Description: Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking Department of State records regarding U.S. Climate Action Report.
Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Department of State
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/12/2019 Memorandum Opinion Download Motion to partially dismiss granted. Federal Court Dismissed Claims to Compel U.S. Submission of UNFCCC Reports. The federal district court in the District of Columbia again dismissed claims seeking to compel the U.S. Department of State to comply with reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The U.S. failed to submit two reports—a “National Communication” and a “Biennial Report”—by a January 2018 deadline. The court found that the plaintiff, Center for Biological Diversity, did not have standing based on informational injury because the UNFCCC did not impose a disclosure obligation either directly on the U.S. or indirectly through a UN disclosure obligation. The court previously dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice in November 2018 for lack of standing. 12/21/2018 Motion to Dismiss Download Memorandum filed in support of federal defendants' motion to partially dismiss second amended complaint. 12/07/2018 Complaint Download Second amended complaint filed. 11/08/2018 Memorandum Opinion Download Claims dismissed for lack of standing; leave to amend permitted. Federal Court Dismissed (Without Prejudice) Center for Biological Diversity Claims to Compel Submission of UNFCCC Reports. The federal district court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) lacked standing to compel the federal government to submit reports required by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The reports—the “national communication” and the “biennial report”—were required to be produced by January 1, 2018. The court found that CBD had not asserted an “informational injury” because it had not alleged that the UNFCCC reports were required to be made publicly available. The court also found that CBD had not succeeded in alleging an “organizational injury” based on the impact of the missed deadline on CBD’s educational and advocacy efforts. The court said CBD had made no allegation that it used its resources to counteract any harm to its interests. The court allowed CBD until December 10, 2018 to amend the complaint. 10/23/2018 Reply Download Reply memorandum filed in support of federal defendants' motion to partially dismiss amended complaint. 10/05/2018 Opposition Download Opposition filed by plaintiffs to partial motion to dismiss. 08/29/2018 Motion to Dismiss Download Memorandum filed in support of federal defendants' motion to partially dismiss amended complaint. 07/02/2018 Answer Download Answer and defenses filed. 04/11/2018 Complaint Download Amended complaint filed. 03/13/2018 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Center for Biological Diversity Sought Records Regarding Status of U.S. Climate Action Report. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State to compel a response to CBD’s request for records regarding the preparation and production of the “overdue” seventh U.S. Climate Action Report. CBD alleged the U.S. was required to submit the report to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by January 1, 2018. On February 1, CBD submitted a FOIA request seeking a number of categories of records related to the delay and to the content and status of the report.