Wagafe et al v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services et al

Filing 102

ORDER denying Defendants' 99 Motion for Reconsideration signed by Judge Richard A Jones. (TH)

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1 THE HONORABLE RICHARD A. JONES 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 9 10 11 CASE NO. 2:17-cv-00094-RAJ 12 ABDIQAFAR WAGAFE, et al., ORDER 13 Plaintiffs, 14 15 v. DONALD TRUMP, et al., 16 Defendants. 17 18 19 This matter comes before the Court on Defendants’ motion for reconsideration. 20 Dkt. # 99. Plaintiffs oppose the motion. Dkt. # 100. For the following reasons, the 21 Court DENIES the motion. 22 “Motions for reconsideration are disfavored.” LCR 7(h)(1). “The court will 23 ordinarily deny such motions in the absence of a showing of manifest error in the prior 24 ruling or a showing of new facts or legal authority which could not have been brought to 25 its attention earlier with reasonable diligence.” Id. 26 Defendants move the Court to reconsider Part III.A. of its prior discovery order, 27 28 entered at docket number 98, wherein the Court granted in part and denied in part Plaintiffs’ motion to compel. Defendants argue that the Court reached its decision in ORDER- 1 - 1 2 3 4 5 error by (1) rejecting Mr. McCament’s declaration; (2) failing to find that Plaintiffs did not meet their burden to show “necessity”; (3) failing to articulate why the balance of the parties’ needs weighed in favor of disclosure; and (4) suggesting that the parties could cure their issues with a detailed and thorough protective order. See generally Dkt. # 99. First, the Court considered Mr. McCament’s declaration and found that it was 6 7 insufficient under the standard advanced by the Government. That the Government 8 disagrees with this assessment is not proper grounds for granting a motion for 9 reconsideration. Second, Defendants’ Ninth Circuit authority cited for the proposition that 10 11 Plaintiffs failed to show “necessity” is based on the informants privilege, not the law 12 enforcement privilege. 1 The premise behind the informants privilege differs from that of 13 the law enforcement privilege. For example, Defendants rely on In re Perez for “an 14 analogous request to disclose specific identities.” Dkt. # 99 at 5. However, In re Perez 15 16 17 18 19 20 aimed to protect “employees seeking to vindicate rights claimed to have been denied.” In re Perez, 749 F.3d 849, 856 (9th Cir. 2014) (quotations and citations omitted). Here, the identities that the Government seeks to withhold are those individuals who wish to vindicate their own rights. The Government is not withholding those identities to protect those individuals. Third, the Court exercised its discretion in balancing the needs of Plaintiffs versus 21 22 those of Defendants and found that the balance weighed in favor of disclosure. The 23 Government argued that grave national security threats could materialize were the 24 Government forced to reveal the individuals subject to CARRP and “the types of records 25 consulted” because this could lead those individuals to “alter [their] behavior, conceal 26 evidence of wrongdoing, or attempt to influence witnesses or adjust [their] means of 27 28 1 Moreover, the persuasive authority that the Government cited dealt with asserting privilege over evidence collected through surveillance and recording; such situations are not analogous to the one at hand. ORDER- 2 - 1 2 3 4 5 6 communication or financial dealings to avoid detection of the very behavior that the law enforcement and intelligence community have determined may be indicative of a national security threat[.]” Dkt. 94-5 at ¶ 18. But Plaintiffs did not request more than the identities of the class members; Plaintiffs did not request “the types of records consulted” for each potential class member. The Government may not merely say those magic 7 words—“national security threat”—and automatically have its requests granted in this 8 forum. Plaintiffs articulated enough to tip the balance in their favor; they requested 9 limited information—only the names of potential class members—and explained that 10 those potential class members may already be aware of the Government’s additional 11 scrutiny considering the passage of time. Under any rational balancing act, such a limited 12 scope of request will not be outbalanced by the speculative scope of what the 13 Government offered in opposition. 14 Finally, the Government disagreed with the Court’s conclusion that a robust 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 protective order was sufficient to protect against improper disclosure of privileged information. The Government cited cases that were not analogous to this matter and therefore did not persuade the Court. Disagreement with the Court’s conclusions is not a sufficient basis upon which to grant a motion for reconsideration. For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Defendants’ motion for reconsideration. Dkt. # 99. Dated this 28th day of November, 2017. 23 24 A 25 26 The Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge 27 28 ORDER- 3 -

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