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Jan 19 17

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO INC. et al v. FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY et al and 15 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 86 documents from 16 FOIA cases filed between January 8, 2017 and January 14, 2017. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO INC. et al v. FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY et al (filed Jan 13, 2017)
    Robert Benincasa, a producer for the investigations unit of National Public Radio, submitted a FOIA request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for database information concerning property acquisitions resulting from a natural disaster. The agency told Benincasa that identifying information such as names and addresses would be redacted under Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy) read more…
Jan 19 17

FOIA Activity: 7 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 7 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between January 8, 2017 and January 14, 2017. These are associated with 7 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. DC 1:2015cv01654MANNING v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al
    • January 11, 2017: MEMORANDUM OPINION re: [12] Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and [14] Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. See attached Memorandum Opinion for additional details. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 01/11/2017. (lcapm3)
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Jan 18 17

Data Journalism Faculty Opening (Newhouse/TRAC)

by FOIA Project Staff

We are seeking a data journalist for a faculty position in the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University to increase our capacity to document the day-to-day actions of federal agencies under the new Trump Administration. Election promises and the line-up of nominees set to head federal agencies suggest that many government policies may be heading for drastic change. And so far our new President has demonstrated little commitment to openness and transparency, so one can anticipate the need for a vigorous, expertly crafted, FOIA campaign in which this new faculty member will play an active role.

TRAC is a well-tested 27-year-old veteran of this oversight effort and one that includes directing the FOIA Project. It was established to provide the American people with the authoritative and accurate information they need to hold their government accountable. The Center is unique in the information marketplace, focusing on what federal agencies are actually doing and not what they merely claim to be doing. With an incoming volume of over 250 million data records each month from its successful FOIA operations, TRAC adds more than 3 billion new records to its inventory each year – all ready to be mined.

The successful applicant needs a driving passion for holding government accountable. The official title is Research Professor of Data and Investigative Journalism, and the description of the position, qualifications, and how to apply is here. The position is also described in a recent posting to IRE by Jodi Upton, Knight Chair in Data and Explanatory Journalism at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.

Any questions? Feel free to write us (trac@syr.edu) or call David Burnham (202-518-9020) or Sue Long (315-443-3563).

David Burnham and Susan B. Long, Co-Directors
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse
Syracuse University
Suite 360, Newhouse II
Syracuse, NY 13244-2100

Jan 12 17

JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE et al and 7 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 53 documents from 8 FOIA cases filed between January 1, 2017 and January 7, 2017. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE et al (filed Jan 5, 2017)
    The James Madison Project and journalist Shane Harris submitted FOIA requests to the Department of State, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Defense for records of communications between the agencies and the Government of Ecuador pertaining to Julian Assange read more…
Jan 12 17

FOIA Activity: 4 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 4 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between January 1, 2017 and January 7, 2017. These are associated with 4 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. CAE 2:2016cv02907(PS) Glass v. US Department of Justice et al
    • January 6, 2017: ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Carolyn K. Delaney on 1/6/2017 GRANTING [2] Motion to Proceed IFP. Plaintiff's complaint is dismissed. Plaintiff is GRANTED thirty days from the date of service of this order to file an amended omplaint. (Washington, S)
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Jan 9 17

News Reporters Drive Growth in Media FOIA Litigation

by FOIA Project Staff

Whether measured in sheer numbers or as a proportion of all Freedom of Information Act suits filed in federal district courts, the number of FOIA cases brought by reporters and news organization has substantially increased during the last four years.

This recent trend is exactly the opposite of what many commentators have suggested is now occurring. As the FOIA Project previously noted, the growing financial pressures that the industry has been experiencing was thought to make marshaling resources needed to mount such suits more difficult, while others also believed that the media as a whole has simply become less willing to haul federal bureaucrats to court.

This surprising and substantial recent jump in media-led federal FOIA litigation is clearly evident in the time series plot shown in Figure 1 covering October 2000 through November 2016. Shown is the month-by-month profile of the actual number of media organizations and reporters who filed federal FOIA lawsuits. Plotted is the moving yearly average of media plaintiffs filing suit. Month-to-month natural variation is averaged out over a 12-month period so that trends can be more clearly seen.[1] During the last four years, the substantial jump in the volume of media plaintiffs is clearly shown.

requests_changeFigure 1. News Organizations and Reporters Filing Federal FOIA Lawsuits, October 2000 – November 2016

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Jan 5 17

JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al and 14 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 59 documents from 9 FOIA cases filed between December 25, 2016 and December 31, 2016. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. JAMES MADISON PROJECT et al v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE et al (filed Dec 30, 2016)
    The James Madison Project and Louise Mensch, who oversees the media project Heat Street, submitted FOIA requests to the Department of Justice, the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security for records concerning investigations into allegations that a foreign government had interfered with the presidential election read more…
Jan 5 17

FOIA Activity: 5 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 5 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between December 25, 2016 and December 31, 2016. These are associated with 4 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. DC 1:2015cv01178LIBERMAN v. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
    • December 31, 2016: MEMORANDUM OPINION granting Defendant's [10] Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction; denying Defendant's [10] Motion for Summary Judgment; and granting Plaintiff's [13] Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment. See attached document for details. Signed by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on December 31, 2016. (lckbj2)
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Dec 21 16

CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU and 6 other new FOIA lawsuits

by Harry Hammitt

We have added 37 documents from 5 FOIA cases filed between December 11, 2016 and December 17, 2016. Note that there can be delays between the date a case is filed and when it shows up on PACER. If there are filings from this period that have yet to be posted on PACER, this FOIA Project list may not be complete.

Click on a case title below to view details for that case, including links to the associated docket and complaint documents.

  1. CAUSE OF ACTION INSTITUTE v. CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU (filed Dec 13, 2016)
    Cause of Action Institute submitted a FOIA request to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for records concerning how the agency formulated its anti-arbitration rule and conducted its arbitration study. The agency located 3,554 pages. It disclosed 845 pages in full and 832 pages in part, and withheld 1,877 pages under Exemption 2 (internal practices and procedures), Exemption 4 (confidential business information), Exemption 5 (privileges), Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy), and Exemption 7(E) (investigative methods and techniques) read more…
Dec 21 16

FOIA Activity: 8 New Procedural or Substantive Decisions

by FOIA Project Staff

We have added 8 decisions of a procedural or substantive nature filed between December 11, 2016 and December 17, 2016. These are associated with 8 FOIA cases pending in federal district court. Note that because there can be delays between the date a decision is made and when it shows up on PACER, this listing includes only decisions that appeared on PACER during this period.

Click on the date to view the full text of the decision. Click on a case title below to view other details for that case, including links to the docket report and complaint.

  1. CAE 2:2015cv01590Lowery v. National Transportation Safety Board, et al
    • December 12, 2016: ORDER MODIFYING Status (Pretrial Scheduling) Ordersigned by Senior Judge William B. Shubb on 12/9/2016 ORDERING The depositions of George Anderson and Frank Gattolin for preservation of evidence shall be completed no later than 2/22/2017; any motion relating to such discovery must be noticed on the magistrate judge's hearing calendar in accordance with the local rules of this court and so that such motions may be heard not later than 2/22/2017; plaintiff shall file his opposition to defend ants' motion and his cross-motion for summary judgment no later than 3/23/2017; defendants shall file their reply in support of their motion and opposition to plaintiff's cross-motion no later than 4/25/2017; and plaintiff shall file his reply in support of his cross-motion no later than 5/16/2017; Oral argument on the cross-motions for summary judgment is set on 6/12/2017 at 1:30 p.m., before the Hon. William B. Shubb in Courtroom No. 5. (Reader, L)
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