University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Center for Investigative Reporting v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-CA-0111
Docket / Court 4:18-cv-00044-KAW ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Trump Administration FOIA cases
Case Summary
On Jan. 3, 2018, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) brought this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Represented by its own counsel, plaintiff sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
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On Jan. 3, 2018, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) brought this suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Represented by its own counsel, plaintiff sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Plaintiff is a national nonprofit investigative news organization. Plaintiff sought information on the United States' land acquisition and expenses at the southern border for construction of a wall. According to plaintiff, the federal government had, over more than a decade, acquired land at the southern border through eminent domain cases and purchases. In particular, the Trump administration's Jan. 25, 2017 Executive Order 13767 demanded new construction of a wall along parts of the border. Plaintiff maintained that the federal government's funding of the border wall was a matter of national concern, and sought to produce news reports on the topic.

The complaint alleged that on Mar. 21, 2017, plaintiff had submitted a FOIA request to defendant's component agency Customs and Border Protection (CBP), seeking documents on land acquisition and real estate costs at the southern U.S. border, specifically the following items related to border wall construction:
1. The amount defendant had paid to private landowners in non-condemnation real estate transactions to acquire private property;
2. The amount defendant had paid to the Department of the Interior in environmental mitigation fees and costs;
3. The amount defendant had paid to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in litigation fees and costs related to border wall condemnation suits;
4. The amount defendant had paid to property owners for land condemned and taken through eminent domain;
5. The number of pending condemnation suits;
6. The location of all acquisitions;
7. The total amount of real estate costs.

The complaint further alleged that, to date, plaintiff had not received a substantive response from defendants. Plaintiff sought a disclosure order under FOIA, legal fees, and expedited action.

On Jan. 3, 2018, the case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore. A joint case management statement filed in June indicated that the government was in the process of producing responsive records.

This case is ongoing.

Ava Morgenstern - 04/21/2018
Virginia Weeks - 06/10/2018


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Funding
Loss or damage to property
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Immigration/Border
Border police
Border wall
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description Nonprofit investigative journalism organization
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  We’re suing the government over border wall spending records
www.revealnews.org
Date: Jan. 6, 2018
By: Ziva Branstetter (Center for Investigative Reporting)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Reveal: The Wall
www.revealnews.org
Date: May 14, 2017
By: Center for Investigative Reporting
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:18-cv-00044-KAW (N.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0111-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/04/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
IM-CA-0111-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/03/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baranetsky, Diana Victoria (New York)
IM-CA-0111-0001 | IM-CA-0111-9000

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