University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
view search results
page permalink
Case Name Schuchardt v. Obama NS-PA-0003
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-00705-CB ( W.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) National Security
Special Collection Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- All Matters
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- Internet Metadata
Case Summary
On June 2, 2014, a private individual filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff sued the National Security Agency under the Declaratory Judgment Act and FISA Title V. The plaintiff alleged violations of his First and Fourth ... read more >
On June 2, 2014, a private individual filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff sued the National Security Agency under the Declaratory Judgment Act and FISA Title V. The plaintiff alleged violations of his First and Fourth Amendment rights and requested declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief. Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that both metadata and content of his Gmail, Facebook, and Dropbox accounts were compromised under the PRISM program as revealed in the documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to The Guardian in an article published on June 6, 2013.

The complaint was filed as a putative class action, but the class action status has not yet been adjudicated. On December 11, 2014, the NSA filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction and the plaintiff failed in any event to state claims on which relief may be granted. On January 7, 2015, the plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction with the District Court, requesting that the court bar the NSA from continuing to collect the plaintiff's metadata and content, direct the NSA to destroy the plaintiff's data, and prohibit the NSA from querying the data currently in their possession. On January 8, 2015, Judge Cathy Bisson denied the plaintiff's motion because of the plaintiff's inability to establish sufficient imminent and irreparable harm.

The District Court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss on September 30, 2015. 2015 WL 5732117. The plaintiff appealed the dismissal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The Third Circuit vacated and remanded the case on October 5, 2016 finding that the injuries allegedly sustained by the plaintiff were sufficiently personal to support standing, and that his claim was sufficiently plausible to support his standing to bring suit. Schuchardt v. President of the United States, 839 F.3d 366 (3d Cir. 2016). Once remanded, the negotiated whether the case would continue in light of information provided to the plaintiff by the government.

A private third party moved to intervene in the case on December 13, 2016, and Judge Bisson denied his motion as frivolous on December 27. The third party appealed the motion's denial to the Third Circuit on January 27, 2017. The Third Circuit dismissed the appeal for failure to pay the filing fee on February 23, 2017.

On March 15, 2017, the defendants filed a renewed motion to dismiss. The case was administratively closed from March 16, 2017 through July 6, 2017, on the grounds that plaintiff was given an extended amount of time to respond to the motion to dismiss. The plaintiff filed its opposition on July 10. The defendants filed their reply on August 16, 2017.

During this time, The Third Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the appeal of the third party to be reopened, and then dismissed the third party's case on September 6, 2017 for failure to pay the filing fee for the notice of appeal.

On February 4, 2019, the court granted the defendant’s renewed motion to dismiss, noting that “they have shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the government did not engage in dragnet-type collection activity . . . thereby establishing a plausible claim that Plaintiff’s data was captured.” 2019 WL 426482. The plaintiffs appealed to the Third Circuit on February 12, and the Third Circuit affirmed on March 2, 2020. 802 Fed.Appx. 69.

The case is ongoing.

John He - 09/27/2015
Elizabeth Heise - 10/13/2018
Averyn Lee - 06/05/2020


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
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 V order (PATRIOT Act § 215, business records or other tangible things), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1861-1862
Defendant(s) National Security Agency
Plaintiff Description Private individual whose Internet metadata was compromised.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filed 06/02/2014
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing NS-MD-0001 : Wikimedia Foundation v. National Security Agency (D. Md.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
2:14−cv−00705−CB (W.D. Pa.)
NS-PA-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/23/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
17-1252 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
NS-PA-0003-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/23/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Civil Complaint [ECF# 1]
NS-PA-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/02/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 19]
NS-PA-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/24/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint and Brief in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 20]
NS-PA-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/11/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 25]
NS-PA-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/07/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 28] (2015 WL 5732117) (W.D. Pa.)
NS-PA-0003-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/30/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 003112426786] (839 F.3d 336)
NS-PA-0003-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/05/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 77] (W.D. Pa.)
NS-PA-0003-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/04/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 42] (802 Fed.Appx. 69)
NS-PA-0003-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/23/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Ambro, Thomas L. (Third Circuit) show/hide docs
NS-PA-0003-0010
Bissoon, Cathy (W.D. Pa.) show/hide docs
NS-PA-0003-0005 | NS-PA-0003-0007 | NS-PA-0003-0009 | NS-PA-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Schuchardt, Elliot J. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
NS-PA-0003-0001 | NS-PA-0003-0002 | NS-PA-0003-0004
Schuchardt, Elliot J. (Tennessee) show/hide docs
NS-PA-0003-9000 | NS-PA-0003-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Anderson, Caroline J (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-PA-0003-9000 | NS-PA-0003-9001
Berman, Marcia (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-PA-0003-0003 | NS-PA-0003-9000 | NS-PA-0003-9001
Berman, Julia Alexandra (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-PA-0003-9000 | NS-PA-0003-9001
Busa, Joseph F. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-PA-0003-9001
Gilligan, James J (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-PA-0003-9000 | NS-PA-0003-9001
Johnson, Timothy Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-PA-0003-9000 | NS-PA-0003-9001
Patton, Rodney (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-PA-0003-9000 | NS-PA-0003-9001

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
view search results
page permalink

- top of page -