Transgender Law Center v. Ice

FOR PUBLICATION UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT TRANSGENDER LAW CENTER; JOLENE No. 20-17416 K. YOUNGERS, as personal administrator for the wrongful death D.C. No. estate of Roxsana Hernandez, 3:19-cv-03032- Plaintiffs-Appellants, SK v. ORDER AND IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS AMENDED ENFORCEMENT; U.S. DEPARTMENT OPINION OF HOMELAND SECURITY; OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES - UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, Defendants-Appellees. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California Sallie Kim, Magistrate Judge, Presiding Argued and Submitted November 16, 2021 San Francisco, California Filed May 12, 2022 Amended August 19, 2022 2 TRANSGENDER LAW CENTER V. ICE Before: Sidney R. Thomas and M. Margaret McKeown, Circuit Judges, and Jane A. Restani, * Judge. Order; Opinion by Judge McKeown SUMMARY ** Freedom of Information Act The panel reversed the district court’s partial summary judgment in favor of federal agencies in a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) action involving requests for government documents related to an asylum-seeker’s death in federal custody; vacated the district court’s mootness determination; and remanded. The Transgender Law Center and Jolene K. Youngers (collectively “TLC”), acting on behalf of Roxsana Hernandez’s family and estate, submitted two FOIA requests. The first FOIA request was directed to the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and the second was directed to the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. TLC filed suit in district court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The district court granted TLC’s request for declaratory judgment that the agencies had failed to timely * The Honorable Jane A. Restani, Judge for the United States Court of International Trade, sitting by designation. ** This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader. TRANSGENDER LAW CENTER V. ICE 3 respond to their FOIA requests, but in all other respects ruled for the agencies, holding that they had adequately complied with the FOIA requests, had conducted an adequate search, had appropriately applied FOIA exemptions, and had provided adequate Vaughn indices. The panel first considered whether the district court erred in holding that the agencies’ search was “adequate.” Joining the other circuits that had considered the issue, the panel held that the agencies had the burden to demonstrate adequacy “beyond material doubt.” Applying that standard, the panel concluded that the Government failed to carry its burden because the agencies did not appropriately respond to positive indications of overlooked materials provided by TLC and did not hew to their duty to follow obvious leads. The panel therefore reversed the district court’s summary judgment and remanded to the district court to direct the agencies to properly comply with TLC’s FOIA requests. The panel next considered the sufficiency of the agencies’ Vaughn indices. A Vaughn index is a submission that identifies the withheld documents, the claimed FOIA exemptions, and a particularized explanation of why each document fell within the claimed exemption. The panel held that the agencies’ Vaughn …

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Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals