Monday, April 5, 2010
In a much anticipated decision, Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of a former charity and its attorneys on their claims against the federal government for illegal wiretapping. The case involves the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, Inc., an Oregon nonprofit corporation, and two of its lawyers. They alleged that they had been subject to warrantless electronic surveillance and sought civil damages under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, 50 U.S.C. § 1810. Ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment as well as a government motion to dismiss, the court concluded that based on the non-classified evidence in the record there was no genuine issue of material fact regarding either the standing of the plaintiffs to bring their claims or that the challenged actions were unlawful. The court has asked the plaintiffs to choose to either pursue their other claims or to voluntarily dismiss those claims and proceed to entry of judgment.