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Case Name American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California v. Transportation Security Administration NS-CA-0028
Docket / Court 3:18-cv-01539-LB ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) National Security
Attorney Organization ACLU of Northern California
Case Summary
On March 12, 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California. The plaintiffs sued the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) 5 U.S ... read more >
On March 12, 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU-NC) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Northern California. The plaintiffs sued the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) 5 U.S.C. § 552. The ACLU-NC claimed that they submitted a FOIA request to both TSA Headquarters and TSA’s San Francisco Field Office, but neither provided any records. The plaintiffs then sought an order for the TSA to promptly process and release all responsive records, and a declaration that TSA’s failure to disclose the requested records was unlawful. The plaintiffs claimed that the TSA violated FOIA for wrongfully withholding records, and specifically, they claimed that the TSA’s searches of electronic devices at airports and borders (particularly of domestic air passengers) were a matter of significant public interest. The case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler.

The TSA moved to dismiss the complaint on June 13, 2018, claiming that (1) the plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; (2) the TSA performed a reasonable and adequate search for records in response to the plaintiff’s FOIA request; (3) the TSA lawfully and appropriately withheld information exempt from disclosure under the FOIA; and (4) the lawsuit was not necessary for the plaintiff to get the information it was entitled to under the FOIA.

Between June and July 2018, the ACLU-NC and the TSA stipulated that they were working in good faith to resolve some of the claims and issues in this action. On August 9, 2018, the parties acknowledged that there were no prior or pending motions, and that they anticipated the matter could be resolved on summary judgment.

TSA filed notice of settlement on December 20, 2018. According the the ACLU of Norther California's website, "TSA ultimately provided a letter stating that it does not conduct device searches and that its personnel abide by TSA Standard Operating Procedures that do not allow device searches of passengers." On January 2, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a motion stipulating to the settlement and dismissing the case with prejudice. As of May 2020, there has been no further action in the case.

Dawn Lui - 10/08/2018
Alex Moody - 05/29/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Records Disclosure
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Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) Transportation Security Administration
Plaintiff Description American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU of Northern California
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filed 03/12/2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
3:18-cv-1539 (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0028-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/02/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
NS-CA-0028-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/12/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Letter from defendant resulting in settlement
NS-CA-0028-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/19/2018
Source: ACLU
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Judges Beeler, Laurel (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
NS-CA-0028-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Lye, Linda (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0028-0001 | NS-CA-0028-9000
Talla, Vasudha (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0028-0001 | NS-CA-0028-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Davis, Julie Bibb (California) show/hide docs
NS-CA-0028-9000

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