University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Hepting v. AT&T NS-CA-0004
Docket / Court 3:06-cv-00672-VRW ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) National Security
Special Collection Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- All Matters
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- Internet Metadata
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- Telephony Metadata
Case Summary
On January 31, 2006, AT&T telephone and internet customers filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against AT&T Corp. and AT&T Inc. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest and private counsel, asked the court to declare as unlawful the ... read more >
On January 31, 2006, AT&T telephone and internet customers filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against AT&T Corp. and AT&T Inc. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest and private counsel, asked the court to declare as unlawful the defendants' participation in the federal government's program to monitor and collect Americans' telephone and internet communications and sought an injunction against the defendants' continued or future participation in the program, claiming that the program was operated in violation of federal electronic surveillance and telecommunication statutes, as well as the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

In 2006, the Multi District Litigation (MDL) Panel consolidated the case as the lead case in a multi-district litigation consolidation, In Re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litigation, NS-CA-11, in this Clearinghouse. For information about what happened while the case was a part of the consolidation see NS-CA-0004.

On May 13, 2006, the United States moved to intervene as a defendant. The motion was unopposed and the District Court (Judge Vaughn R. Walker) granted the motion at a June 23, 2006 hearing. AT&T and the United States separately moved to dismiss the lawsuit. On July 20, 2006, the Court denied both motions to dismiss. Judge Walker ruled that the government could not rely on the state secrets privilege and that a telecom defendant could not assert immunity. The Court, however, certified the case for immediate appeal. Hepting v. AT & T Corp., 439 F. Supp. 2d 974, 1011 (N.D. Cal. 2006).

The defendants' appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. On April 26, 2007, the Ninth Circuit consolidated Al-Haramain v. Bush, No. 06-36083, with this case. However, on November 16, 2007, the Ninth Circuit severed the two cases from each other and ordered that the cases would no longer be consolidated for any purpose. Hepting v. AT & T Corp., 508 F.3d 898, 899 (9th Cir. 2007). Oral argument was heard in August 2007.

Prior to any Ninth Circuit decision, in July 2008, Congress enacted and President George Bush signed, the FISA Amendments Act that granted retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies for past violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA") provided that the Attorney General of the United States certified to the relevant U.S. District Court that the surveillance did not occur, was legal, or was authorized by the president. The case was returned to the District Court in light of the FISA Amendments Act. Hepting v. AT & T Corp., 539 F.3d 1157 (9th Cir. 2008).

Attorney General Michael Mukasey filed the requisite certification in September 2008 and the United States moved to dismiss all claims against telecommunication company defendants in this lawsuit as well as dozens of other lawsuits that were ordered to be consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in a multidistrict litigation proceeding.

On June 3, 2009, the District Court (U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker) granted the United States' motion to dismiss based upon the retroactive immunity provision in the the FISA Amendments Act. Judge Walker dismissed the plaintiffs' claims, but without prejudice, saying that the plaintiffs could re-file if there was evidence of improper surveillance that fell outside the telecoms' immunity period found in the FISA amendments, which extended from Sept. 11, 2001 to Jan. 7, 2007. The plaintiffs appealed the dismissal.

On December 29, 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Harry Pregerson, Michael Daly Hawkins, and M. Margaret McKeown) affirmed the District Court's dismissal. However, Judge McKeown disagreed with the district court's conclusion that the immunity provisions were temporally limited. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on October 9, 2012.

Michael Mirdamadi - 10/25/2013
Jessica Kincaid - 07/01/2014


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Confidentiality
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
FISA Title IV order (pen register/trap-and-trace), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1841-1846
FISA Title V order (PATRIOT Act § 215, business records or other tangible things), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1861-1862
Defendant(s) AT&T Inc.
United States of America
Plaintiff Description Subscribers to or customers of the telephone or internet services provided by AT&T.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing NS-CA-0006 : Shubert v. Obama (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0008 : Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Bush (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0005 : Center for Constitutional Rights v. Obama (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0011 : In re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litigation (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0002 : Jewel v. National Security Agency (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Links Guest Post: New Resource — Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse FISA Archives
Just Security
Posted: Jun. 26, 2014
By: Margo Schlanger
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
06-cv-672 (N.D. Cal.) 11/07/2012
NS-CA-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 01/31/2006
NS-CA-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint 02/22/2006
NS-CA-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Classified Declaration of John D. Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence 05/12/2006
NS-CA-0004-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Classified Declaration of Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, Director, National Security Agency 05/12/2006
NS-CA-0004-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Notice of Motion and Motion to Intervene By The United States of America 05/13/2006
NS-CA-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 06/06/2006 (2006 WL 1581965) (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0004-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Declaration of Mark Klein in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction 06/08/2006
NS-CA-0004-0013.pdf | Detail
Classified Supplemental Declarations of John D. Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence 06/13/2006
NS-CA-0004-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Classified Declaration of William B. Black, Acting Director, National Security Agency 06/16/2006
NS-CA-0004-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Order 06/26/2006 (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Motion to Dismiss] 07/20/2006 (439 F.Supp.2d 974) (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0004-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment In A Civil Case 07/21/2009 (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
USCA Opinion 01/12/2012 (671 F.3d 881)
NS-CA-0004-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges McKeown, M. Margaret (Ninth Circuit)
NS-CA-0004-0006
Walker, Vaughn R. (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0004-0004 | NS-CA-0004-0005 | NS-CA-0004-0007 | NS-CA-0004-0008 | NS-CA-0004-0011 | NS-CA-0004-0012 | NS-CA-0004-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bankston, Kevin Stuart (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0004-0001 | NS-CA-0004-0002 | NS-CA-0004-9000
Cohn, Cindy A. (California)
NS-CA-0004-0001 | NS-CA-0004-0002 | NS-CA-0004-9000
DiMuzio, Elena Maria (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Friedman, Jeff D. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Himmelstein, Barry R. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Kathrein, Reed R. (California)
NS-CA-0004-0002 | NS-CA-0004-9000
Markman, MIchael Myles (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
McSherry, Corynne (California)
NS-CA-0004-0001 | NS-CA-0004-0002 | NS-CA-0004-9000
Morris, Maria V. (Alabama)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Opsahl, Kurt Bradford (California)
NS-CA-0004-0001 | NS-CA-0004-0002 | NS-CA-0004-9000
Scarlett, Shana E. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Tien, Lee (California)
NS-CA-0004-0001 | NS-CA-0004-0002 | NS-CA-0004-9000
Traber, Theresa M. (California)
NS-CA-0004-0002 | NS-CA-0004-9000
Tyre, James Samuel (California)
NS-CA-0004-0001 | NS-CA-0004-0002 | NS-CA-0004-9000
Voorhees, Bert (California)
NS-CA-0004-0001 | NS-CA-0004-0002 | NS-CA-0004-9000
Wiebe, Richard R. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Anderson, David Lloyd (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Axelbaum, Marc H. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Berenson, Bradford Allan (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Carpenter, David William (Illinois)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Coppolino, Anthony J. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0004-0003 | NS-CA-0004-9000
Ericson, Bruce A. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Haas, Alexander K (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Keisler, Peter D. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0004-0003 | NS-CA-0004-9000
Lawson, David L. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0004-9000
McNicholas, Edward Robert (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Orleans, Renee S. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Sorensen, Jacob R. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Other Lawyers Alger, Timothy L. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Brosnahan, James J. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Freiwald, Susan A. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Granick, Jennifer Stisa (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Gross, Terry (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Martinez, Brian (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Myers, Roger R. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Olson, Karl (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
Pulgram, Laurence F. (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000
VanDerHout, Marc (California)
NS-CA-0004-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -