University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Democracy Forward Foundation v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-DC-0044
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-00375-RC ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Trump Administration FOIA cases
Case Summary
On Feb. 20, 2018, the Democracy Forward Foundation filed this lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Represented by its own counsel, the plaintiff filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ... read more >
On Feb. 20, 2018, the Democracy Forward Foundation filed this lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Represented by its own counsel, the plaintiff filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff is a nonprofit organization that "works to promote transparency and accountability in government, in part, by educating the public on government actions and policies." The plaintiff stated that the Trump administration sought to expand the detention of undocumented immigrants with Executive Order 13767 -- a practice which would increase reliance on private detention facilities. However, these facilities had long faced criticism for health and safety hazards resulting in deaths, sexual abuse, and other injuries. Further, the private detention industry significantly supported Trump's campaign and business enterprises, raising questions as to the extent of these contributions in the administration's use of private detention. The plaintiff thus sought information on DHS's relationship with private detention corporations.

The plaintiff stated that it had submitted a FOIA request to DHS on May 18, 2017, seeking the following records created since Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017:
1. Records relating to the procurement of services for the planning, construction, operation, or maintenance of private detention or immigration-detention centers and/or facilities, or by private detention center and/or facility companies;
2. New contracts or new amendments to contracts related to services rendered for private detention centers and/or facilities, or by private detention center and/or facility companies; and
3. Records containing certain relevant keywords, that were sent or received by specific DHS employees.

The complaint further alleged that, to date, the plaintiff had not received a substantive response from DHS, and that the plaintiff had constructively exhausted all required administrative remedies. The plaintiff sought a disclosure order under FOIA, legal fees, and expedited action.

On Feb. 20, this case was assigned to Judge Rudolph Contreras. Per a joint status report filed on May 15, 2018, the government completed the requested searches and was to process 500 pages per month. Beginning in June, the government was to produce any responsive records on a monthly basis. Status reports filed in August and October indicated the production was ongoing.

This case is ongoing.

Ava Morgenstern - 05/05/2018
Virginia Weeks - 10/24/2018


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Personal injury
Placement in detention facilities
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Sanitation / living conditions
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Immigration/Border
Detention - conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. ยง 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description A nonprofit promoting transparency and accountability in government through public education
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 yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:18-cv-00375-RC (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0044-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/23/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0044-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/20/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Status Report [ECF# 8]
IM-DC-0044-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/26/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Contreras, Rudolph (D.D.C.)
IM-DC-0044-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Grogg, Adam Anderson (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0044-0001 | IM-DC-0044-0002
Guzman, Javier M (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0044-0001 | IM-DC-0044-0002 | IM-DC-0044-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Kolsky, Joshua (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0044-0002 | IM-DC-0044-9000
Liu, Jessie K. (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0044-0002
Van Horn, Daniel F (District of Columbia)
IM-DC-0044-0002

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -