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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Gill v. Department of Justice NS-CA-0012
Docket / Court 3:14-cv-03120 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) National Security
Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On July 10, 2014, five U.S. citizens who had their information entered into counterterrorism databases and were subjected to law enforcement scrutiny and interrogation, filed suit against the Department of Justice ("DOJ") and the Program Manager of the Information Sharing Environment ("PM-ISE"). ... read more >
On July 10, 2014, five U.S. citizens who had their information entered into counterterrorism databases and were subjected to law enforcement scrutiny and interrogation, filed suit against the Department of Justice ("DOJ") and the Program Manager of the Information Sharing Environment ("PM-ISE"). Plaintiffs challenged the legality of a domestic surveillance program, and sought declaratory and injunctive relief. They brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") and the Declaratory Judgment Act. Plaintiffs were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU"), the ACLU of California, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus.

Through the National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiatives ("NSI"), the federal government encourages state and local law enforcement agencies and private actors to collect and report information that has a potential nexus to terrorism through Special Activity Reports ("SARs"). Plaintiffs were reported as having engaged in "suspicious activities" under DOJ and ISE standards when engaged in actions such as taking pictures, buying computers, and standing in a train station. As a consequence of being reported through SARs, plaintiffs were subject to law enforcement scrutiny and interrogation.

Plaintiffs claimed that the DOJ and ISE standards for SARs are invalid because they violate federal statutory requirements that agencies observe certain procedures and not act in an arbitrary or capricious manner. Specifically, plaintiffs contended that defendants' standards conflict with a DOJ regulation (28 C.F.R. § 23) that prohibits the collection, maintenance, and dissemination of criminal intelligence information unless there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, and that defendants' standards were not promulgated in accordance with the notice and comment requirements of the APA.

The government moved to dismiss the case on October 16, 2014. First, defendants claimed that plaintiffs lacked standing because 1) they had not alleged a nexus between their injuries and the guidance provided by defendants, and 2) their allegations of future law enforcement scrutiny were too speculative to satisfy the requirement of imminent future harm to warrant prospective relief. Second, defendants claimed that plaintiffs failed to plead an action that could proceed under the APA because alternative remedies were available to plaintiffs and the guidance provided by defendants in connection with the NSI did not create binding legal obligations remediable under the APA. Finally, defendants argued that plaintiffs' claims were improperly joined and should be severed. Plaintiffs filed a response to the motion to dismiss on November 20, 2014.

As of November 29, 2014, the District Court (Judge Richard Seeborg) has yet to rule on the motion.

Jessica Savoie - 09/29/2014
Samantha Kirby - 11/28/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
Religion discrimination
General
Record-keeping
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Watchlist
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Other
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Program Manager-Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE)
U.S. Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description Five U.S. citizens who had their information entered into counterterrorism databases and were subjected to law enforcement scrutiny and interrogation
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
3:14-cv-03120-RS (N.D. Cal.) 11/20/2014
NS-CA-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 07/10/2014
NS-CA-0012-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Lawsuit Challenges Government’s ‘Suspicious Activity Report’ Program 07/10/2014
NS-CA-0012-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source:
Judges Seeborg, Richard G. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
NS-CA-0012-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ableson, Michael James (New York)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Andrews, Edward A (California)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Bargzie, Nasrina (California)
NS-CA-0012-0001 | NS-CA-0012-9000
Bibring, Peter (California)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Ebadolahi, Mitra (New York)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Handeyside, Hugh (New York)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Loeb, Jonathan (California)
NS-CA-0012-0001 | NS-CA-0012-9000
Lye, Linda (California)
NS-CA-0012-0001 | NS-CA-0012-9000
Mass, Julia Harumi (California)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Rosenfeld, Jeffrey (California)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Salahi, Yaman (California)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Scotch-Marmo, Stephen (New York)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Shamsi, Hina (New York)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Freeborne, Paul Gerald (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Gostin, Kieran Gavin (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0012-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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