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No Pseudonymity for Lawyer Who Wants to Conceal Litigation Against Government from Future Clients

Added 05-16-22 08:21:01am EST - “From Chief Judge Beryl Howell's opinion in Doe v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Security (D.D.C. Mar. 14, 2022): Plaintiff, an...” - Reason.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Reason.com: “No Pseudonymity for Lawyer Who Wants to Conceal Litigation Against Government from Future Clients”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

From Chief Judge Beryl Howell's opinion in Doe v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Security (D.D.C. Mar. 14, 2022):

Plaintiff, an attorney, has moved to proceed pseudonymously as he litigates his instant claim under the Freedom of Information Act seeking information from various government agencies about a January 2021 incident, during which plaintiff was stopped at an international airport while attempting to reenter the United States and subjected to an interrogation "about legal representation he has provided and continues to provide." …

Plaintiff, an attorney licensed in Texas, represents "individuals in U.S. Immigration and Naturalization matters" and "criminal and national security investigations," including clients "who are under investigation by the FBI." … In 2021, plaintiff "was attempting to reenter the United States … through a Global Entry kiosk" at an international airport located in Dallas, Texas. He was "rejected entry at the kiosk and transferred to an in-person primary inspection, and then to a secondary inspection area," where he was "separately interrogated" by a CBP officer and two Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") employees "about his law practice, personal life, parents, and his personal U.S. immigration history."

One of the officers then asked him to "unlock his iPhone so that the digital contents … could be inspected," to which request plaintiff responded "he could not consent" because "the iPhone contained extensive privileged information and allowed for the accessing of privileged information that is stored remotely." In the face of plaintiff's denial of the request for access to his iPhone, the officer "informed Plaintiff that DHS was seizing the iPhone and that the digital contents would be searched" and "physically assaulted" plaintiff. Thereafter, plaintiff "submitted FOIA requests for documents, records and videos pertaining to the Plaintiff and the January 3, 2021, incident" to each of the defendant agencies.

Due to the defendants' alleged failure timely to comply with plaintiff's FOIA requests, plaintiff brings this suit challenging their denials and inaction under FOIA. He seeks to proceed under pseudonym because of "safety concerns for Plaintiff and his family given that part of this litigation involves an assault that occurred by an employee" of one of the defendants, and because "third parties associated with Plaintiff could be negatively impacted or harmed by the nature of this litigation."

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