Skip navigation

HRDC v. DHS, WA, Complaint, Public Records, 2018

Download original document:
Brief thumbnail
This text is machine-read, and may contain errors. Check the original document to verify accuracy.
Case 2:18-cv-01141-TSZ Document 1 Filed 08/03/18 Page 1 of 6

1
2
3
4
5
6
7

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
AT SEATTLE

8
9

The Human Rights Defense Center and Michelle
Dillon,

10

No.
Plaintiffs,

11

COMPLAINT
v.

12
13

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and
United States Immigration and Customs
Enforcement,

14
Defendants.
15
16
1.

This lawsuit is an action under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552,

17
et seq., seeking production of records responsive to a request submitted by Ms. Michelle
18
Dillon, an employee of the Human Rights Defense Center, to Immigration and Customs
19
Enforcement.
20
JURISDICTION AND VENUE

21
2.

This Court has both subject matter jurisdiction over this action and personal

22
jurisdiction over the defendant under 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B) and 2201(a).
23
3.

Venue is appropriate in this Court under 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B).

24
PARTIES

25
4.

Plaintiff Human Rights Defense Center is a non-profit organization that

26
advocates on behalf of the human rights of people held in U.S. detention facilities. Its advocacy
27
FOIA COMPLAINT - 1
4819-8010-3022v.1 0050033-000558

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
L AW O FFICE S
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 2200
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main · 206.757.7700 fax

Case 2:18-cv-01141-TSZ Document 1 Filed 08/03/18 Page 2 of 6

1

efforts include publishing Prison Legal News, a 72-page monthly publication that covers

2

prison-related news and litigation nationwide, and Criminal Legal News, a monthly publication

3

that covers the criminal justice system beyond incarceration. The Human Rights Defense

4

Center also publishes and distributes self-help reference books for prisoners, and engages in

5

litigation, media campaigns and outreach, public speaking and education, and testimony before

6

legislative and regulatory bodies.

7
8
9
10
11

5.

Plaintiff Michelle Dillon resides in the Western District of Washington. She is

an employee of the Human Rights Defense Center in its Seattle office.
6.

Defendant Department of Homeland Security is a department of the executive

branch of the U.S. government and is an agency within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. § 552(f)(1).
7.

Defendant Immigration and Customs Enforcement is a component of the United

12

States Department of Homeland Security and an agency under 5 U.S.C. §552(f)(1) and 5

13

U.S.C. § 701.

14

FACTS
Human Rights Defense Center’s Background and Mission

15
16

8.

The Human Rights Defense Center was founded in 1990. It is dedicated to

17

public education, prisoner education, advocacy, and outreach to support the rights of prisoners

18

and to further basic human rights.

19

9.

The Human Rights Defense Center’s publishing project distributes books to

20

prisoners and other customers. It also publishes two monthly magazines, Criminal Legal News

21

and Prison Legal News.

22
23
24
25

10.

In addition to publishing, the Human Rights Defense Center engages is

advocacy and education.
11.

Prior to a 2009 name change, the entire organization was known as Prisoners’

Legal News.

26
27
FOIA COMPLAINT - 2
4819-8010-3022v.1 0050033-000558

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
L AW O FFICE S
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 2200
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main · 206.757.7700 fax

Case 2:18-cv-01141-TSZ Document 1 Filed 08/03/18 Page 3 of 6

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

1
2

12.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement enforces federal laws

3

governing border control, customs, trade and immigration. It is a component of the United

4

States Department of Homeland Security.
The Request for Information at Issue

5
6
7
8
9

13.

On March 20, 2018, Ms. Dillon sent a request via email to the Immigration and

Customs Enforcement for certain records related to litigation that the agency has resolved.
14.

On behalf of the Human Rights Defense Center, Ms. Dillon requested records

regarding litigation against ICE and its employees or agents created since January 1, 2010. She

10

limited her request to claims and cases in which the government paid $1,000 or more. For

11

traffic-related claims and cases, she limited her request to those in which the payout was more

12

than $50,000.

13

15.

In each case or claim described above, she asked to be provided:

14

•

The Complaint or Claim Form and any amended versions;

15

•

The Verdict Form, Final Judgment, Settlement Agreement, Consent
Decree, or other paper that resolved the case.

16
•

17

A record that shows the amount of money involved in the resolution and
to whom it was paid.

18
19

16.

The email requested a fee waiver.

20

17.

Ms. Dillon’s request also included a spreadsheet of potential cases and claims,

21

based on the information provided on the United States Treasury Judgment Fund website. She

22

noted that the spreadsheet might not include reference to all responsive records, as some may

23

not have been included in the public database.

24

18.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s via email on April 2, 2018,

25

informing Ms. Dillon that the fee waiver request had been granted and that the request had been

26

assigned internal tracking number 2018-ICFO-26920.

27
FOIA COMPLAINT - 3
4819-8010-3022v.1 0050033-000558

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
L AW O FFICE S
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 2200
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main · 206.757.7700 fax

Case 2:18-cv-01141-TSZ Document 1 Filed 08/03/18 Page 4 of 6

1
2
3

19.

The email also invoked the agency’s right to ten-day extension under 5 U.S.C. §

552(a)(6)(B).
20.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Information Governance

4

and Privacy further responded by letter dated April 18, 2018, informing Ms. Dillon that some

5

of the requested information may be duplicated on Public Access to Court Electronic Records,

6

www.PACER.gov.

7

21.

On April 25, 2018, the ICE FOIA office asked Ms. Dillon via email for

8

clarification of the request. By further email correspondence, ICE FOIA clarified that the

9

request for clarification was a request to limit the time frame or scope of the document.

10
11
12

22.

On April 26, 2018, Ms. Dillon notified ICE FOIA that the Human Rights

Defense Center declined to narrow the request.
23.

On June 20, Ms. Dillon received a letter via email from the ICE Office of

13

Information Governance and Privacy. That letter denied FOIA request, stating “After careful

14

review of your FOIA request, we determined that your request is too broad in scope, did not

15

specifically identify the records which you are seeking, or only posed questions to the agency.”

16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24

24.

On June 26, 2018, Ms. Dillon filed an appeal of this denial to the Office of the

Principal Legal Advisor for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
25.

On July 6, 2018 that office sent an acknowledgment that the appeal was received

on July 5, 2018 and assigned the number 2018-ICAP-00366 for tracking purposes.
26.

Per 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(ii), the Agency has twenty working days to

respond, which expires on August 2, 2018.
27.

As of the date of filing, Ms. Dillon and the Human Rights Defense Center have

received no response to the appeal.
THE HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER AND MS. DILLON’S CLAIM FOR
RELIEF

25
26

Violation of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §552
28.

This claim incorporates paragraphs 1 – 26 by reference.

27
FOIA COMPLAINT - 4
4819-8010-3022v.1 0050033-000558

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
L AW O FFICE S
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 2200
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main · 206.757.7700 fax

Case 2:18-cv-01141-TSZ Document 1 Filed 08/03/18 Page 5 of 6

29.

1
2

Immigration and Customs Enforcement wrongly withheld documents responsive

to the properly submitted request.
30.

3

The Human Rights Defense Center and Ms. Dillon have a statutory right to all

4

the records sought, and there is no basis for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement to

5

withhold them.
31.

6
7

By failing to release all the records specifically requested, Immigration and

Customs Enforcement has violated the Freedom of Information Act.

8

REQUESTED RELIEF
The Human Rights Defense Center and Ms. Dillon therefore respectfully request that

9
10

this Court:
1.

Declare that the records they seek are subject to the Freedom of Information

13

2.

Order Immigration and Customs Enforcement to disclose the requested records;

14

3.

Award costs and attorneys’ fees under 5 U.S.C. § (a)(4)(E); and

15

4.

Grant such other relief as the Court may consider just and proper.

16

//

17

//

18

//

19

//

20

//

21

//

22

//

23

//

24

//

25

//

26

//

27

//

11
12

Act;

FOIA COMPLAINT - 5
4819-8010-3022v.1 0050033-000558

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
L AW O FFICE S
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 2200
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main · 206.757.7700 fax

Case 2:18-cv-01141-TSZ Document 1 Filed 08/03/18 Page 6 of 6

1

Date: August 3, 2018
Respectfully submitted,

2

/s/ Eric M. Stahl
Eric M. Stahl, WSBA #27619
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 2200
Seattle, WA 98101
Telephone (206) 757-8148
Fax (206) 757-7148
Email: ericstahl@dwt.com

3
4
5
6
7

Deborah M. Golden
Sabarish Neelakanta
Human Rights Defense Center
316 F Street, NE #107
Washington, DC 20002
Telephone (202) 543-8100
Email: dgolden@humanrightsdefensecenter.org

8
9
10
11
12

Pro Hac Vice applications pending
ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFFS THE HUMAN
RIGHTS DEFENSE CENTER AND MICHELE
DILLON

13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
FOIA COMPLAINT - 6
4819-8010-3022v.1 0050033-000558

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
L AW O FFICE S
1201 Third Avenue, Suite 2200
Seattle, WA 98101-3045
206.622.3150 main · 206.757.7700 fax



 

Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual

 

Advertise here

 

Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual

 

Federal Prison Handbook
Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual