University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name New York Times Company v. United States Department of Justice NS-NY-0010
Docket / Court 1:14-cv-03776-AT ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) National Security
Case Summary
On May 28, 2014, the New York Times filed this lawsuit against the Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeking the production of agency reports from the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The ... read more >
On May 28, 2014, the New York Times filed this lawsuit against the Department of Justice under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeking the production of agency reports from the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The plaintiff alleged violation of FOIA because the defendant failed to release disclosable records in its possession in response to FOIA requests. The records included reports that offered a detailed history of the massive surveillance and data collection programs implemented by the National Security Agency (“NSA”) after September 11. Represented by in-house counsels, the plaintiff sought a court declaration that the documents sought by the FOIA requests were public and must be disclosed; it also sought to compel the defendant to produce the materials within 20 business days of court order.

As a result of Edward Snowden’s releasing of classified materials in 2013, the government acknowledged certain previously secret programs and declassified details of their operations. However, the OIG reports remained secret. The New York Times then filed two FOIA requests to seek the release of these classified reports but failed to receive any information. Since this lawsuit commenced, the defendant expressed willingness to make substantial disclosures. The parties negotiated a rolling production schedule with four production dates from late October 2014 to February 2015. Judge Analisa Torres approved the schedule on August 28, 2014.

After reviewing the produced reports, the plaintiffs believed that the documents were improperly redacted. On October 7, 2015, the plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment. They asked the court to require the defendant to make public the withheld sections of the report pursuant to FOIA.

On December 11, 2015, the defendant filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. The government argued that the challenged redactions properly fell within the scope of a FOIA exception and did not contain information that has been officially waived.

On August 18, 2016, Judge Torres granted the defendant’s cross-motion for summary judgment and denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. Judge Torres stated that because the withheld information “has a rational nexus to the agency’s law-enforcement duties,” the government is exempt from disclosure under the various statutory exemptions.

There is no further docket activity since August 22, 2016, and so the case is presumably closed.

Sichun Liu - 03/29/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Confidentiality
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description The New York Times
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:14-cv-03776-AT (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/22/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Working Draft
NS-NY-0010-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 03/24/2009
Complaint [ECF# 2]
NS-NY-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Letter Enclosing Three-Volume Document
NS-NY-0010-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/09/2015
Source: Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Memorandum and Order Closing Case [ECF# 59] (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0010-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/18/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Netburn, Sarah Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
NS-NY-0010-9000
Torres, Analisa Nadine (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
NS-NY-0010-0005 | NS-NY-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baranetsky, Diana Victoria (New York) show/hide docs
NS-NY-0010-0001 | NS-NY-0010-9000
McCraw, David E (New York) show/hide docs
NS-NY-0010-0001 | NS-NY-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bharara, Preetinder S. (New York) show/hide docs
NS-NY-0010-0002
Clopper, John Dalton (New York) show/hide docs
NS-NY-0010-0002 | NS-NY-0010-9000
Daughtry, Emily E. (New York) show/hide docs
NS-NY-0010-0002 | NS-NY-0010-9000

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