citations to Plaintiff’s Statement of Facts, which includes both its Statement of Undisputed Material Facts and its Response to Defendant’s Statement ...

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals