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Case Name American Civil Liberties Union of Maine Foundation v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security IM-ME-0001
Docket / Court 2:18-cv-00176-JDL ( D. Me. )
Additional Docket(s) 2:18-cv-00182-JDL  [ 18-182 ]  District of ME (U.S.)
State/Territory Maine
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Special Collection Trump Administration FOIA cases
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
This is one of a pair of lawsuits filed by state affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), each relating to two separate Freedom of Information Act requests seeking agency records on immigration enforcement practices in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. (The other case is ... read more >
This is one of a pair of lawsuits filed by state affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), each relating to two separate Freedom of Information Act requests seeking agency records on immigration enforcement practices in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. (The other case is IM-ME-0002, American Civil Liberties Union of Maine Foundation v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security.) Both cases were brought in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine; the ACLU sought declaratory and injunctive relief—specifically, the release of documents responsive to each request—as well as attorneys' fees and costs. This particular action was filed on May 1, 2018 against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its component agency U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). (The other was filed seven days later and also included another DHS sub-agency as a defendant.) Both cases were partially coordinated and assigned to District Judge John D. Levy.

The FOIA request at issue in this case, submitted on January 18, 2018, sought for information relating to CBP's citizenship checkpoints, bus searches, and coordination within local, state, and federal law enforcement within the state of Maine only. (The request in the other case sought information involving two more states and was aimed at more agencies.) It came after Border Patrol agents stopped a Concord Coach bus four days earlier allegedly in order to ask each passenger about their citizenship status. According to the ACLU, after 20 business days, CBP had still not issued any notification about whether it would comply with the request, in breach of FOIA-mandated deadlines.

CBP filed its answer on June 18, 2018. It admitted that it had not communicated with the ACLU regarding its request, but otherwise denied most of the complaint's remaining allegations.

On July 5, 2018, Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III granted the parties' joint motion allowing for CBP to review and produce documents responsive to the ACLU's request, subject to a joint status report to be filed on August 17. In that status report, the parties notified the court that CBP had provided the ACLU with four partially redacted documents totaling 34 pages; however, the parties still differed as to whether these documents covered all those potentially responsive to the request. CBP agreed to provide any additional responsive documents by September 28. A status report filed in October indicated that CBP had produced additional documents and that ACLU was reviewing the production for followup.

Between October and December of 2018, the parties continued to work together in releasing the desired documents. In November the plaintiffs submitted a status report which said that significant progress had been made and that they didn't expect to need judicial relief, but that they reserved that right. However, on December 17, 2018, the plaintiffs' status report said that there were some redacted materials that the defendants did not want to give up, and the plaintiffs asked Judge Levy to adjudicate the matter in camera. In February and March of 2019, parties submitted briefs to Judge Levy regarding disclosure of the redacted materials.

The particular documents in question included an officer training presentation (the "Trans Check Presentation"), daily unit assignment log summaries (the "Shift Logs"), and agency email correspondence ("Bus Check E-Mails").

On May 8, 2019, Judge Levy ordered that some, but not all, of the requested documents were protected by Exception 7(E), covering law enforcement information that "would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement
investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law
enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably
be expected to risk circumvention of the law." The Trans Check Presentation was not covered by Exemption 7(E), because they did not discuss investigative techniques which are not commonly known to the public. However, the Shift Logs were protected, because the had information relevant to current patrolling and enforcement activity. With regard to the Bus Check E-Mails, the court disclosed some, while keeping others redacted. 2019 WL 2028512.

After the adjudication, the only things left in dispute between the two parties were attorney's fees and costs. Subsequent docket entries discussed attorney's fees and costs, but the docket does not indicate any resolution on the topic.

The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case on July 15, 2019, and the case is now closed.

Jake Parker - 06/19/2018
Alexander Walling - 08/22/2018
Virginia Weeks - 10/16/2018
Jack Hibbard - 07/08/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Records Disclosure
Search policies
Transportation
Immigration/Border
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 05/01/2018
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-ME-0002 : American Civil Liberties Union of Maine Foundation v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D. Me.)
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)
2:18-cv-00176-JDL (D. Me.)
IM-ME-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/15/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief for Violation of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 et seq. [ECF# 1]
IM-ME-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Joint Status Report and Joint Motion for Permission to File a Fourth Joint Status Report [ECF# 19]
IM-ME-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/02/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Fourth Joint Status Report and Joint Motion for Briefing Schedule [ECF# 22]
IM-ME-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/17/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Adjudicating Disputed Redactions [ECF# 32] (2019 WL 2028512) (D. Me.)
IM-ME-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/08/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Levy, Jon David (State Supreme Court, D. Me.) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0001-0004 | IM-ME-0001-9000
Rich, John H. III Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
IM-ME-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bond, Emma E. (Maine) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0001-0001 | IM-ME-0001-0002 | IM-ME-0001-0003 | IM-ME-0001-9000
Heiden, Zachary L. (Maine) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0001-0001 | IM-ME-0001-0002 | IM-ME-0001-0003 | IM-ME-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Concannon, James D. (Maine) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0001-9000
Frank, Halsey B (Maine) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0001-0002 | IM-ME-0001-0003
Lizotte, Andrew K. (Maine) show/hide docs
IM-ME-0001-0002 | IM-ME-0001-0003 | IM-ME-0001-9000

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