University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Students for Fair Admissions v. U.S. Department of Education ED-DC-0006
Docket / Court 1:16-cv-02154 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On Oct. 27, 2016, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (SFFA) sued the U.S. Department of Education in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to compel compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552.

In its complaint, the plaintiff alleged that on Jan ... read more >
On Oct. 27, 2016, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (SFFA) sued the U.S. Department of Education in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to compel compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552.

In its complaint, the plaintiff alleged that on Jan. 11, 2016 it submitted a request under FOIA, seeking all documents pertaining to the investigation of Princeton University in Case No. 02-08-6002. The defendant allegedly acknowledged receiving the request in a letter dated Jan. 13, 2016, but repeatedly stated that it did not have a specific completion time available or did not respond to the plaintiff's numerous requests for updates about when the request would be completed. As of Oct. 27, 2016, the date that the suit was filed, the defendant had still not produced the requested records. The plaintiff requested that the court (1) order the defendant to search for the records, (2) order the defendant to produce the records, (3) enjoin the defendant from continuing to withhold the records, (4) grant the plaintiff attorneys' fees and costs, and (5) grant the plaintiff such other relief the court found just and proper.

On Oct. 28, 2016, the case was assigned to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan.

On Dec. 1, 2016, the Department of Education (DOE) notified Princeton University that the plaintiff had requested documents related to the DOE's investigation of Princeton and that the plaintiff had filed a lawsuit to compel the DOE to produce the requested materials. Princeton objected to the disclosure, arguing that the materials were exempt under FOIA Exemptions 4, 6, and 7(c).

On Mar. 1, 2017, the DOE informed Princeton that it had reviewed the objections and concluded that none of FOIA's exemptions required it to withhold the materials from the plaintiffs. Accordingly, the DOE informed Princeton that it would be producing the requested materials to the plaintiff, with personally identifiable information redacted, in 10 business days.

On Mar. 17, 2017, Princeton filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the DOE seeking to enjoin the disclosure of the materials identified in the plaintiff's FOIA request. Trustees of Princeton University v. U.S. Dep't of Education, No. 17-cv-00485 (D.D.C.). This case was also assigned to District Judge Chutkan.

On the same day, the defendant notified the plaintiff that it would not be producing the requested documents due to Princeton's lawsuit. Soon after, the plaintiff notified Princeton and the DOE that, due to the overlapping nature of the parties' cases, the plaintiff would move to intervene in Trustees of Princeton University v. U.S. Dep't of Education, No. 17-cv-00485, and to consolidate it with the present case. Both Princeton and the DOE consented to the motion.

On Mar. 30, 2017, the DOE moved to stay the proceedings pending resolution of the parties' anticipated cross-motions for summary judgment in the related case.

On May 9, 2017, the present case was consolidated into Case No. 17-cv-00485.

On. Dec. 7, 2017, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of this case without prejudice.

On Dec. 11, 2017, in light of the joint stipulation of dismissal filed by the parties, Judge Chutkan issued an order converting the administrative dismissal into a dismissal without prejudice.

Elizabeth Greiter - 02/24/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
General
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Non-DOJ federal government plaintiff
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Education
Plaintiff Description SFFA is a 501(c)(3) organization that challenges college admissions committees' denials of white or Asian-American applicants.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Filing Year 2016
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing ED-DC-0007 : Trustees of Princeton University v. United States Department of Education (D.D.C.)
Docket(s)
1:16-cv-02154-TSC (D.D.C.)
ED-DC-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/11/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
ED-DC-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Chutkan, Tanya Sue (D.D.C.)
ED-DC-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Connolly, John Michael (Virginia)
ED-DC-0006-0001 | ED-DC-0006-9000
Harrison, Lindsay C (District of Columbia)
ED-DC-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Schaefer, Daniel Patrick (District of Columbia)
ED-DC-0006-9000
Snell, Kevin Matthew (District of Columbia)
ED-DC-0006-9000

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