Appeals court restores previously-dismissed surveillance lawsuit

From ArsTechnica:

A lawyer who specializes in family and bankruptcy law gets another chance in his ambitious lawsuit filed against President Barack Obama. On Wednesday, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals restored his case, after it had been dismissed at a lower district court.

Specifically, Elliott Schuchardt argued in his June 2014 complaint that both the metadata and the content of his Gmail, Facebook, and Dropbox accounts were compromised under the PRISM program as revealed in the documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

In an amended complaint filed in September 2014, Schuchardt expanded his argument, and he specifically challenged the legality of surveillance programs authorized by Executive Order 12333, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FISA AA) and Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. (Ars explored the history of Executive Order 12333 in August 2014.)

Schuchardt‘s success with the 3rd Circuit is based on procedural grounds and means the case will be sent back to the federal court in Pittsburgh, where it can continue.

“He lives to fight another day,” Brian Owsley, a former federal magistrate judge who is now a law professor at the University of North Texas, told Ars.

The 3rd Circuit opinion in Schuchardt v. Obama underscored a distinction between a “facial” and “factual” attack in the government’s motion to dismiss. Lawyers representing the president and the numerous intelligence …

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