University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Bush NS-CA-0008
Docket / Court 3:07-cv-00109-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 February 28, 2006, Al-Haramain Oregon (a non-profit organization) and two of its attorneys filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1812 against the U.S. Government. The plaintiffs asked the court ... read more >
On February 28, 2006, Al-Haramain Oregon (a non-profit organization) and two of its attorneys filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1812 against the U.S. Government. The plaintiffs asked the court for injunctive relief and damages, claiming that the government violated FISA by conducting warrantless electronic surveillance of their communications. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the government's actions violated the separation of powers, the First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Sixth Amendment, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

On September 7, 2006, Judge Garr M. King denied the government's motion to dismiss but granted its motion to prevent access to a sealed classified document that had been inadvertently released to plaintiffs. Al-Haramain Islamic Found., Inc. v. Bush, 451 F. Supp. 2d 1215 (D. Or. 2006). The plaintiffs appealed.

In January, 2007, the Multi District Litigation (MDL) Panel transferred the case to the Northern District of California, as part of a multi-district litigation consolidation, In Re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litigation, NS-CA-11, in this Clearinghouse. On April 30, 2007, the Ninth Circuit officially consolidated the plaintiffs' appeal with with Hepting v. AT & T, NS-CA-0004, in this Clearinghouse. 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, 508 F.3d 898, 899 (9th Cir. 2007).

On November 16, 2007, the Ninth Circuit issued a second opinion specifically addressing the appeal from this case, reversing and remanding the district court's order. Judge McKeown held that (1) state secrets privilege did not protect the subject matter of the plaintiffs' challenge; but (2) that privilege protected the sealed document the plaintiffs relied on; (3) the district court should not have permitted in camera review of affidavits attesting to the plaintiffs' attorneys' memories of the document; and (4) the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge without the sealed document. Al-Haramain Islamic Found., Inc. v. Bush, 507 F.3d 1190 (9th Cir. 2007).

Meanwhile, in January, 2007, the case was transferred to the Northern District of California, as part of a multi-district litigation consolidation. On July 2, 2008, Judge Vaughn Walker of the Northern District of California held that FISA preempted the state secrets privilege with respect to foreign telecommunications surveillance. Judge Walker also held that the plaintiffs could not use a sealed classified document to establish their status as "aggrieved persons" within the meaning of FISA, but he also granted them leave to amend the complaint, which the plaintiffs did. In re Nat'l Sec. Agency Telecommunications Records Litig., 564 F. Supp. 2d 1109 (N.D. Cal. 2008).

On January 5, 2009, Judge Walker denied government motions to dismiss the plaintiffs' claims. In re Nat'l Sec. Agency Telecommunications Records Litig., 595 F. Supp. 2d 1077 (N.D. Cal. 2009).

On May 22, 2009, Judge Walker denied the government's third motion to dismiss and granted the plaintiffs' motion for discovery pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1806(f). The order provided for plaintiffs' counsel to obtain top secret/sensitive compartmented information security clearances and ordered the government to review its classified submissions in this case and determine whether any could be declassified. In re Nat'l Sec. Agency Telecommunications Records Litig., MDL. 06-1791VRW, 2009 WL 1468792 (N.D. Cal. May 22, 2009).

On March 31, 2010, Judge Walker ordered entry of a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. Judge Walker held that (1) the private remedy provision of FISA implicitly waived the government's sovereign immunity; (2) the prior mandate did not preclude plaintiffs from attempting to establish standing under FISA; (3) the defendants were equitably estopped from arguing that a valid FISA warrant existed; (4) the defendants violated FISA; and (5) the FBI director was not liable in his official capacity. In re Nat'l Sec. Agency Telecommunications Records Litig., 700 F. Supp. 2d 1182 (N.D. Cal. 2010). On December 22, 2010, Judge Walker awarded the plaintiffs about $2.5 million in attorneys' fees and about $41,000 to two of the three plaintiffs in liquidated damages. The defendants appealed.

On December 5, 2012, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and vacated the judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. Writing for the Ninth Circuit, Judge McKeown held that (1) the government did not waive sovereign immunity under the civil liability provision of FISA, reversing the district court's order, and (2) the FBI director was not liable, affirming the district court's order. As a result, the Ninth Circuit dismissed all of the claims, ending the case. Al-Haramain Islamic Found., Inc. v. Obama, 705 F.3d 845 (9th Cir. 2012). This opinion amended and superseded the opinion from August 7, 2012, 690 F.3d 1089, which is almost identical to the amended opinion. The amended opinion simply omits a more detailed explanation of the procedures Congress required for certain sections of FISA (Section 2712(b)) where there was a waiver of sovereign immunity.

Jessica Kincaid - 06/29/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Confidentiality
Search policies
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action FISA Title I Warrant (Electronic Surveillance), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1812
Defendant(s) Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Director of the National Security Agency
Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control
Federal Bureau of Investigation
National Security Agency
Office of Foreign Assets and Control
President of the United States
Plaintiff Description An Islamic organization and two of its attorneys.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
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-0011 : In re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litigation (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0004 : Hepting v. AT&T (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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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)
3:06-cv-00274 (D. Or.) 01/18/2007
NS-CA-0008-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:07-cv-109 (N.D. Cal.) 12/26/2012
NS-CA-0008-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0008-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0008-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Complaint 02/28/2006
NS-CA-0008-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order 09/07/2006 (451 F.Supp.2d 1215) (D. Or.)
NS-CA-0008-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 07/08/2008 (564 F.Supp.2d 1109) (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0008-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 07/29/2008 (2008 WL 2977767)
NS-CA-0008-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 08/12/2008
NS-CA-0008-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 02/13/2009 (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0008-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 02/27/2009
NS-CA-0008-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 06/03/2009 (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0008-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 11/23/2009
NS-CA-0008-0013.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Decision and Order 03/31/2010 (700 F.Supp.2d 1182) (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0008-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 12/21/2010 (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0008-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 12/22/2010 (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0008-0014.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/28/2011
NS-CA-0008-0015.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 06/16/2011
NS-CA-0008-0016.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 08/01/2011
NS-CA-0008-0017.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 10/11/2011
NS-CA-0008-0018.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 11/02/2011
NS-CA-0008-0019.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/28/2012
NS-CA-0008-0020.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/22/2012
NS-CA-0008-0021.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/23/2012
NS-CA-0008-0022.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 12/05/2012
NS-CA-0008-0023.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Opinion 12/26/2012 (705 F.3d 845)
NS-CA-0008-0024.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Hawkins, Michael Daly (Ninth Circuit)
NS-CA-0008-0009 | NS-CA-0008-0011 | NS-CA-0008-0013 | NS-CA-0008-0015 | NS-CA-0008-0016 | NS-CA-0008-0017 | NS-CA-0008-0018 | NS-CA-0008-0019 | NS-CA-0008-0020 | NS-CA-0008-0021 | NS-CA-0008-0022 | NS-CA-0008-0023 | NS-CA-0008-0024
King, Garr M. (D. Or.)
NS-CA-0008-0002 | NS-CA-0008-9000
McKeown, M. Margaret (Ninth Circuit)
NS-CA-0008-0009 | NS-CA-0008-0011 | NS-CA-0008-0013 | NS-CA-0008-0015 | NS-CA-0008-0016 | NS-CA-0008-0017 | NS-CA-0008-0018 | NS-CA-0008-0019 | NS-CA-0008-0020 | NS-CA-0008-0021 | NS-CA-0008-0022 | NS-CA-0008-0023 | NS-CA-0008-0024
Pregerson, Harry (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
NS-CA-0008-0009 | NS-CA-0008-0011 | NS-CA-0008-0013 | NS-CA-0008-0015 | NS-CA-0008-0016 | NS-CA-0008-0017 | NS-CA-0008-0018 | NS-CA-0008-0019 | NS-CA-0008-0020 | NS-CA-0008-0021 | NS-CA-0008-0022 | NS-CA-0008-0023 | NS-CA-0008-0024
Walker, Vaughn R. (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0008-0003 | NS-CA-0008-0004 | NS-CA-0008-0004 | NS-CA-0008-0005 | NS-CA-0008-0006 | NS-CA-0008-0007 | NS-CA-0008-0010 | NS-CA-0008-0012 | NS-CA-0008-0014 | NS-CA-0008-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Albies, Jessica Ashlee (Oregon)
NS-CA-0008-0008 | NS-CA-0008-9000 | NS-CA-0008-9001
Eisenberg, Jon B. (California)
NS-CA-0008-0008 | NS-CA-0008-9000 | NS-CA-0008-9001
Goldberg, Steven (Oregon)
NS-CA-0008-0001 | NS-CA-0008-0008 | NS-CA-0008-9000 | NS-CA-0008-9001
Hancock, William N. (California)
NS-CA-0008-0008
Hassan, Zaha S. (Oregon)
NS-CA-0008-0001 | NS-CA-0008-0008 | NS-CA-0008-9000 | NS-CA-0008-9001
Jaskol, Lisa R. (California)
NS-CA-0008-0008 | NS-CA-0008-9000 | NS-CA-0008-9001
Nelson, Thomas H. (Oregon)
NS-CA-0008-0001 | NS-CA-0008-0008 | NS-CA-0008-9000 | NS-CA-0008-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Berman, Marcia (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0008-9001
Cohn, Cindy A. (California)
NS-CA-0008-9001
Coppolino, Anthony J. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0008-9000 | NS-CA-0008-9001
Gacki, Andrea (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0008-9000 | NS-CA-0008-9001
Haas, Alexander K (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0008-9001
Hinkle, Charles F. (Oregon)
NS-CA-0008-9001
Kelly, Jennifer Lloyd (California)
NS-CA-0008-9001
Meeks, J Marcus (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0008-9001
Rogovin, John Andrew (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0008-9001
Tannenbaum, Andrew H. (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0008-9000
Other Lawyers Edling, Edmilie K. (Oregon)
NS-CA-0008-9001

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