University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. National Security Agency NS-CA-0003
Docket / Court 4:13-cv-03287 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) National Security
Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- All Matters
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- Internet Metadata
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- Telephony Metadata
Attorney Organization ACLU of Northern California
Case Summary
On September 10, 2013, organizations, associations, and advocacy groups, their staffs, and their members who subscribed to major American telecommunication companies filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the National Security Agency ("NSA"), ... read more >
On September 10, 2013, organizations, associations, and advocacy groups, their staffs, and their members who subscribed to major American telecommunication companies filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the National Security Agency ("NSA"), the Department of Justice, and the United States of America. The plaintiffs, represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and private counsel, sought an injunction permanently enjoining the United States' mass call-tracking program and requiring the government to purge from its possession all of the plaintiffs' call records already collected. The plaintiffs claimed that the NSA's ongoing tracking of their phone call exceeded statutory authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA") and violated the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the NSA's surveillance invaded the plaintiffs' privacy, threatened to dissuade potential clients and others from contacting them, and compromised their ability to serve their clients' interests and their institutional missions.

On July 24, 2013, Judge White granted the plaintiffs' motion to relate this case with Jewel v. NSA, NS-CA-0006, in this Clearinghouse.

This temporary restraining order directly conflicted with an order to destroy all metadata within five years of collection issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in In re Application of the FBI for an Order Requiring the Production of Tangible Things From [Redacted], BR 14-01, NS-DC-0051, in this Clearinghouse. As a result, the FISC granted temporary relief from the five-year destruction requirement but required that telephony metadata being preserved beyond the five-year limitation not be used by the NSA for any purpose.

On October 31, 2014, the plaintiffs moved for a hearing on the partial summary judgment motion and motion to dismiss. The defendants requested this be denied because the plaintiffs' claim that the Section 215 telephony metadata program violated the Fourth Amendment was before the Ninth Circuit. On December 9, 2014, the Court denied the motion for hearing. The plaintiffs moved for a hearing again on May 22, 2015, which was denied on June 1, 2015 for the same reason.

On September 11, 2015, the plaintiffs moved for judicial notice of a fact within a government filing in a FISC proceeding that stated, "AT&T, Verizon, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint have participated in the NSA's phone records program." The defendants requested this motion be denied as the fact was still disputed.

On July 19, 2017, due to changes in the Upstream Internet Acquisition technique utilized by the NSA, the Court ordered the defendants comply with the new standards and destroy data that was previously held under the restraining order with the exception of forms of online communication that included any identifier of a plaintiff.

On June 3, 2019, Judge White ordered the parties to provide their positions on how the case should proceed, given that the District Court had issued judgment in favor of the National Security Agency in Jewel v. NSA and that decision went up to the Ninth Circuit on appeal (docket 19-16066). The parties in this case filed a joint motion stating that they wished to stay the case until the Jewel appeal is resolved. They submitted a stipulation with a proposed order for a stay on September 20, and Judge White granted the stay on September 25. The Ninth Circuit has not ruled on Jewel as of June 19, 2020, and this case is ongoing.

Michael Mirdamadi - 04/01/2014
Jessica Kincaid - 07/07/2014
Cade Boland - 03/22/2018
Hope Brinn - 10/30/2018
Ellen Aldin - 06/19/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Confidentiality
Phone
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 I Warrant (Electronic Surveillance), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1812
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) Department of Justice
National Security Agency
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are organizations, associations, and advocacy groups, their staffs, and their members who are current subscribers to major American telecommunication companies.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU of Northern California
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 09/10/2013
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing NS-CA-0002 : Jewel v. National Security Agency (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0006 : Shubert v. Obama (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
3:13−cv−03287 (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint For Constitutional And Statutory Violations [Seeking Declaratory and Injunctive Relief] [ECF# 1]
NS-CA-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/16/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 9]
NS-CA-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/10/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment that the Telephone Records Program is Unlawful Under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and the First Amendment [ECF# 24]
NS-CA-0003-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Sascha Meinrath for Acorn Active Media in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 26]
NS-CA-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Amicus Curiae of Experts in the History of Executive Surveillances: James Bamford, Loch Johnson, and Peter Fenn [ECF# 53-1]
NS-CA-0003-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/15/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief Amici Curiae of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 13 Other News Organizations in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 56-1]
NS-CA-0003-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/18/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Amicus Curiae Pen American Center in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 60]
NS-CA-0003-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/18/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief Amicus Curiae of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers [ECF# 62-1]
NS-CA-0003-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/18/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Amici Curiae Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Mark Udall & Senator Martin Heinrich in Support of Plaintiffs [ECF# 63-2]
NS-CA-0003-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/18/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Motion for Temporary Restraining Order] [ECF# 87] (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0003-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/10/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Classified Declaration of Teresa H. Shea [ECF# 228]
NS-CA-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/17/2014
Source: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Stipulation and [Proposed] Order to Stay Case Pending the Appeal of Jewel v. National Security Agency [ECF# 150] (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0003-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/25/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges White, Jeffrey Steven (N.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0005 | NS-CA-0003-0006 | NS-CA-0003-0013 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Antaramian, Aram Vazken (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0001 | NS-CA-0003-0002 | NS-CA-0003-0003 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Berkowitz, Benjamin (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0001 | NS-CA-0003-0002 | NS-CA-0003-0003 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Cohn, Cindy A. (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0001 | NS-CA-0003-0002 | NS-CA-0003-0003 | NS-CA-0003-0013 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Crocker, Andrew (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0013 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Greene, David Allen (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0001 | NS-CA-0003-0002 | NS-CA-0003-0003 | NS-CA-0003-0013 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Kwun, Michael S. (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0001 | NS-CA-0003-0002 | NS-CA-0003-0003 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Mackey, Aaron David (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0013
Meny, Rachael Elizabeth (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0001 | NS-CA-0003-0002 | NS-CA-0003-0003 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Moore, Thomas Edward III (California) show/hide docs
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Opsahl, Kurt Bradford (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0001 | NS-CA-0003-0002 | NS-CA-0003-0003 | NS-CA-0003-0013 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Rumold, Mark Thomas (California) show/hide docs
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Sessions, Justina Kahn (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-9000
Tassin, Phillip James (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-9000
Tien, Lee (California) show/hide docs
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Tyre, James Samuel (California) show/hide docs
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Wiebe, Richard R. (California) show/hide docs
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Williams, Jamie (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0013
Zimmerman, Matthew (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0001 | NS-CA-0003-0002 | NS-CA-0003-0003 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berman, Marcia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0013 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Bhattacharyya, Rupa (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0013
Coppolino, Anthony J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0013
Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0013
Gilligan, James J (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0013 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Hauck, Brian (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0013
Hunt, Joseph H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0013
Patton, Rodney (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-9000
Scott, Olivia Hussey (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Whitman, James R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0013 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Other Lawyers Abdo, Alex (New York) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0010
Brown, Bruce D. (Virginia) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-9000
Burke, Thomas R. (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0007 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Cagle, Matthew T (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0010
Dunkle, Stephen Kerr (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-9000
Jaffer, Jameel (New York) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0010
Kaufman, Brett Max (New York) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0010
Koltun, Joshua (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0012 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Mass, Julia Harumi (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0010 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Ozer, Nicole A (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0010
Page, Michael Henry (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0009 | NS-CA-0003-9000
Toomey, Patrick Christopher (New York) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0010
Urban, Jennifer M. (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0003-0008 | NS-CA-0003-9000

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