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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name In re Order Requiring Apple Inc. to Assist in the Execution of a Search Warrant Issued by the Court NS-NY-0021
Docket / Court 1:15-mc-01902-JO ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) National Security
Case Summary
On October 8, 2015, the United States moved for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to compel Apple, Inc. (“Apple”), represented by private counsel, to assist in the execution of a federal search warrant under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651. The application ... read more >
On October 8, 2015, the United States moved for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to compel Apple, Inc. (“Apple”), represented by private counsel, to assist in the execution of a federal search warrant under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651. The application required Apple to bypass the lock screen on an iOS device owned by Jun Feng, a suspect believed to be involved in methamphetamine trafficking. The government had previously ordered Apple to assist in effectuating search warrants and Apple had complied.

On October 9, 2015, the court (Magistrate Judge James Orenstein) deferred ruling on the application and directed Apple to submit its view as to whether their assistance is technically feasible and whether compliance would be unduly burdensome.

On October 19, 2015, Apple responded to the court’s memorandum and order requesting more information. Apple argued that compliance with the government’s request would be substantially burdensome as it would be impossible to perform given Apple’s inability to access the device’s encrypted data without a passcode. Apple also notes that extraction of the data would require substantial business hours and would likely damage Apple’s commercial and reputational status. On October 26, 2015, the court heard argument from both Apple and the government.

On February 29, 2016, the Magistrate Judge Orenstein denied the government’s motion to compel, finding that the All Writs Act does not authorize compelled assistance in the present case. 149 F. Supp. 3d 341.

On March 7. 2016, the government appealed Magistrate Judge Orenstein’s decision, claiming that the order does not place a substantial burden on Apple and that Apple’s assistance is necessary to effectuate the warrant. On March 14, 2016, the case was reassigned to Judge Margo K. Brodie who reopened the case that same day.

On April 22, 2016, the government submitted a letter of update, informing the court that someone had provided the passcode to the iPhone at issue. As such, the government no longer needed Apple’s assistance. On April 25, 2016, Judge Brodie denied the government’s application as moot. The case is closed.

Jake Parker - 05/17/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651
Defendant(s) United States of America
Plaintiff Description Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company and maker of the cellular phone for which the government has a search warrant.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2015
Case Closing Year 2016
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing NS-CA-0022 : In re Search of an Apple iPhone Seized During the Execution of a Search Warrant on a Black Lexus IS300, California License Plate 35KGD203 (C.D. Cal.)
Docket(s)
1:15-mc-01902-JO (E.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0021-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/25/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Application [ECF# 1]
NS-NY-0021-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/08/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 1-1] (E.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0021-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/08/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 12] (2015 WL 5920207) (E.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0021-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/09/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief of Amici Curiae American Civil Liberties Union, New York Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Jennifer Granick and Riana Pfefferkorn
NS-NY-0021-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/19/2015
Source: ACLU
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 29] (149 F.Supp.3d 341) (E.D.N.Y.)
NS-NY-0021-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/29/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
The Government's Memorandum of Law in Support of its Application for an Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Law Enforcement Agents in the Execution of a Search Warrant [ECF# 30]
NS-NY-0021-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/07/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Untitled
NS-NY-0021-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/22/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Orenstein, James (E.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
NS-NY-0021-0003 | NS-NY-0021-0004 | NS-NY-0021-0005
Other Lawyers Abdo, Alex (New York)
NS-NY-0021-0001
Bhandari, Esha (New York)
NS-NY-0021-0001 | NS-NY-0021-9000
Boutrous, Theodore J. Jr. (California)
NS-NY-0021-9000
Capers, Robert L. (New York)
NS-NY-0021-0006 | NS-NY-0021-0007
Cardozo, Nathan (California)
NS-NY-0021-0001
Crocker, Andrew (California)
NS-NY-0021-0001
Demarco, Joe V. (New York)
NS-NY-0021-9000
Denerstein, Mylan Lee (New York)
NS-NY-0021-9000
Dreifach, Kenneth M. (New York)
NS-NY-0021-9000
Eisenberg, Arthur (New York)
NS-NY-0021-0001
Elbert, Lauren Howard (New York)
NS-NY-0021-0002 | NS-NY-0021-0006 | NS-NY-0021-0007 | NS-NY-0021-9000
Granick, Jennifer Stisa (California)
NS-NY-0021-0001
Hirose, Mariko (New York)
NS-NY-0021-0001
Judish, Nathan (District of Columbia)
NS-NY-0021-0006
Kabrawala, Ameet B. (New York)
NS-NY-0021-0006 | NS-NY-0021-0007 | NS-NY-0021-9000
Komatireddy, Saritha (New York)
NS-NY-0021-0006 | NS-NY-0021-0007
Landis, Jeffrey (District of Columbia)
NS-NY-0021-9000
Pfefferkorn, Riana (California)
NS-NY-0021-0001
Southwell, Alexander H. (New York)
NS-NY-0021-9000
Zwillinger, Marc J. (District of Columbia)
NS-NY-0021-9000

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