University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Public Citizen v. U.S. Department of the Army PR-DC-0010
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-01355 ( D.D.C. )
Additional Docket(s) 1:17-cv-01398-RCL  [ 17-1398 ]  D.D.C.
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Presidential Authority
Case Summary
On July 10, 2017, Public Citizen filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the U.S. Department of the Army (Army) under the Privacy Act and, in the alternative, the Administrative Procedure Act. Public Citizen, represented by the Public Citizen ... read more >
On July 10, 2017, Public Citizen filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the U.S. Department of the Army (Army) under the Privacy Act and, in the alternative, the Administrative Procedure Act. Public Citizen, represented by the Public Citizen Litigation Group, sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. The case was first assigned to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly but was then randomly assigned to Judge Royce C. Lamberth on July 19, 2017.

Public Citizen filed this lawsuit to enjoin what it believed to be ongoing and imminent violations of the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act prohibits any agency from collecting, using, maintaining, or disseminating records describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Public Citizen was concerned that many states would soon submit protected information to the Army as requested by the Vice Chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a temporary commission established on May 11, 2017, by President Donald Trump's executive order 13799. Public Citizen claimed that, by accepting the protected information, the Army would violate the Privacy Act’s prohibition on collecting such information. According to Public Citizen, if the Army allowed the Commission to download the information, the Army would violate the Act’s prohibition on disseminating the information.

On the same day the complaint was filed, Public Citizen filed a notice of a related case. The case, Electronic Privacy Information Center v. Pres. Advisory Comm’n on Election Integrity, grew out of the same event.

Without receiving an answer from the Army or any dispositive motion, Public Citizen voluntarily dismissed the case without prejudice on July 25, 2017 when the Commission announced that it would no longer use the SAFE system to collect voter data.

The case is now closed.

Jake Parker - 06/14/2018
Averyn Lee - 03/10/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of the Army
Plaintiff Description Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization.
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
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2017
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Public Citizen Sues Trump Administration to Prevent Government’s Collection of Voter Information
https://www.citizen.org/media/press-releases/public-citizen-sues-trump-administration-prevent-government%E2%80%99s-collection-voter
Date: Jul. 10, 2017
By: Public Citizen
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:17-cv-1355 (D.D.C.)
PR-DC-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/25/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PR-DC-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Lamberth, Royce C. (FISC, D.D.C.) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Rosenbaum, Adina H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0010-0001
Sherman, Sean M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PR-DC-0010-0001 | PR-DC-0010-9000

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